Friday, August 22, 2008

Surrogacy: 61-year-old Woman Gives Birth to Grandchild

"SHIMO-SUWA, Nagano Prefecture--A 61-year-old woman is likely the nation's oldest mother, after bearing a girl for her infertile daughter as a surrogate, the head of a maternity clinic here has announced.

"Suwa Maternity Clinic director and surrogacy advocate Yahiro Netsu will report the case at a meeting of the Japan Society of Fertilization and Implantation that starts next Thursday in Fukuoka.

"Mother and child are both doing well, Netsu wrote on the clinic's website, adding that he usually does not recommend childbearing at an advanced age.

"The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the Japan Society of Obstetrics and the Gynecology and Science Council of Japan oppose surrogate births.

"The woman became pregnant at the age of 60 and delivered her granddaughter at 61, according to a statement on the clinic's website.

"The previous confirmed record was held by two women aged 60, who gave birth using donor eggs or fertilized ovum.

"It is believed that a woman's womb becomes less elastic and runs other risks with age.

""But with lack of social support for surrogate birth, we allow aged women to give birth to their daughter's child, because it is least likely to cause (relationship) troubles afterward," Netsu wrote.

"Earlier this year, Netsu reported helping 15 couples who tried surrogacy, including five involving the mother of the woman seeking to have a child.

"In an April report, the Science Council of Japan's exploratory council on surrogate births urged the in-principle banning of surrogacy, and said couples and doctors using the technique should be punished.

"But on his clinic's website, Netsu stressed that surrogacy often was the only option for many infertile women to have a child.

""I hope to start a positive public debate on surrogate births, and that this method will eventually be used in Japan in the least exploitative way," he wrote."

By Asahi Shimbun (8/22/2008), Link to article (last visited 8/22/2008)

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