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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kids should know what goes into the test tube that created them

"The right to become a parent" is an expression I heard for the first time 10 years ago when I interviewed Seiko Noda, a Liberal Democratic Party legislator who was receiving infertility treatment at the time.

Discussing the extent to which assisted reproductive technology should be regulated by law, Noda called for minimal "state interference" in people's right to become parents.

She argued strongly in favor of legalizing surrogacy in Japan, even though she was well aware of the unpopularity of her position. She fully anticipated her opponents would point out the physical risks of surrogate motherhood and the likelihood of women coming to be seen as baby-making tools once surrogacy is legalized. But, Noda insisted, the decision to become a surrogate mother or not should be left entirely to each woman.

Japan is still without definitive laws with regard to assisted reproductive technology. A bioethical issue is not one that can be resolved by simply adding up the interests of the parties for or against the new technology and then dividing the sum by two. And while the nation's political and bureaucratic leaders remain stuck in the same place, they are being left way behind ongoing developments.

A nonprofit organization announced July 27 that two couples have produced fertile eggs through in-vitro fertilization, in which their husbands' sperm was used with the eggs from anonymous women, donated through this NGO. This is said to be "wonderful news" for women whose illnesses prevent them from conceiving with their own eggs.

These are reportedly the first two cases of successful in-vitro fertilization in Japan using eggs from anonymous donors. Past cases involved eggs donated by sisters of the women undergoing the procedure.

We need to think about so-called test-tube babies. Many children have been conceived and born to date through in-vitro fertilization using sperm from anonymous donors, but some of these children are known to suffer later in life for not knowing their genetic roots. I imagine they feel as if they have been uprooted, with the ground crumbling under their very feet. My heart goes out to them.

The right to become a parent should not be denied. At the same time, children's "right to know their roots" must be fully guaranteed, even though I firmly believe, in one part of my heart, that genuine parent-child relations can and do exist in the absence of blood ties.

Sources: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/vox/AJ201507290038

1 comment:

Candy Fowler said...

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