ABSTRACT: Posthumous reproduction has been performed in Japan several times, without sufficient civic discussion on its appropriateness or legislative regulation. There have even been several lawsuits on posthumous acknowledgment (in which a baby born to a deceased father has the same birthright as a baby born to a living father), and some judgments have proposed the need to develop societal agreement on posthumous reproduction and suggested legislative settlement. With this background, this study aims to clarify the views of the Japanese people regarding posthumous reproduction. In December 2007, we distributed a questionnaire on posthumous reproduction in relation to beliefs about family and religion to 32 universities across the country, and received 3,719 replies. It was found that about 60% of respondents agreed with posthumous reproduction. Statistical analysis was applied to the relationship between this overall position on posthumous reproduction and views on assisted reproduction technologies, family, religion, and so on. The degree of support for posthumous reproduction was strongly correlated with the degree of affirmation of assisted reproduction technologies and a liberal worldview with emphasis on self-determination. On the other hand, there was also a strong correlation with having a traditional view of family, such as family succession. The degree of support for posthumous reproduction was also highly correlated with the intimacy among family members, underlying which was a strong connection to the traditional religious belief in Japan that deceased family members watch the living ones. The view on posthumous reproduction is culturally complex and cannot be explained by a simple dichotomy between traditional conservatives and liberals.
Acta medica Okayama 11/2008; 62(5):285-96. · 0.84 Impact Factor