|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Maverick doctor tastes the forbidden fruits of the gynecological world 2006,10,23
Shukan Shincho 10/26 By Ryann Connell
Yahiro Netsu, the surgeon who oversaw the procedure where a 50-something woman acted as a surrogate mother for her infertile daughter, has often been accused of playing God, according to Shukan Shincho (10/26).
Japan is currently caught up in a fierce debate over surrogate pregnancies, sparked by actress Chiaki Mukai's battle to have the child born to a surrogate mother in the United States legally recognized as her own.
The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology bans surrogate pregnancies, but the law doesn't, a loophole 64-year-old Netsu has been able to exploit successfully at least five times over the past half a decade.
Of the five surrogate pregnancies he has carried out, four have involved sisters or sisters-in-law, but it's the other case that really stands out.
"The mother acting as a surrogate mother came about because she dearly loves her daughter.
That made it hard to refuse.
The child has been registered as the mother's but adopted by the daughter and her husband," Shukan Shincho quotes Netsu telling reporters.
"Of course, there was a danger to the mother giving birth at such an advanced age.
She acknowledged that danger and underwent a complete health check to determine if her blood pressure and liver could handle the rigors of pregnancy.
She was also thoroughly checked by a gynecologist.
The cost of the procedure was 500,000 yen for the artificial insemination and another 500,000 yen for the pregnancy."
Netsu is something of a maverick in Japanese gynecological circles.
In 1986, he became the country's first surgeon to remove excess fetuses when fertility drugs led to multiple fetuses.
In 1998, he became the first to carry out artificial insemination using sperm donated from a man other than a partner.
This was also in violation of a society ban and, as a result, Netsu found himself removed from its lists.
It took Netsu a bitter court battle to get back on the books, which he did following a settlement in 2004.
"Netsu-san is always touching on the forbidden fruits of the gynecological world," a Tokyo gynecologist tells Shukan Shincho.
"You've got to remember that surrogate pregnancies are banned for a reason.
Everybody goes on about how the mothers feel, but what about the kids in these cases?
There are no laws in place at the moment, which creates all sorts of problems in areas like inheritance."
Medical journalist Tsutomu Wada is also opposed.
"You'll find primal relationships between mothers and children and grandchildren will be fundamentally changed," he says.
Despite the opposition, there's also plenty of support for Netsu, with infertile couples across the country flocking to his clinic in Suwa, a sleepy part of Nagano Prefecture, in the hope of having children of their own, especially as his 500,000 yen charge is only slightly more than what most can expect to pay for a pregnancy.
Netsu also has a reputation for devotedly caring for his patients, making a trip to the clinic even more appealing.
But a resident of the area near the clinic says it's not all a bed of roses.
"I've heard he can be pretty strict with his nurses," the resident tells Shukan Shincho.
"He strongly recommends breast feeding and treats the clinic like a boot camp, even for people going there to give birth." (By Ryann Connell)
October 23, 2006