Pregnancy is a big event that you go through. You might experience mixed feelings, such as happiness, guilt, anger, anxiety…etc. If the pregnancy was unplanned, making a decision about the future can be even harder. You might be worried about how people judge you. You may want to discuss with your partner, someone in your family, a friend, someone you trust or a counselor. Before you make a decision about your pregnancy, it’s important to understand all the options that are available to you and to know what’s involved with each choice on an emotional and physical level. There are no simple or easy answers and you might be feeling a lot of pressure to make a certain choice. You may also be feeling vulnerable and you need someone who will accept you, listen to you and reassure you that you have time to make an educated decision. Keep in mind that you are not alone and we are here to support you and empower you as you make this difficult decision. the TELL Lifeline 03 – 5774 – 0992 is available to listen and provide resources to you. Here are some options that you might consider…
What are your pregnancy options?
Adoption: Carry to term and place the baby for adoption.
Fostering: Carry to term and seek foster placement for the baby until you can assume responsibility.
Parenting: Carry to term and parent.
Abortion: Have a legal abortion.
These are available at Japanese pharmacies (ninshin kensa youhin in Japanese). Have easy-to-understand picture instructions, you don’t need to read Japanese to use one. Cost from ¥800.
Ending a pregnancy in Japan
If your pregnancy is unplanned, you may be feeling very scared and uncertain. Women who decide to terminate a pregnancy will have different needs and questions depending upon the number of weeks the pregnancy has progressed, and their personal feelings and values related to the process. If you are considering an abortion (terminating your pregnancy) it is important for you to make an informed decision and for you to have answers to some of the following questions:
- What is an abortion?
- How are abortions performed?
- What costs are involved?
- What are the possible risks of having an abortion?
Generally, first trimester abortions are safe and without medical complication. Most women return to their usual activities in a relatively short period of time following the procedure. The earlier in a pregnancy a woman has an abortion, the safer and less expensive it will be.
Abortions in Japan are legal up to 21 weeks and 6 days. This means that no doctors will perform a surgical termination after 22 weeks unless it is for medical reasons. There are no abortion clinics in Japan. Abortions are mostly carried out in small local hospitals or clinics. Not all doctors are able to speak English in which case an interpreter may be necessary.
In the early stages of pregnancy, approximately 7 to 10 weeks, it is an outpatient surgery. After 12 weeks, hospital admission is required and each facility will stipulate how many weeks they can accommodate. The cost involved will vary depending on the number of weeks, making it important to know how many weeks pregnant you are. In Japan, the procedure is not covered by Japanese Health Insurance, and the costs vary by clinic/hospital. The average cost is around 100,000 yen to 200,000 yen up to 10 to 12 weeks, and you will often be required to pay cash.
Three visits to the hospital at typically required, the first for the general consultations and medical examination, the seconds for the surgery and the third for the follow up check up. A consent form is required prior to the operation, which asks for the husbands or partners signature, but you can sign for yourself if the partner is unknown. If you are under the age of 18 years old, a parent or guardian’s signature is required.
Rh factor and termination
Many women don’t know their blood type. There are four blood types: A, B, O and AB. Within these four groups a person is either positive or negative. This is the Rh factor which is the type of protein found on the red blood cells. About 82 percent of us are Rh-positive, which leaves 18 percent Rh-negative.
In a pregnancy, the Rh factor is only a problem when the woman is Rh-negative and the baby is Rh-positive. If the woman is Rh-negative, she will become sensitized during the first pregnancy if the baby is Rh-positive. In future pregnancies, the mother’s body will make antibodies that will attack the blood of an Rh-positive baby. These antibodies break down the baby’s red blood cells causing a host of problems. Even if a pregnancy is not carried to term due to abortion, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, the woman can become sensitized. Fortunately, treatment of the antibodies in your system is available to prevent this from happening if you are Rh-negative.
How Can Problems Be Prevented?
The only way to know to do this treatment is to find out if you are Rh-positive or negative. A simple blood test will tell you this information. The blood test needs to be done before an abortion or within 72 hour following the operation.
- A blood test can provide you with your blood type and Rh factor.
- Antibody screen is another blood test that can show if an Rh-negative woman has developed antibodies to Rh-positive blood.
- An injection of Rh immunoglobulin (RhIg), a blood product that can prevent sensitization of an Rh-negative mother. – This may cost 30,000 yen.
Adoption & Fostering
- International Social Service in Japan
- Intercountry Adoption: Japan
- Bureau of Consular Affairs- U.S. Department of State
- Specific explanation of the adoption procedures (for Americans) in Japan
- List of Adoption Organizations around Japan