The past few months have seen a flurry of news about moves by the government to make fertility treatment easier and cheaper. Here are some stories about some of the issues involved:
- The Diet passed a law this month that recognizes married couples who have children through donated eggs and sperm as the legal parents, aiming to eliminate legal uncertainties around the issue. The government is also considering creating a subsidy program for small firms to help them better support staff receiving fertility treatment, and it will expand public health insurance coverage for treatments related to miscarriages and stillbirths.
- Seiko Noda, the executive acting secretary-general of the ruling LDP, says the government’s recent move to boost insurance coverage for infertility is a response to her yearslong push to improve accessibility to such treatment. But in an interview with Magdalena Osumi, she also stressed that further societal changes will be critical to properly addressing Japan’s infertility problem.
- “Handsome. High-bridged nose. Athletic. … DMs are welcome.” The Twitter profile of Keita Yoshizawa, 34, might read like he is trying to land a partner. What he’s really after, however, is a recipient for his sperm. As Tomohiro Osaki reports, with the system in Japan discouraging the use of donated semen, those who desperately want children are often left to look at less conventional routes to conception.
- Despite the revision of laws related to donated eggs and sperm, concrete rules on the rights of children to seek the identity of their genetic parents remain undecided. The government’s failure to clear up this issue is driving people who want kids but are unmarried, from sexual minorities or just unwilling to wait for government action to look at sperm banks overseas, Kyodo reports.
- But what about the right of children conceived using donated sperm to know their ancestry? Today, donor-conceived offspring in Japan are increasingly questioning the rigid anonymity conferred on donors by medical institutions in Japan, citing a global trend toward recognizing the rights of people like themselves to learn about, and establish contact with, their biological fathers, writes Osaki.