LAST_UPDATESun, 24 Jun 2018 11am

Millionaire Wanted To Make 10 To 15 Babies A Year, Offered Women RM42K Each To Become Pregnant

Pic: Japan TimesPic: Japan Times

When a young woman living in the slums of Thailand saw an online ad seeking surrogate mothers and be paid US$10,000 (over RM42,000), it seemed like a lifeline out of poverty.

Furthermore, she was under the impression that she would foreign couple that wanted a child but could not conceive.

In reality, there was no couple. A young man from Japan named Mitsutoki Shigeta, reportedly the son of a Japanese billionaire — would go on to make surrogate babies with 10 other women in Thailand, police say, spending more than US$500,000 to father at least 16 children for reasons still unclear, Japan Times reports.

The discovery of the bizarre attempt by the man to have as many babies as possible became the focal point of a growing scandal over commercial surrogacy which had become a thriving industry in Thailand.

This led to Interpol launching an investigation into the alleged baby factory and the shocking discovery that the mysterious wealthy Japanese man had fathered 16 surrogate children and expressed a desire for a great many more.

The authorities traced his steps to a home in Bangkok which was raided, finding nine babies with nine nannies. Shigeta, 24, was identified as the father of each of them, as well as seven more.

The children were apparently housed in unfurnished rooms filled with baby bottles, bouncy chairs, playpens and nappies, according to Thai police.

"What I can tell you so far is that I've never seen a case like this," Thailand's Interpol director, police Maj Gen Apichart Suribunya, said, The Guardian reports.

Shigeta was reportedly investigated for human trafficking and child exploitation, but Thai police say they haven’t found evidence of either. He was quoted in press reports as releasing a statement through a lawyer that he simply wanted a big family.

Filepic: APFilepic: AP

According to the Associated Press (AP) Shigeta had made 41 trips to Thailand since 2010. He was also known to have travelled to nearby Cambodia, where he is believed to have bought four more babies.

The founder of a multinational fertility clinic that provided Shigeta with two surrogate mothers said that she had been the one to alert Interpol after finding his intentions bizarre.

"As soon as they got pregnant, he requested more. He said he wanted 10 to 15 babies a year, and that he wanted to continue the baby-making process until he's dead," said Mariam Kukunashvili of New Life Clinic to AP.

She said he told the clinic's manager that "he wanted to win elections and could use his big family for voting", and that "the best thing I can do for the world is to leave many children".

After the case went public, the reclusive Japanese man quickly left Thailand after the raid on his condominium. However, his lawyer responded to enquiries saying his client was not involved in "no dishonesty, no illegal activities".

Following the high profile case, Thailand’s parliament finally passed a law in 2015 banning most forms of commercial surrogacy following Shingieta's baby-making exploits coming close on the heels of a surrogate baby abandoned by an Australian couple after the baby was discovered to be suffering from Down syndrome and a congenital heart problem.

Dubbed 'baby Grammy', the saga of baby Grammy also helped put an end to commercial surrogacy in Thailand and fortunately, a happier future for the abandoned child.

Pic: ABC.netPic:

Generous Australians donated US$240,000 for Grammy's care, managed by Australian charity Hands Across The Wate and the toddler is now attending kindergarten in 2017 as he learns new skills like drawing and drinking from a cup.

- mD