The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will introduce an age limit for couples who receive subsidies for fertility treatments. From fiscal 2016, only couples in which the woman is younger than 43 will be eligible for the subsidies.

Since the success rate of infertility treatment goes down while the risks from pregnancy and childbirth increase as a woman ages, the ministry's decision does seem rational from a medical perspective. But many women may think that the government is forcing them to have a baby at a certain time in their life and thus interfering with their right to make decisions about their own body.

The government must not only prove that this is not the case but also become aware that many women have no other choice than to postpone childbirth because of social and economic reasons. It must take adequate measures to address this problem.