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110 babies born via donor eggs from Taiwan since 2014

A total of 110 babies were born to Japanese women receiving fertility treatment in Taiwan from donated eggs in the three years from 2014, it has been learned.

At least 177 Japanese women received an egg from an anonymous donor in Taiwan over the period. Of them, 96 women gave birth, according to the survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

In Taiwan, egg donations are conducted under legal control, but there are still problems, as children born from this practice have no right to learn their genetic origins.

The survey was conducted on 77 reproductive treatment facilities approved by Taiwan as of Jan. 3 through face-to-face interviews, telephone calls and emails. A total of 72 facilities, or 94 percent, gave valid responses.

It was the first time in Taiwan that the number of births resulting from a donated egg was revealed, as Taiwan has not gathered precise information concerning the treatment.

Four of the facilities said they conducted fertility treatments of this kind on Japanese recipients during the three-year period, according to the survey. Nine facilities said they conducted the practice but did not give the timing or number of recipients, and 59 said they did not conduct such treatment.

The survey results showed the treatment is concentrated at specific medical institutions.

The number of Japanese women who received egg donations has been sharply rising, from 17 in 2014 to 72 in 2015, and to 88 in 2016, with 110 babies being born in the three years.

Recently some Taiwan medical institutions have employed Japanese-speaking staff or held information sessions in Tokyo and Osaka about the treatment. The institutions’ efforts are believed to have boosted their profile in Japan, resulting in more Japanese recipients.

In Taiwan, the law related to reproductive medicine was established in 2007 and made it possible for women suffering from infertility due to age to receive an egg from an anonymous donor.

People with infertility issues who visit such clinics in Taiwan also come from China, the Philippines and the United States.

However, Taiwan does not grant the right to know the genetic origins of children born from a donated egg, meaning the children cannot know their genetic mother.

In Japan, there has been no progress in establishing legislation related to reproductive medicine. Thus, egg donations are rarely conducted.

There have been legal revisions in Italy and Switzerland to allow egg donations from anonymous donors, according to Prof. Osamu Ishihara of Saitama Medical University, an expert on global reproductive medicine. Japan is the only major developed country where the law is not prepared to deal with issues related to reproductive medicine such as egg donations and sperm donations, he said.

(The Japan News)