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Sayuri's childbirth stirs debates over choice to be single mother in Korea




Sayuri, or Sayuri Fujita, one of the most famous Japanese TV personalities living in Korea, surprised many Monday after she revealed that she gave birth recently following becoming pregnant by using a sperm bank in Japan. Her choice to have a child as a single mother has stirred up a debate in Korea.

Following a report on KBS News 9, Monday, she revealed on Instagram that she had given birth to a baby boy in Japan, Nov. 4.

"First, thank you to everyone. On Nov. 4, 2020, I became a mother to my son. Becoming a single mother was not an easy decision, but it is also not a shameful decision. I want to thank my son for making me a proud mother," Sayuri wrote in English on Instagram, Monday. "I would like to thank you all. I will devote myself, as someone who has been self-centered so far, to my son from now on," she wrote in Korean and Japanese.

Sayuri, who is currently living in Korea and has been vocal about wanting to have a baby, said she had to travel to Japan because as an unmarried woman she was not able to go through in vitro fertilization in Korea.

"I was told that my ovaries are aged 48, meaning it would be difficult for me to get pregnant naturally or through a test-tube pregnancy. I was so shocked … Everything was illegal in Korea for an unmarried woman to have a baby including with a test-tube pregnancy … Also, it would be difficult for me to rush to get married to a man I didn't love. There is the issue of the right to abortion. Likewise, I want to say the right to give birth should also be permitted. I hope (Korea) will allow (unmarried women) the right to give birth," Sayuri was quoted as saying by KBS.

In Korea there is still severe social stigma associated with having a child out of wedlock and it has been illegal since 2005 for an unmarried woman to get in vitro fertilization. Abortion is only partially legal in Korea and the country is one of the biggest "suppliers" of babies for adoption to other countries. Unwed mothers face harsh discrimination. Korea's total birthrate stood at 0.92 percent in 2019, a record low and the fourth straight year of decline since 2016.

Sayuri's move made headlines and is stirring debates over topics surrounding single parenthood in Korea, yet she is also receiving support from many.

Rep. Han Jeoung-ae, policy chief of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, said during a party meeting Tuesday that "Sayuri gave a birth through sperm donation. She voluntarily became a single mother … We should make efforts to make Korean society, where her baby will grow up, more open to diversity."

"You are the most beautiful person in the world," Rep. Bae Hyun-jin of the People Power Party wrote on Instagram, adding "Let's congratulate her. I pray for the mom and baby's health."

"If she was Korean, I wonder if the Korean political circle would send her congratulatory messages … It is important for anyone to decide what to do and make the best choice for one's body. In Korea, (women) cannot get sperm donations or infertility support without getting married. In Korea, (women) cannot get an abortion. In Korea, people don't get informed about birth control. Korea is a country in which a girl had to use shoe insoles as menstrual pads." Bae Bok-joo, vice chief of the progressive Justice Party, wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

Some online users expressed support for her decision.

"She is cool. I didn't know Japan allows unwed women to receive sperm donations. The Korean government is worried about low birthrates but is still spending taxes on bride buying from Asian countries and prohibiting unwed women from giving birth through sperm banks," an internet user wrote on Twitter.

"Sayuri's childbirth is so precious in terms of expanding the range of debates on reproductive rights in Korea. The right to give birth and the right to abortion can both be discussed under the idea of my body my choice, or a decision solely made by an individual," another internet user wrote on Twitter.

Some wrote online that her decision was against social norms. An internet user wrote that "She could have picked a good dad and got married." Another wrote "I feel sorry for a baby who would live without a father."







Congratulations on a healthy pregnancy and delivery, and continued blessings to her and her son!


source: The Korea Times
Tags: baby, comedian / mc, family
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