National / Science & Health

Births involving donor eggs has tripled since 2009

Kyodo

Births involving donor eggs have more than tripled over the past three years, a government survey says.

According to a survey conducted by a health ministry study group, the national birth rate for donor eggs rose to 0.051 percent in 2012, compared with 0.015 percent in 2009.

The survey, carried out by a group led by Keio University professor Yasunori Yoshimura, found that donor eggs were involved in 117 births.

The questionnaire asked 302 medical institutions across Japan about babies delivered between January 2009 and September 2012. Responses were received from 163 hospitals.

“Our survey suggests 300 to 400 babies are born from donor eggs each year in Japan,” Yoshimura said.

The average age of the women involved was 45.2.

A breakdown of the 117 births shows that 65 originated from eggs from the United States, 18 from Thailand, seven from Japan, four from South Korea and one each from Taiwan, Malaysia and Russia.

Women between 45 and 49 accounted for the largest number — 46 — of births from donated eggs. Four were 55 or older.

About 68 percent of the women experienced complications with pregnancy, such as hypertension.

Debate is expected to intensify about the risks older women face when becoming pregnant and the rules that should be established to regulate the egg donation process, observers say.

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