• Kyodo, Jiji


The ruling coalition and opposition parties on Monday jointly submitted a bill to clarify the status of those who give birth to a baby using donated eggs or sperm as legal parents, a move that could help conclude a decades-old debate in Japan.

The current civil law does not have a provision regarding in vitro fertilization involving a third person, sparking discussions about how to eliminate legal uncertainties with regard to the parentage of such children.

It is expected to be enacted during the current Diet session through early December with support from parties including Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's Liberal Democratic Party and the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

It calls for recognizing as the mother the woman who gives birth after receiving an egg donation from a third person, not the egg donor.

In cases in which a husband agrees to sperm donation from a third person, the bill seeks not to allow the husband to deny the legitimacy of a child born to his wife.

But the bill does not clarify the rights of such children to seek the disclosure of the identities of egg or sperm donors, triggering criticism from groups representing them as well as the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.

The bill seeks to consider the right of people to know their genetic background and recognition of surrogate delivery as well as the buying and selling of eggs and sperm, which is banned in Japan, around two years after it is enacted and introduce related legislation if necessary. To start the consideration, a cross-party group of lawmakers will be established shortly, according to Kozo Akino, Upper House Diet affairs chief of Komeito.

The bill also does not reflect the recently increasing demand among sexual minority couples and single women who wish to have children.

The bill aimed at setting rules under special provisions of the Civil Code was submitted to the House of Councilors by the ruling LDP and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, as well as the main opposition CDP and two others in the opposition camp — the Democratic Party for the People and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party). The Social Democratic Party, also an opposition party, supports the bill.

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