Manga sheds light on the realities of fertility treatment for all to see

An unlikely hero has emerged to tackle the stigma and pain of infertility in Japan – a manga series that is touching the hearts of countless readers through its serialization in the weekly Big Comic Spirits magazine.

The series, titled “Haibaiyoshi Mizuiro (Light Blue Embryologist),” focuses on the delicate and complex work of embryologists who are tasked with nurturing life in a lab setting. Aspiring parents visit a fertility clinic and the series follows their interactions with the embryologist assisting them.

While the manga primarily revolves around the fertility treatments of these couples, it also delves into other cases involving egg freezing and azoospermia. The storyline explores the differing views of couples on fertility treatments and the emotional conflicts that arise during the procedures.

The author of the series, Mari Okazaki, expressed her desire to make the manga easily accessible not only to those undergoing fertility treatments but also to their support networks. The emotional portrayal of the couples has strongly resonated with readers, leading to three published volumes of the series so far.

The central character, embryologist Ayumu Mizusawa, is portrayed as a skilled and humorous professional who is respected by her colleagues. However, the true protagonists of the manga are the individuals seeking fertility treatments. The series sheds light on the emotional journey and struggles of these individuals as they navigate the complex world of infertility.

In 2021, approximately 70,000 children were born through in-vitro fertilization in Japan, marking a significant contribution to the country’s birth rate. The manga was brought to life by Ayako Shimazaki, a pharmacy graduate, who initially proposed the idea to Mari Okazaki. The author was inspired to explore the topic after depicting the love lives of working women in her previous work.

Embryologists play a crucial role in culturing eggs, testing sperm, and cryopreserving fertilized eggs. The profession, which involves intricate procedures such as intracytoplasmic sperm injections, currently lacks national certification but is essential in assisting countless couples in their journey to parenthood.

Okazaki and her team conducted extensive research for the series, visiting multiple clinics and interviewing numerous couples while capturing their experiences through photographs. The manga also incorporates real-life stories of couples within each episode to provide an authentic portrayal of the challenges surrounding fertility treatments.

The series also addresses the harsh reality faced by some individuals who are unable to conceive, portraying stories of resilience and the continuous pursuit of hope even in the face of adversity.

The manga has received widespread acclaim, with readers expressing newfound understanding and empathy towards the experiences of individuals undergoing fertility treatments. The author also received heartfelt praise from her own son, who named the manga as his favorite.

By shedding light on the emotional, physical, and societal aspects of infertility, the manga has succeeded in sparking crucial conversations and fostering a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by individuals and couples seeking fertility treatments.



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