02/20/2018, 10.32
Send to a friend

Surrogacy, Japanese man given 'lone custody’ of 13 children

In 2014, the case caused a scandal, prompting the authorities to enact a law that prevents foreigners from seeking services of commercial subrogation in Thailand. Wombs for rent industry first moved to Cambodia and, after a ban there, to Laos.

 Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A court in Bangkok has granted a Japanese man the right to have "lone custody" of his 13 children, born through Thai surrogate mothers. With the issuance of the historic sentence, he may request custody of the children.

Mitsutoki Shigeta, the alleged son of a billionaire, was living in Hong Kong when his unusual surrogacy project emerged in 2014. Following a raid in a Bangkok apartment used as a "children's factory", Thai police said that DNA samples linked the man to nine newborns, as well as at least four others born to surrogate mothers.

The scandal sparked by the discovery turned the spotlight on the womb for rent industry in Thailand, unregulated at the time, and in 2015 prompted the authorities to pass a law that prevents foreigners from seeking services of commercial surrogacy in Thailand. Shigeta, at the age of 24, left the country following the scandal, and then sued the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, in order to get custody of the children. He had declared that he had always wanted a large family that would inherit his fortunes.

"For the happiness and opportunities that the 13 children will receive from their biological father, who does not have a history of bad behavior, the court states that all 13 born of surrogacy are legal children of the plaintiff," reads the note issued by Bangkok Central Juvenile Court. The court affirms that Shigeta, who did not take part in the trial in person, is recognized as "the lone parent" of children because the Thai surrogate mothers have renounced their rights.

According to the ruling, since he comes from a wealthy family, he has vast amounts of money and has prepared nurses and nannies to take care of children in Japan. Shigeta's lawyer announced that he would contact the Social Welfare Ministry, who took care of children since the scandal broke out in 2014, about the next steps to transfer them from state custody.

Shigeta had hired Thai women before the kingdom banned the lucrative trade in 2015, following a series of scandals and custody conflicts. Surrogacy agencies moved quickly to neighboring Cambodia, which followed suit and banned the industry in 2016. In recent months there have been signs suggesting that the surrogacy market has moved to Laos, a country without restrictions on the subject. Some surrogacy agencies are now offering services to carry out the transfer of embryos to Laos and therefore provide assistance in pregnancy for the surrogate mother in Thailand, a richer country with far superior medical facilities.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
National Commission for Women asks for 'immediate action' in the nun rape case in Kerala
07/02/2019 17:28
Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang rise as Cold War fears cast a shadow over Korea
12/02/2016 15:14
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday
For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs
21/03/2016 14:57
Catholic music to promote dialogue in Ambon, the city of sectarian violence
17/10/2018 13:29


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”