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Kumamoto to allow hospital’s confidential birth system

  • February 9, 2022
  • , The Asahi Shimbun , 5:47 p.m.
  • English Press

By Horikoshi Rina, staff writer

 

KUMAMOTO–The city government here has decided to allow Jikei Hospital to proceed with its confidential birth system, which lets a baby be registered without the mother’s name. 

 

Kumamoto officials said some women require anonymity and have no choice but to use the system.

 

The hospital and city officials plan to meet to share information and discuss issues such as the rearing of children who are born and registered through the system.

The Kumamoto city government had urged the hospital to stop allowing confidential births, arguing that it could be illegal.

 

However, after the city considered factors such as the need to protect children’s rights, it changed its stance.

 

This followed the hospital’s announcement on Feb. 4 that it would proceed with the first case in Japan of a confidential birth by registering a baby who was born in December last year at the hospital without listing the mother’s name.

 

According to multiple sources, the city government placed importance on the fact that some women require anonymity in giving birth. Officials concluded that they needed to explore what is allowed under the current legal system.

 

The city government accepted that the confidential birth system, despite legal challenges, allows safe births by preventing a mother from giving birth on her own at the risk of her and her child’s lives. By Feb. 8, the city government and the hospital agreed to meet.

 

At news conferences, the hospital had urged administrative bodies to discuss with it issues such as the rearing of children born in the confidential birth system or how to treat information on those children’s births.

 

The city government and the hospital are expected to discuss these issues as well as how to support mothers who use the confidential birth system. The city government has also decided to ask the central government and members of the Diet for legislation to support confidential births.

 

Jikei Hospital’s confidential birth system allows women to give birth and disclose their identity only to a hospital staff member. It also allows children to someday learn the name of their birth mother if they so desire.

 

In December last year, a teenage girl gave birth at the hospital, after telling it that she wanted to give birth anonymously.

 

She was released from the hospital after disclosing her identity to a staff member and preparing a document for a special adoption, on the promise that her baby would be registered without her name listed.

 

The hospital said that other women have asked about using the system.

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