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618Challenges for Bioethics from Asia

Teaching about Surrogacy

- Shigeko Tsuboi .

Kounosu Girl’s High School, Saitama JAPAN

Email: s.tby@nifty.com

Presently life science is remarkably developed and responses are various. For example, Japanese law is not the same as other countries. At High School Biology class, on teaching “phylogeny and reproduction”, mainly sea urchin’ and frog’ spawning, impregnation, and extension of life engineering are taught. Instead of teaching extension of life engineering, I used a bioethical questionnaire about “surrogacy” for girls students who will be mothers in near future, with background one of the teaching materials (page by page used)(Macer, 2003). Most of students answered eagerly. I asked the original questionnaire for them twice, a month, and two months later. The second answers were more developed than the first.

This small scale research was conducted at Kounosu Girls High School. The number of students are 40 in the second grade, 59 in the first grade. In the first trial N=89, the second trial N=99, the third trial N=29 returned.

On teaching “phylogeny and reproduction” chapter, students know some words such as artificial insemination or surrogate mother (Asahi  Newspaper, 2004). However it is not case that they understand phylogeny and reproduction in detail. Surrogacy and Japanese law was appeared on Asahi Newspaper, I used this article as a teaching material. At the same time a handout about ‘surrogacy’ which is written in English was asked to the students, triggered their attention. I explained some words and asked questions like as the questionnaire. Students hesitated for a while, then I asked them to write their answers in print. Because they are taught in school to tell the correct answer, and seldom to express their own opinion, it is difficult in Japan.

1) Surrogacy (page by page)

First trial answers are below, giving the most common reasons.

Q1. Do you think surrogate mothers should be paid?

Q1. Yes: reason {Pay is necessary, because being surrogate mother is a very big job}  No: reason {Although being surrogate mother means a very big job, it can not be calculated}.

Q2. Would you consider being a surrogate mother as a part-time job?

Q2  Yes: reason {It is just a ten month long job.}  No: reason {Having a baby is quite important. It is not called a part time job because having a baby means sometimes a dangerous situation. }

Q3. In some countries only married women who already have children are allowed to be surrogates. Why do you think that law was made?

Q3  Yes: reason {A husband can support a pregnant wife. It is easier for mothers who already have children to deliver another baby. Mothers who already have a baby do not want to have a new born baby.}   No: reason {It is not good since delivering a baby is dangerous.}

Q4 (additional question) Do you want to have a baby by a surrogate mother?

*Whose egg is not specially decided.

{25 members; Natural life style is better. 3 members; I do not ask a surrogate mother. 3 members; I do not understand. 4 members ; I do not want to have a child anyway. }

There are some other opinions. e.g. {I will be an old lady without children. I will have an adopted child. Japanese law could be changed.}

. pp. 618-620 in Macer, DRJ., ed., "Challenges for Bioethics from Asia" (Eubios Ethics Institute, 2004).

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