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Japanese Politician, 50, Gives Birth to Her First Child

AFP,  Jan 6, 2010
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A 50-year-old Japanese politician gave birth to her first child Thursday after undergoing fertility treatment involving a US egg donor — a procedure she says should be legalised in her own country.

Seiko Noda, a conservative lawmaker once hailed as Japan's most likely first woman prime minister, had long spoken openly of her struggle with the treatment and in 2004 published the book "Watashi wa umitai" (I Want to Give Birth).

She became pregnant in May through in vitro fertilisation with an egg from a US donor and gave birth to a boy Thursday, her office said.

Her long struggle to become a mother, with several miscarriages, has shone a spotlight on fertility treatment and egg donations, which are not covered by any laws in Japan, forcing couples to travel overseas to seek donated eggs.

Noda in October told the Yomiuri Shimbun daily that the Japanese medical establishment did not approve of such egg donations in the country and said that she believed it was "a matter that needs to be legalised".

The veteran Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker has also long pushed for greater gender equality -- including allowing women to keep their own family name after marriage, rather than taking their husband's surname.

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