, Japan

Japanese teenager first to use hospital's 'confidential birth'

The system was the only one of its kind in the country.

Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto Prefecture, the first facility in Japan to offer confidential births in December 2019, said that a teenage girl who gave birth in December 2021 became the first person to use the system, the only one of its kind in the country.

The hospital decided to introduce anonymous births amid a rising number of women choosing to deliver without medical assistance to keep their pregnancies a secret. However, the system has yet to be legislated in Japan due to numerous issues such as registration.

Under a German system legally introduced in 2014, pregnant women can anonymously give birth at a hospital after revealing their identity only to a pregnancy counsellor outside the hospital. The children may know their mother's identity once they turn 16.

Jikei Hospital also set up a baby hatch, called "konotori no yurikago" (stork cradle) and modelled after Germany's Baby Box, in 2007 to prevent women in cases of unwanted pregnancy from killing babies or abandoning them in unsafe conditions. A total of 159 babies had been accepted through the hatch by 2020.

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