In 2019, there were 598,965 marriages in Japan, according to statistics issued by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, an increase of more than 12,000 compared to 2018. The number of marriages began to decline in Japan after reaching a peak of 1.1 million in 1972. Although there was a temporary upturn in the 1990s, the number again began to trend downward in the new millennium.
The upward trend in the number of IVF treatments is expected to continue as more couples are marrying later in life and increasingly turning to infertility treatment, according to experts.
The survey by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JSOG) found a record of 424,151 in vitro fertilizations were performed in 2015, resulting in 51,001 births, also an all-time high.
Since the first IVF birth in Japan in 1983 through to 2015, there have been a total of about 482,600 children born via the procedure in the country.
Of those who underwent the treatment according to the recent tally, women aged 40 or older accounted for roughly 40 percent.
The survey showed that conceiving, carrying a pregnancy to term and giving birth becomes harder with age as the percentage of women who succeeded in doing so stood at 21.5 percent at the age of 30, 18.4 percent at 35, 9.1 percent at 40 and 4.5 percent at 42.
The data also found that the risk of miscarriage with IVF treatments increases with age. Failed pregnancy through IVF occurred in 45.9 percent of cases at age 42 and 34.6 percent at 40, compared with 20.1 percent at 35 and 16.5 percent at 30.
Egg donation is an excellent opportunity for women who have ovarian issues. But a child born through this process technically has two mothers — a birth mother and a genetic mother — and this could spell trouble in Japan, where there are no laws regarding parent-child relationships stemming from such procedures.
According to a fiscal 2012 estimate by the ministry’s research team, Japan sees about 300 to 400 babies born per year via mothers who received eggs overseas. Their average age was over 40.