NHK has learned that at least 340 women have received ovum donations for artificial insemination in Japan since 2020.
Ovum donation is not banned in Japan, but relevant rules are yet to be fully in place. Thus the treatment was considered as not widely conducted in the country except for women suffering from infertility due to diseases or other causes.
Those who want to have a baby through the treatment have usually traveled abroad.
NHK asked agents mediating ovum donations for women in Japan whether they have mediated the treatment inside the country. Seven such agents replied that they have.
Many of the agents said they began brokering ovum donations in Japan after traveling abroad became difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to the lack of relevant rules, issues such as how to ensure safety, or how to guarantee the right for the child born through the donation to know his or her biological mother, still need to be addressed.
Keio University's Professor Emeritus Yoshimura Yasunori, who is an expert in reproductive medicine, said he was surprised that so many women have received the treatment in Japan, however difficult it was to travel abroad due to the pandemic.
He added that many of those who received the treatment are reluctant to speak about the experience or feel uneasy about how to tell the fact to the child. He said rules or guidelines should be implemented soon.