医学・生物学の進歩と親子法 [in Japanese] Biomedical Progress and Regulations on Parents and Children [in Japanese]
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Recent biomedical advancements have significantly influenced child birth in several ways. For example, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, surrogacy and most recently cloning. There are people all over the world who cannot have children naturally. In Japan around ten percent of women are said to be infertile. In Japan artificial insemination both by husband and by donor and IVF limited to husband and wife are commonly being conducted by Obstetric and Gynecology clinics. Other assisted reproductive technologies are prohibited by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology. However, there are no regulations to control the boundaries of use of this technology. Further, there are no laws to decide the parent-child relationship in such cases. In reality, there are cases reported outside these boundaries. For example, a doctor performed IVF for an infertile woman using her husband's semen and an egg provided by her younger sister. Another case involved a younger sister acting as host mother for her elder sister after IVF between husband and wife. A separate case involved the birth of a child by IVF using the husband's semen after the husband has passed away. These cases are not expected to be performed as they breach the regulations. There are difficulties to decide the relationship between the parents and child at this stage. On April 10, 2003, the Assessment Subcommittee for Advanced Medical Care of the Health Science Council (within the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) released its final report for law reform. The report concluded that assisted reproductive technologies including artificial insemination using semen from the husband or a donor, and IVF using semen from the husband or a donor and that using an egg provided by the wife or a donor are accepted. However, the committee prohibits child birth by a woman other than the wife with penalty. If the child wishes to know their origin the information concerning the donor should be made available. The donor should be a third party not including a certain extent of relatives such as brothers and sisters. Semen, eggs and embryos should not be provided commercially. On July 15, 2003 the Subcommittee for Parents and Child Relating to Assisted Reproductive Technology released an interim report. The report included the following points' (1) in the case of assisted reproductive technology including that using donor semen or eggs, the mother of the child is said to be the woman who raises the child. (2) Regarding the relationship between father and child, if the husband agreed with the use of the assisted reproductive technology, the husband should be the father of the child. (3) it is prohibited to request acknowledgement from the person who provides the semen. In Japan new regulations are expected to be enacted by the Diet based on these reports.
- The Japanese Journal of Law and Political Science
The Japanese Journal of Law and Political Science 40(1), 79-91, 2003
The Japanese Association of Law and Political Science