Thursday, April 19, 2007

Japanse Couple Pleads for Surrogacy Laws

Japanse Couple Pleads for Surrogacy Laws-
TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese couple who had twins through an American surrogate appealed Wednesday for the nation to recognise the practice after a court decision led them to decide to raise their children as US citizens.
Japanese laws do not specifically stipulate the legal status of children born through surrogacy, which is not a crime but is banned by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
"I read the ruling over and over again, and to be honest, I was disappointed and felt angry," television personality Aki Mukai, 42, said at her first news conference after the ruling.
Mukai, whose womb was removed due to cancer, has ignited a public debate in Japan on surrogacy.
She and her husband, professional wrestler Nobuhiko Takada, have launched a high-profile campaign to have her twin sons recognised as her and her husband's blood-related offspring.
But last month the Supreme Court ruled against the couple's demand, although it called on the legislative branch to keep up with the new realities of fertility treatment.
Mukai said she had decided to leave her twin boys with the US citizenship they now hold after losing the court battle.
"We went to the court because there are no clear laws, but the court's conclusion was only to say laws should be created soon."
The twin boys were born in 2003 through a Nevada woman, who offered to become impregnated with eggs fertilised by the Japanese couple.
Many Japanese couples are reported to have children through surrogacy overseas, but simply report the child as their blood-related offspring when coming back without disclosing how the baby was born.
"I want to see an answer as soon as possible for such cases in which babies are born legally through surrogacy overseas," Mukai said.
Japan has one of the world's oldest populations as it struggles with a low birth rate, while many women wait longer to get married and start having children.

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