Baby Hatches’, in Japan and Abroad: An Alternative to Harming Babies


A “baby hatch” system is prevalent worldwide. Mothers or parents, who cannot bring up a child by themselves, leave their baby in a safe space. This is a contentious issue in Japan and in many other countries. Its modern origin is found in the German “Babyklappe,” and the Japanese baby hatch is based on this model. While there are many such places in Germany now, Japan still has only one baby hatch.This system aims to prevent the abandonment or killing of a baby; however, it is regarded as a last resort to protect a baby’s life and to help mothers or parents who are in a difficult situation. Several measures are therefore taken to prevent parents from actually using this system.However, this system has been highly criticized for endangering the lives of both babies and mothers, tolerating private childbirth, and not ensuring a child’s right to know its biological origin. The “confidential childbirth” system—wherein information about the child’s mother is kept a secret until the child becomes an adult—is considered one of the most effective alternatives to overcome these limitations. Germany has legalized this system, and the Japanese hospital where the sole baby hatch is set up has planned to adopt it.We thus examine the context around the Japanese baby hatch system, comparing it with the German system, and assert that it should be developed in a way that it complements other systems in helping to prevent the termination of a baby’s life.

Author Information
Mao Naka, Kobe University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ECERP2018
Stream: Ethics - Medical Ethics

This paper is part of the ECERP2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon