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A panel under the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry discussing fertility treatment has decided to gather opinions from the public on the use of eggs and sperm donated by a patient’s sister or brother and on the rights of children born by such treatment to know their genetic parents.

It is unusual for the panel to solicit public opinions before coming up with its own view.

Yoshio Yazaki, president of the International Medical Center of Japan and head of the panel, said it hopes to use the opinions in its discussions and compile a final draft in this fiscal year, which ends March 31.

The panel has been taking part in rule-making for such treatment after an earlier panel of the former Health and Welfare Ministry in 2000 approved use of eggs and sperm donated by third parties.

The current panel has decided on such policies as prohibiting surrogate mothers and setting up a public body to grant approval for the use of donated eggs and sperm. It also decided to control information and prepare counseling networks for the patients.

However, the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology has opposed the panel’s decision to approve the use of eggs and sperm offered by patients’ sisters and brothers, saying use should be limited to donations by anonymous third parties.

The panel is also split in its opinions concerning the rights of children born by such treatment to know their genetic parents.

It decided to post its differing opinions on the health ministry’s Internet site and gather public views on the matter.

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