Sunday, March 2, 2008

Suwa Maternity Clinic and Surrogacy in Japan

"A surrogate mother last month gave birth to a child using eggs removed from her daughter, marking the fourth such case in Japan.

"In an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun, the daughter said, "I'm happy to be a mother and hold the baby that I thought I could never have."

"Also present at the interview were the woman's husband and her mother. It is rare for a married couple who have had a baby through surrogate birth in Japan to speak to the media.

"The couple, both in their late 20s, live in western Japan. The woman was born without a womb.

"One of the woman's eggs was fertilized with her husband's sperm and planted in her mother's womb by Yahiro Netsu of Suwa Maternity Clinic in Shimosuwamachi, Nagano Prefecture.

"The surrogate mother, who is in her late 50s, gave birth by cesarean section after a 36-week pregnancy. It was the eighth surrogate birth in Japan and the fourth in which the mother of a childless woman has served as a surrogate mother.

"The mother, the surrogate mother and baby are all healthy, according to the family. The baby, which weighs 2,200 grams, will be registered as the son of the surrogate mother and will then be adopted by the genetic parents.

"At the government's request in January, a panel studied the pros and cons of surrogate births and compiled a draft report suggesting a ban in principle. The panel said the risks involved in giving birth should not be borne by anyone other than the genetic mother, and that surrogacy may have psychological implications for the child in later life.

"But the draft report has not been without its critics. The final report will be compiled this month.

"Following are excerpts from the interview:

"The Yomiuri Shimbun: How does it feel to hold your son in your arms?

"Genetic mother: I learned that I didn't have a womb when I was a high school student. Since then, I never thought I'd be able to hold my own baby in my arms, and when he was born, I couldn't believe it. I feed him milk and cradle him, and feel he really needs me. I've gradually come to feel I'm his mother.

"(To surrogate mother.) Why did you offer to be the surrogate mother?

"Surrogate mother: I've always wondered why my daughter didn't have a womb, and I wished she could know the joy of having a baby. Two years ago, I heard the news that Dr. Netsu had helped conduct a surrogate birth [in which a woman carried her genetic grandchild]. That made me determined to become a surrogate mother, and I said so to my daughter and her husband.

"But having a baby at a later age is said to be risky.

"Husband: I was worried about her [his mother-in-law], and unsure about whether to accept the offer. But she was really determined.

"Surrogate mother: The morning sickness wasn't that bad, and the pregnancy was easier than I thought.

"The Science of Japan panel has compiled a draft report suggesting a ban on surrogacy.

"Genetic mother: There are a lot of women who suffer from the same affliction as me, as well as those who have their womb surgically removed. It's not right to put obstacles in the way of their happiness. "

By Yomiuri Shimbun (1/3/2008), Link to article (last visited 2/3/2008)

1 comment:

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