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Grandmother Delivers Granddaughter

Hat tip to one of our commenters who found this story:

A 61-year-old woman gave birth to her own grandchild using an egg donated by her daughter, a clinic in Japan has said. The surrogate mother is believed to be oldest woman to have given birth in Japan. “Both surrogate mother and baby were fine,” said a spokesman for the Suwa Maternity Clinic who added the surrogate mother used a fertilised egg donated by her daughter, who has no uterus.

Media reports state the previous oldest mothers in Japan were two 60-year-old women implanted with their own fertilised eggs in America.

Undoubtedly as this story goes viral there will be indignation and condemnation. From my perspective, however, a story like this should only elicit outrage at countries that limit access to surrogacy. When nations adopt laws that either prohibit surrogacy or require that it only be done on an altruistic basis, these are the type of arrangements that follow. While the news accounts do not give much background on the parties in this situation, it would not be surprising to learn that the grandmother was the only family member capable and willing to assist her daughter in starting a family. Had Japanese law allowed compensated surrogacy or recognized maternity and paternity judgments issued in other countries, then perhaps this woman would not have needed to turn to her mother as a gestational carrier.

Parenthetically, in 2007, the Japanese Supreme Court rejected the parenthood of Japanese genetic parents for twin boys delivered by a Nevada gestational carrier. In so doing, the Court determined that the judgment issued out of Nevada violates the public policy as established by Japanese law and thus was invalid. Even worse, last year the Science Council of Japan released its recommendations that surrogacy be banned entirely in Japan. This came on the heels of another debacle involving a Japanese couple who used a surrogate in India. Their baby girl was denied entry to Japan because the Japanese foreign ministry refused to accept the citizenship of the baby as a Japanese. So until the father of the child completes an adoption procedure in Japan and India, the baby girl will not be permitted to enter Japan.


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