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Seiko Noda, a Liberal Democratic Party member of the Lower House, has become pregnant through artificial insemination using an egg from someone in the United States after years of fertility treatment, sources said Wednesday.

The former minister in charge of posts and telecommunications, as well as consumers affairs, is currently 15 weeks pregnant and is scheduled to give birth around February, by which time she will be 50. Noda is not married but has a de facto marital relationship with her partner, they said.

In 2004, Noda published a book titled “Watashi wa Umitai” (“I Want to Give Birth”) that describes her physical and emotional struggles in undergoing fertility treatment and her clashes with LDP House of Councilors member Yosuke Tsuruho, her former partner who was initially opposed to the treatment.

Noda confirmed her pregnancy in an article in the weekly Shukan Shincho, which goes on sale Thursday.

According to the article, she received the egg from a young woman in the United States whose race and nationality were not immediately known.

Noda says she received the treatment in the United States at a cost of “several million yen,” according to the article, a copy of which was made available Wednesday.

Noda has opted not to officially register her marriage as she is a major advocate of a system to allow married couples to have separate surnames, and current law stipulates that couples should share the same surname.

She had made it public that she could not conceive because of a blocked fallopian tube and that she suffered a miscarriage after successfully getting pregnant through in vitro fertilization during her partnership with Tsuruho.

The two LDP lawmakers ended their five-year relationship in 2006.

In the magazine article, Noda calls for the government to introduce legislation that would authorize such things as surrogate motherhood and egg donations from third parties “by acknowledging reality.”

“Whatever happens, I want to give birth,” she says.

The six-term House of Representatives member, who was once touted as a potential candidate to become the country’s first female prime minister, has been calling on the government to implement drastic measures to reverse the falling birthrate, such as creating a new ministry dedicated to improving the environment for childbirth and child rearing.

Last May, she expressed her eagerness to run in the next leadership election of the LDP.

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