Governing Assisted Reproduction in Japan: Lessons for the Medical Profession from Its Counterpart in Justice

Silvia Croydon
Volume 4 Issue 2 Pages 1-12
First Published: March 31, 2022



Despite the promulgation of a law for assisted reproduction in Japan in December 2020, the policies in this area of medicine here remain largely determined by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JSOG). The validity of the assertion that the Society only rules because the legislature is loath to do so put aside, the doctors’ “service” as policy-makers does not appear to be held in high regard. Indeed, JSOG’s decisions often come under sharp criticism domestically and internationally. This article presents the latest manifestation of this phenomenon. In particular, I focus on the condemnation with which the recent efforts of JSOG have met to expand, beyond the cases where there is a survival risk in childhood, the application of a procedure known as pre-implantation genetic testing formonogenic disorders (PGT-M). With a view towards resolving this stalemate in a way that both enjoys greater acceptance by the public and frees JSOG from the impossible task of devising policies that reflect something as elusive as the public’s “common sense”, the article advances the idea that the Society lobbies for the instalment of a citizen-dominated regulatory body modeled on the example of the British Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA).


Key words

Pre-implantation genetic testing for monogenic disorders, Japan, Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, disability, assisted reproduction, Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority