A 24-year-old Japanese businessman identified as Mitsutoki Shigeta is being investigated by Interpol for systematically fathering 16 surrogate children — and expressing a desire for many more.
The operation emerged after the police raided a home in Bangkok and found nine babies with nine nannies. DNA samples sent by Shigeta prove that he is the father of the nine children, plus seven more. According to Thai police, Shigeta hired a total of 11 surrogate mothers to carry his children, among them four sets of twins. The children found in the raid lived in unfurnished rooms filled with baby bottles, play pens, nappies and bouncy chairs, and are currently under the care of social services.
“What I can tell you so far is that I’ve never seen a case like this,” said Major General Apichart Suribunya, Thailand’s Interpol director.
Lieutenant General Kokiat Wongvorachart, lead investigator in the case, expressed that the police are looking into two motives: human trafficking and the exploitation of children. Other sources, however, indicated that Shigeta had particular intentions.
“He said that he wanted to win elections and could use his big family for voting,” said Mariam Kukunashvili, founder of the New Life fertility clinic, which provided Shigeta with two original surrogate mothers. “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.”
Ratpratan Tulatorn, Shigeta’s former lawyer, stated that his client had done nothing wrong. “These are legal babies. They all have birth certificates. There are assets purchased under these babies’ names. There are savings accounts for these babies, and investments. If he were to sell these babies, why would he give them these benefits?”
One of the surrogate mothers, a Thai woman by the name of Wassana, explained that she saw an ad by a foreign couple offering $10,000 to help conceive a child. Wassana, a resident of the slums and deep in debt, saw it as an opportunity to keep an eviction at bay. However, she soon discovered that there was no foreign couple, only Mitsutoki Shigeta — a man she met only twice. “He didn’t say anything to me,” said Wassana. “He never introduced himself. He only smiled and nodded. His lawyer did the talking.”