Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_96379

'Baby-factory' father wins custody of 13 children born via surrogacy

26 February 2018
Appeared in BioNews 939

A court in Thailand has awarded a Japanese man paternity rights over 13 children born through surrogacy, meaning that can now apply for custody of them.

The man, not named in court documents, is reported to be Mitsutoki Shigeta. The son of a wealthy IT entrepreneur, Shigeta attracted controversy in 2014 after Thai officials raided his flat in Bangkok on the of suspicion of human trafficking and found at least nine babies, nannies and a pregnant woman (reported in BioNews 768).  

The Japanese businessman, who was shown to be the biological father of the children, maintained that he simply wanted a large family who could inherit his wealth. The Central Juvenile Court in Bangkok, which heard Shigeta's application, said that it did not find any evidence of human trafficking and believed that he has the means to care for the children.

'For the happiness and opportunities which the 13 children will receive from their biological father, who does not have a history of bad behaviour, the court rules that all 13 born from surrogacy to be legal children of the plaintiff,' the Court said in a statement.

The Thai women who acted as surrogates, sought custody over the children themselves in 2015 (reported in BioNews 786). However, BBC News – citing the recent decision – said that the women had now forfeited any rights to the children.

The case, which became known as the 'baby factory' scandal in the press, cast a spotlight on Thailand's surrogacy industry and the Thai government shortly afterwards introduced a ban on foreigners from paying for surrogacy in the country. It is claimed that Shigeta paid the surrogates between $9,300 and $12,500 each.

Commenting on the case, Sam Everingham, founder of the Australian consultancy organisation, Families Through Surrogacy, said: 'The case of Mitsutoki Shigeta is way outside the norm for cross-border surrogacy. Fathering 13 children via surrogacy highlights the need for regulation of surrogacy at a domestic level.'

A total of 17 babies have so far been identified in Thailand as having been fathered by Shigeta, who already has custody of four of the children. CNN reports he also has two further children born to surrogates in India.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Japanese 'baby factory' dad wins custody of 13 Thai surrogate children
The Telegraph |  20 February 2018
Japanese man wins sole custody of 13 surrogacy children
The Guardian |  20 February 2018
Japanese millionaire dubbed the ‘baby factory’ dad just won custody of 13 surrogate children
Washington Post |  20 February 2018
Mitsutoki Shigeta: 'Baby factory' dad wins paternity rights
BBC News |  20 February 2018
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
3 September 2018 - by Sarah Pritchard 
Nearly 30 Spanish families are unable to leave Ukraine with their surrogate-born infants, as they are unable to register the births with the Spanish Consular Civil Registry of the Spanish Embassy in Kiev...
2 July 2018 - by Dr Sam Sherratt 
Police in Cambodia have discovered 33 pregnant women who were working as part of an illegal surrogacy operation in Phnom Penh...
8 May 2018 - by Helen Robertson 
Britain's oldest new parents have had their one-year-old child, born through surrogacy, taken into care by Social Services...
12 February 2018 - by Theofanis Michailidis 
Lyle Hillyard of the Utah state Senate is seeking to overturn legislation giving legal protection to parties involved in surrogacy agreements, to prevent it being used by same-sex couples...
22 January 2018 - by Ruth Retassie 
Details of Ireland's proposed Assisted Human Reproduction Bill were revealed in a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee...
18 December 2017 - by Adem Muzaffer, Elizabeth Isaacs QC and Natalie Gamble 
In May 2016, the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, declared that certain provisions of UK surrogacy law were incompatible with a father and child’s human rights...
4 December 2017 - by Jen Willows 
Of Kith and Kin is a play about surrogacy that seems to have very little to say about surrogacy...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.