Japanese man given custody of his 13 surrogate kids

Hannah Rogers
February 22, 2018

A Japanese man who is the father of 13 surrogate children has been named their legal parent and only guardian by a court in Thailand.

His Bangkok apartment was raided and the police found nine surrogate babies, nannies and a pregnant surrogate mother.

A probe later found he had fathered 19 children in total, 13 surrogate babies living in Thailand and six living in Cambodia and Japan, an official from the Thai Department of Social Development and Welfare said.

The court ruling said Shigeta had a right to custody because the children were born before the new law, and because the surrogate mothers waived their custody rights.

Aggressive reporting by Japanese tabloids after his surrogate babies were discovered in a Bangkok condominium in 2014 quickly faded, allegedly after defamation lawsuits and pressure were applied by his father's company.

Shigeta hired the Thai surrogates before the kingdom banned the lucrative trade in 2015, following a string of scandals and custody tussles.

When the case was lodged in 2014, police had said the man was aged 24.

The court also said Shigeta had opened bank accounts in Singapore for all 13 children whose custody he was awarded Tuesday.

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Information from Tuesday's court decision and doctors and a fertility clinic has done little to lift the veil of mystery over Shigeta.

It said DNA evidence confirmed that Shigeta is the children's father, and that he plans to send the children to an worldwide school and has bought a piece of land to house them next to a large park in central Tokyo, where they will be looked after by nurses and nannies. "He was born in a big family, so he wants his children to grow up together", Kong said, quoted in Reuters.

Shigeta, who allegedly wanted to start a "big family", has been providing the children English and Japanese tuition while they've been in government care these past few years.

The man is the son of a Japanese tycoon and the president of a company listed on the stock exchange as well as an investor in several other businesses, the court noted.

Thailand passed a law banning commercial surrogacy in 2015 as a result, forcing clinics to move to Cambodia, where it was also later banned, and then Laos.

A Bangkok court yesterday granted him legal rights to take the children, saying he had ample money to care for them and had prepared nurses and nannies at a safe residence in Japan.

Some surrogacy agencies are now offering services to carry out the embryo transfer in Laos and then provide pregnancy care for the surrogate in Thailand, a wealthier country with vastly superior medical facilities.

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