Japanese man claims fatherhood of all nine
Picture: Bangkok Post
DNA testing will be conducted to establish the relationships of nine surrogate babies and a Japanese businessman who claims to be their biological father as a fresh surrogacy scandal emerged in Thailand.
Anti-human trafficking suppression police have stepped in to investigate the Japanese surrogacy case which came to light on Tuesday when nine surrogate babies were found in a city condo.
Pol Gen Aek Angsananont, deputy national police chief, said the DNA testing is a crucial part of the police investigation into the latest surrogacy case which is likely to be more complicated than the baby Gammy affair.
The new case, which has raised questions over the relative ease with which foreigners can come to Thailand to have surrogate babies, was exposed on Tuesday when authorities, acting on a tip-off, found nine babies, six boys and three girls, aged from two weeks to two years, in rented rooms at The Niche ID Lat Phrao condominium in soi Lat Phrao 130 in Bang Kapi district.
The authorities also found seven nannies and a 20-year-old pregnant woman. All nine babies, as well as the one being carried by the pregnant woman, are claimed to be surrogates.
The babies have been taken to a state-run nursing home in Nonthaburi's Pak Kret district.
Shortly after the search, lawyer Ratthaprathan Tulathorn contacted police and claimed he is representing a Japanese man. He said his client is the father of all the surrogate babies.
The surrogacy arrangements were legal and no women were forced to carry a child.
Mr Ratthaprathan provided information about the father, but claimed he had no details about the biological mothers, police said.
They declined to name the Japanese man.
Pol Gen Aek said Wednesday that police have questioned all the nannies as well as the pregnant woman and are asking the Japanese embassy to assist them in contacting the man for questioning.
"If the Japanese man turns out to be the father of the babies, the question is why he wants so many babies," he said.
More details of the investigation, which is headed by Pol Maj Gen Chayut Thanathaweesap, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, are expected in a week, he said.
If the case is established to involve commercial surrogacy, police will look for the surrogacy service clinics and doctors who performed the procedures.
Yanee Lertkrai, director-general of the Department of Social Development and Welfare, said the surrogate babies were receiving good care at the Pakkred Babies' Home in Nonthaburi province.
Their nannies, who had been hired for 10,000 baht a month to take care of the surrogate babies, were released.
Ms Yanee said the surrogate mother found during the raid was seven months pregnant, and was brought to a safe place to serve as a witness.
"The surrogate mother says she was hired to serve as the surrogate for 300,000 baht if she could give birth to one child, and 400,000 baht for two. She needs money to pay for her car installments," he said.
Ms Yanee quoted the surrogate mother as saying a friend persuaded her to enter the venture. Her friend hoped to be a surrogate but failed to get pregnant after a fertilised egg was implanted.
Meanwhile, the ministry will take care of the children under the Child Protection Act, which allows it to step in until families or guardians are found. Health checks and DNA tests will be provided to all children.
"The babies all look different and it is hard to believe they share the same blood. Personally, I think the surrogacy of the babies is illegal," she said.
Meanwhile, Pol Col Chitpob Tomuan, superintendent of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division, said Lat Phrao police are in charge of the investigation but the division will also join in.
He said legal action will be taken against the people concerned if the scandal involves human trafficking.
Based on the information at hand, he said the case is being treated as a violation of a law governing sanatorium licences and the Medical Council's regulations on assisted reproduction technology services.
Full Story: Nine babies found in Bangkok 'surrogate condo’
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