Japan to license sperm, egg agencies
Agencies that handle donated sperm and eggs will be licensed and prohibited from selling or buying them, according to a draft of legal revisions prepared by a nonpartisan Diet group.
In December 2020, special legislation was enacted as a supplement to the Civil Code, clarifying the legal parent-child relationships for children born through fertility treatments using donated sperm or eggs. However, a supplementary provision of the special law stipulated that the government would study related issues and take necessary legislative measures within two years.
The nonpartisan Diet group is led by Seiko Noda, the minister in charge of measures for the low birthrate. It plans to submit the bill outlining details of policies on egg and sperm donations to the current Diet session, after discussions among the parties.
According to the draft, infertility treatment using donated sperm and eggs will be allowed, while surrogate births will not, as they expose another person to the risks related to childbearing. Only agencies licensed by the government will be able to handle donated sperm and eggs, and only government-authorized medical institutions will be able to provide infertility treatment.
Penalties for violations will be established, with the details to be worked out in the future.
Donated sperm and eggs will be available only to legally married couples under the draft, but the regulations will be reviewed in five years. Sperm or eggs donated from the same person will be available to up to 10 couples.
To guarantee the right to know one’s origin in the case of assisted reproductive medicine, the name, date of birth, My Number personal identification number and other information about couples, children and donors will be stored for 100 years by the agencies.
Children born through sperm or egg donations will be able to confirm in the future whether their information was recorded. If they ask for information about donors, the requests will be passed on to donors, who can choose whether to disclose information and how much. As a result, privacy of donors will be protected while children’s right to know their origins might not be.