Japanese politician, 50, gives birth to first child

A 50-year-old Japanese politician gave birth to her first child after undergoing fertility treatment involving a US egg donor.

Tokyo: A 50-year-old Japanese politician
gave birth to her first child on Thursday after undergoing fertility
treatment involving a US egg donor -- a procedure she says
should be legalised in her own country.

Seiko Noda, a conservative lawmaker once hailed as
Japan`s most likely first woman prime minister, had long
spoken openly of her struggle with the treatment and in 2004
published the book "Watashi wa umitai" (I Want to Give Birth).
She became pregnant in May through in vitro
fertilisation with an egg from a US donor and gave birth to a
boy Thursday, her office said.

Her long struggle to become a mother, with several
miscarriages, has shown a spotlight on fertility treatment and
egg donations, which are not covered by any laws in Japan,
forcing couples to travel overseas to seek donated eggs.

Noda in October told the Yomiuri Shimbun daily that
the Japanese medical establishment did not approve of such egg
donations in the country and said that she believed it was "a
matter that needs to be legalised".

The veteran Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker has
also long pushed for greater gender equality -- including
allowing women to keep their own family name after marriage,
rather than taking their husband`s surname.

A former post and telecommunications minister, Noda
has kept her maiden name while living with her de facto
husband, the father of their child.

Noda told the Josei Seven women`s magazine this
week that, as a new mother, she would keep pushing pro-family
policies aimed at raising Japan`s birth rate.

At 1.37 births per woman, Japan`s fertility rate is
now one of the world`s lowest, a trend blamed on a widespread
belief that women who give birth should quit their jobs,
shortages of childcare centres and other systemic factors.

"Until now, I could not push such policies fully
because people would criticise me for `not even having given
birth`" she was quoted as saying. "But I think I can now be an
experienced woman who can be more persuasive."

She said that her common-law husband was pressing
her to have another baby.

"I tell him, `Wait a minute`," she was quoted as
saying -- adding however that she was "very positive about a
second or even a third one."