A Japanese man embroiled in Thailand’s sordid surrogacy scandal planned to have as many as 1,000 children, according to a report.
The Japan Times reported that 24-year-old Mitsutoki Shigeta “said he wanted to produce between 100 and 1,000 babies, according to the co-founder of an organization that provides surrogate services in Thailand and other countries.”
Last week CNN reported that nine surrogate babies fathered by Shigeta were seized by authorities in a crackdown on Thailand’s wayward surrogacy industry, though he is believed to have fathered as many as 15 babies in there already. It emerged on Wednesday that he will be summoned to testify in the State’s case against the clinic involved.
Meanwhile, the fallout from Thailand’s scandal has left hundreds of couples worldwide unsure if they will ever be able to claim children being carried by surrogate mothers in the Southeast Asian country.
Since news broke of Pattaramon Chanbua, a Thai surrogate mother left to care for a baby suffering from Down syndrome after they claimed its healthy twin, the military junta has turned its attention to what is emerging as an extremely sordid surrogate industry.
The Thai Cabinet has already approved a draft law that will criminalise the commercial surrogate industry in Thailand. Though the move has left hundreds of couples worldwide unsure whether they will ever be able claim their babies.
An unknown number of couples are believed already stranded in Thailand, afraid to leave the country in case their babies are taken from them. At least two Australian couples spoke of their plight with the media this week.
As with many areas of Thai life under previous governments, the laws governing the surrogacy industry and their enforcement were extremely lax. And as with many other areas, the military junta has launched a severe crackdown since it took power in a coup on May 22.
“Thai authorities are now more rigorously enforcing documentary requirements upon exit of the country when they suspect a child has been born of surrogacy in Thailand,” said a spokesman from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Thai police have insisted that surrogate parents with the right documents will be allowed to leave the country with their babies. However, each case may require a ruling from the Thai Family Courts, which could take months.
Dozens of surrogacy clinics have been raided in recent weeks and many have been closed down.
For now, an estimated 400 couples inside and outside Thailand with contracts with surrogacy clinics there remain in limbo. Foreign embassies in Thailand have indicated that they are seeking clarification but in the current political climate that could be a long time coming.