Not many men have sole custody of 19 of their own children, 13 by foreign surrogate mothers. In the news is the case of a weathly Japanese man, Mitsutoki Shigeta, who was recently awarded sole custody of 13 children by surrogate Thai mothers. The ruling is not saying he is the only biological parent, rather that he is “the legal parent” of his own biological children, a quite logical ruling.
In discussing this “baby factory” case, a confused international media seems unaware that there is no legal joint custody status in Japan.
Officially, there is no such thing as joint custody in Japan, … When couples get divorced, the woman usually takes the child and assumes full financial responsibility. “Only one person gets to be the parent,” …
There is a problem, according to the Thai government, of “illegal surrogacy.”
I actually had no idea until today that paying a woman to carry your child is illegal in some places. Why would it be? At first glance, I didn’t get it. Don’t women have that human right if they choose? If they can sell their eggs to a fertility clinic, why can’t they carry a child to term for hire if they enjoy being pregnant and choose it as a profession? Aren’t women worthy and free to have reproductive freedom of choice? It seemed quite a stretch to think of surrogacy as a type of prostitution.
Why, in Washington DC, was there up to a $10,000 fine and/or one year in prison for surrogacy? In 2007, according to a chart at American Progress, the laws in the USA are all over the map.
The situation changed for D.C. in 2015, however, when surrogacy was decriminalized.
Under the city’s antiquated surrogacy law that the new law replaces, all parties to surrogacy agreements that are legal in nearly every state were subject to a fine of up to $10,000 and a one-year prison sentence.
After four years in the making, a bill ending D.C.’s longstanding criminalization of surrogacy parenting and establishing a legal framework for surrogacy agreements became law on April 7 upon completion of a required congressional review.
The D.C. City Council gave final approval of the legislation, the Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2015, last December.
The controversy remains worldwide.
Surrogacy is controversial around the world, raising difficult moral, social and legal issues. As a result, the legal situation varies considerably. Many countries do not have laws which specifically deal with surrogacy. Some countries ban surrogacy outright, while others ban commercial surrogacy but allow altruistic surrogacy (in which the surrogate is not financially compensated). Some countries allow commercial surrogacy, with few restrictions. Some jurisdictions extend a ban on surrogacy to international surrogacy. In some jurisdictions rules applicable to adoptions apply and in others the practice is unregulated.
As of 2013, places where a woman could legally be paid to carry another’s child through IVF and embryo transfer included India, Georgia, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and a few U.S. states.
Why is surrogacy ever made illegal? What do proponents of anti surrogacy laws say? In France, it was because the human body, by public policy, is “unavailable.”
In 1991, it ruled that an agreement entered into by a woman to conceive, bear a child, and relinquish it at birth, albeit for altruistic reasons, was contrary to the public policy principle of unavailability of both the human body and civil status. This prohibition was confirmed in the Bioethics Act of 1994 and enshrined in the Civil Code as a regulation which is “a matter of public policy,” i.e. belonging to a category of mandatory rules created by the state to protect fundamental values of society and from which citizens have no freedom to derogate.
In France, citizens are not free to make the human body available–even, and especially citizens who are inhabitants of a human body. This sounds like an issue where the French State asserts legal control (ownership) of its subject’s bodies, which makes me feel some anger about lack of freedom.
Is the prohibition coming from antiquated puritanical disapproval of women’s rights?
A Thai court has given a wealthy Japanese businessman sole custody of 13 children he fathered through surrogates in Thailand.
Mitsutoki Shigeta, 28, made a headlines in 2014 for what became widely known as the “baby factory” case. It was one of several cases that led to the country banning foreigners using surrogate mothers in Thailand.
The children were seized by Thai authorities in a raid and sent to a government orphanage as part of a crackdown on suspected illegal surrogacy. Ranging in age from newborns to one year olds at the time of the raid, they were cared for by seven women in a Bangkok apartment. Police at the time said the babies were well taken care of.
The word “raid” implies suspected criminal activity. Did a Bangkok SWAT team swoop in on babies and find that they were well cared for?
Kong Suriyamontol … the Thai lawyer for Japanese national Mitsutoki Shigeta, speaks to the press after his client was granted paternity rights to his children, at a juvenile court in Bangkok on February 20, 2018. A Bangkok court on February 20 granted Shigeta “sole parent” rights to 13 babies fathered through Thai surrogate mothers, a ruling that paves the way for him to take custody of the children.
A Japanese man who became embroiled in a “baby factory” scandal four years ago has been granted sole custody of 13 children he fathered with Thai surrogate mothers.
Mitsutoki Shigeta, 28, won custody on Tuesday, after taking the Thai government to court over his paternal rights, AFP reports. The court ruled that Shigeta, reportedly the son of a Japanese business tycoon, has ample means to care for such a large family.
“For the happiness and opportunities the 13 children will receive from their biological father — who does not have a history of bad [behavior] — the court rules them to be the plaintiff’s legal children,” Thailand’s Central Juvenile Court said in a statement.
In 2014, Shigeta, who is unmarried, was at the centrt of an international scandal after a luxury apartment in Bangkok was raided and found to contain nine children and their seven 24-hour nannies. It soon emerged that Shigeta had fathered 19 children in total, with 13 babies born to surrogate mothers living in Thailand, and six living in Cambodia and Japan. Police told AFP that he had paid the Thai surrogate mothers between $9,300 and $12,500 each.
His case contributed to the international outcry against Thailand’s “rent a womb” industry, and led to the Protection for Children Born Through Assisted Reproductive Technologies Act (ART Act) in 2015, preventing foreigners from paying for Thai surrogates.
What is the issue, why are some opposed to others “renting a womb?”
Does Thailand claim foreign biological fathers are unfit parents who are frequently mistreating their own children?
On February 19, 2015, the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand enacted the Protection for Children Born Through Assisted Reproductive Technologies Act (ART Act), which will be enforced after it is published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette. (Senate Meeting Minutes (Feb. 19, 2015), Thai Senate website; text of the Act, Thai Senate website (both in Thai).) This act significantly protects children born through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) and sets the legal procedures the spouses (referred as “applicants”) must follow in order to have such children.
Thailand has previously not had any law directly referring to surrogacy. Instead, the authorities applied a provision in the Criminal Code, which states that anyone who enslaves another person or causes a person to be in a position similar to that of a slave; transports them into or out of the country; or buys, sells, disposes, accepts, or restrains a person may be subject to imprisonment for up to seven years and fined up to 14,000 Baht (about US$430). (Thailand Penal Code (Thai Laws Specifying Crimes and Punishment), (B.E. 2499 (1956), last amended by Criminal Code (No.17), B.E. 2547 (2004)), § 312.)
Many problems arose as a result of the application of this provision, including the problem of the restriction of rights over children born through surrogacy.
Reportedly, Mr. Kitti Wasinondh, a member of the National Legislative Assembly, and Mr. Adul Saengsingkaew, the Minister of Social Development and Human Security, believe that the new Act will reduce the surrogacy for profit and human trafficking that has resulted in maltreatment of women.
Via Library of Congress
In November the Thai National Legislative Assembly passed – with 177 to two votes and six abstentions – the first reading of a draft bill which bans commercial surrogacy. If the law is passed, women who agree to become surrogates in return for payment will be liable to a maximum 10-year prison sentence and fine of Bt200,000 (approximately £4,000). Social Development and Human Security Minister Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew stated that the bill sought to punish all sides involved in commercial surrogacy, protect surrogate babies and suppress human trafficking. The push to legislate in the area comes following several high-profile surrogacy scandals in the country.
I stand against human slavery (trafficking), but see surrogacy as a separate issue. If there is a case where you have both, there are already laws against trafficking and those laws should be applied. Lawful surrogacy should not be criminalized. This is my view after researching this issue. If you disagree, leave a comment with your view.