(TOKYO) -- A 50 year-old Japanese lawmaker gave birth Thursday to a baby boy conceived through in vitro fertilization, igniting a fierce debate in a country with conservative views on maternity issues.
A veteran member of parliament for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, Seiko Noda sought an American egg donor after years of unsuccessful fertility treatments and several miscarriages. In vitro fertilization is virtually banned in Japan and it is not covered by any Japanese laws.
"I thought about adopting a child, but I hit a wall," Noda said in a recent interview with Vogue Japan. "I was told that considering the future of the child, it wasn't possible to do that for a woman who is almost 50, like me. An egg donor was the last resort."
The lawmaker once hailed as Japan's most likely first female prime minister has been very public about her struggles. In 2004, she detailed her unsuccessful treatments in a book titled Watashi Wa Umitai or I Want To Give Birth.
Noda's plight has shed light on the lack of options available for Japanese women seeking egg donors and surrogate mothers.
The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, an official doctors organization forbids the use of surrogate mothers. Japanese law requires the mother carry the baby during pregnancy.
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