The international policing organization, Interpol is now investigating the case of a Japanese man who fathered 16 surrogate babies, the Associated Press reported.
Earlier this month, Thai authorities found nine infants living under the care of nine nannies during the raid of a largely unfurnished condominium in Bangkok. 24-year-old Japanese businessman Mitsutoki Shigeta has been identified as the father in what has been referred to as the "Baby Factory" case by Thai authorities.
While unconfirmed, The South China Morning Post and The Bangkok Post reported that Mitsutoki Shigeta is alleged to be the son of Yasumitsu Shigeta, a multi-billionaire who founded one of the country's biggest telecom companies.
Thailand began an increased crackdown on illegal surrogacy cases after a Thai woman claimed an Australian couple paid her to carry their twins only to leave one of the children behind after learning he was born with Down Syndrome. Earlier this month, Thailand's Medical Council shut down an in vitro fertilization center in Bangkok after authorities linked it to the Shigeta's "Baby Factory" case.
Commercial surrogacy is worth billions in countries such as India and Thailand and has come under increased scrutiny by human rights groups claiming that women in developing countries are often forced into it for financial reasons. Shigeta's other babies are believed to have been born in India and Cambodia.
Thai Lieutenant General Kokiat Wongvorachart told the AP that the police are investigating the case in regards to human trafficking and child exploitation.
Mariam Kukunashvili, the founder of a surrogacy clinic that worked with Shigeta, said she notified Interpol after Shigeta started requesting multiple surrogates.
“He said he wanted 10 to 15 babies a year, and that he wanted to continue the baby-making process until [he was] dead,” Kukunashvili told the AP. He also said, " he wanted to win elections and could use his big family for voting," she continued.
Kukunashvili had previously told The Bangkok Post that Shigeta froze copious amounts of his sperm so that he could continue having children into old age.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.