Monday, 21 Jul, 2008 Health & Fitness

Japan Bans in Vitro Fertilization for HIV Couples


According to Japanese sources the country's government banned the use of in vitro fertilization practices for couples, where both partners are infected with HIV virus.

Sources familiar with the matter told the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper that though the ethics committees earlier allowed the Ogikubo Hospital, located in Tokyo, to perform in vitro fertilization for the couples with HIV, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry of Japan decided to take specific measures for blocking the procedure.

In vitro fertilization ban is a rare move. The Japanese ministry panel, which studies the ethical issues involved, plans a public hearing on July 28, where it will discuss the rules for future in vitro fertilization and whether the procedure should be approved.

Hideji Hanabusa, the Vice President of the Ogikubo Hospital, claims that the hospital's staff was able to develop a method that can remove the AIDS virus from sperm. In addition he stated that together with his colleagues he was successful in performing in vitro fertilization in couples where only husbands had HIV.

According to the newspaper, the procedure allowed 65 babies to be born completely healthy and their mothers were HIV-free as well.


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