In the first survey of its kind in about 10 years, the health ministry will survey foreign legal systems used to oversee the use of assisted reproduction technologies that allow women to get pregnant with donor eggs, informed sources said.
Because Japan has no laws that deal with egg donation, experts and infertile patients have been pushing the government to set common rules. The ministry will formulate its own response after learning how other countries deal with donated eggs, the sources said.
On May 13, Japan Egg Bank said it had succeeded in matching three volunteer donors with women who lack eggs because of chromosomal defects or other problems, marking Japan’s first formal egg donor operation. Collection and transplant will be completed within six months.
The issue has raised concerns about the medical risks of egg collection and the legal ramifications of raising a child conceived in this way. Since a child conceived from a donated egg has both genetic and birth mothers, parental relations can be complex. But the number of Japanese going abroad to get pregnant with donor eggs is rising.
The health ministry will study egg donation cases mainly in Britain, France and Germany, which have already enacted laws. It will look into the extent to which egg transplant is allowed, the rights such children have to learn about their backgrounds, recognition of parental relations, treatment of virtually married couples, and compensation for egg donors.