The Bizarre Story of The Japanese Man Who Won Sole Custody of 13 Surrogate Children

Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists


Note: The babies pictures are not involved in this case. This is a stock photo.

In 2014, headlines surfaced of a surrogate "baby factory" scandal. Bangkok Interpol agents discovered 9 children?aged 2 weeks to 2 years old?living with 9 nannies in a luxury Bangkok condominium.

The children were born to Thai surrogates who knew little of the Intended Parent, now identified as 28-year-old Mitsutoki Shigeta.

One surrogate, a sidewalk food vendor, was recruited through an online service.

When she met Shigeta, he didn't say a word to her. "He never introduced himself," she told the Associated Press. "He only smiled and nodded. His lawyer did the talking." She was paid $10,000 to carry one of his children.

Two years later, Shigeta became the focus of the press for the bizarre case. He fathered a total of 20 children using 11 Thai surrogates (including four sets of twins).

Earlier this year, on February 20, 2018, a court in Thailand granted Shigeta sole custody of 13 of the children he fathered through surrogacy. He was granted full legal rights to bring the children to Japan, where he lives and plans to raise them. As the son of a Japanese IT billionaire, he proved to the court his financial means and abilities to provide for each child.

Earlier headlines from 2014 mentioned Shigeta and the clinic he used were under investigation. Once the story broke, the children became wards of the state in Thailand. It sounded scandalous. Apparently, investigations determined nothing criminal occurred.

Little is known of Shigeta's motives. He said he wanted a very large family of many children to inherit his wealth and take over his business interests. At one point, he said that he wanted to "win elections" and would be able to "use his big family for voting."

This story is unique and fit to spark debates on international surrogacy laws and rights for surrogates and Intended Parents. Shigeta did pay each surrogate what she was promised, but it is unclear if the surrogates were traditional or gestational.

While Shigeta's lawyer says his client would like to maintain anonymity, we can only hope details from this story emerge in the future to resolve some of the concerning questions and pave the way for more ethical, and legally sound international surrogacy agreements.


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