Thai court grants custody to Japanese father of 13 surrogate children

BANGKOK — A Thai court on Tuesday said it ruled in favor of a wealthy Japanese man who had fathered 13 surrogate children in Thailand, naming him their legal parent and sole guardian. The case harks back to late 2014, when police said they had found 13 babies fathered by a Japanese national with nine Thai surrogate mothers. The children were taken to foster homes and the father has petitioned for custody since early 2015. The man had his sperm fertilize donor eggs, which were then planted in the wombs of the surrogate mothers in 2013, according to a press statement given by the court. No details were given on where the donor eggs were from. The scandal at the time shone an international spotlight on Thailand’s largely unregulated surrogacy business, prompting authorities to crack down on clinics with nationwide inspections and later to ban commercial surrogacy. The Japanese man was given custody of the 13 children on Tuesday largely due to his financial and professional stability, and he was found to have no links to human trafficking, the court said. Growing up with a biological parent will also be in the children’s best interests, the court added. “The petitioner is an heir and president of a well-known company listed in a stock exchange in Japan, owner and shareholder in many companies, and receives dividend of more than 100 million baht ($3.18 million) from a single company in a year, which shows the petitioner has professional stability and an ample… [Read full story]

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