By Ewa Nowogorski
Artificial contraception is rising in popularity as an alternative means to have a baby when a person or couple is unable to naturally conceive one. In America, where the research is always up to date, this measure has become a quite popular and acceptable means to child conception.
In Japan, artificial conception is also becoming increasingly common and is accepted by most people. In a place where many people still hold traditional views and have conservative thinking, people are surprisingly open to such artificial methods. In fact, in Japan today, one in 27 children are conceived through in vitro fertilization, or IVF. With a birth rate that does not replenish the death rate, in Japan, it becomes an even bigger problem when one in six couples are unable to conceive naturally due to fertility issues. Artificial contraception is a very reasonable way to solve this issue.
There was even a famous politician, Seiko Noda, who in 2010 sparked controversy by bearing a child at the age of 50 through artificial insemination after years of infertility treatment. Over the course of the decade, the debate has died down, and even Japan’s current prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, is even fighting to help make artificial conception covered by health insurance. Currently, it is not covered at all, which means that couples have to pay thousands of dollars for each fertilization treatment out of their own pocket.
In order to curb Japan’s continuously declining population, Suga hopes to provide aid to struggling couples who cannot afford to pay for such expensive treatments. With insurance coverage, people will only have to pay 30% of the costs. This is an idea that will not likely happen in America, where artificial contraception is unlikely to be recognized as a disease or a necessary procedure requiring coverage. And with procedures like IVF being even more costly in America than in Japan, artificial contraception will continue to be an option available only to wealthy elites.