Interpol is currently investigating a baffling case of a 24-year-old businessman who has fathered 16 children with various surrogates from Thailand with plans to have plenty more. As in 10-15 per year for as long as he lives. Somewhere, an executive at TLC has surgically replaced his or her eyeballs with cartoon dollar signs.
On August 5, Thai police raided an unfurnished Bangkok residence where they found baby supplies and toys. Oh, and nine nannies taking care of nine babies—all of whom were fathered by Mitsutoki Shigeta, a young businessman from Japan. Apparently, Shigeta had fathered 16 children (including four sets of twins) by 11 Thai surrogates. He has not been charged with anything; his lawyer claims that he has done nothing illegal and merely wants a large family. Besides, Shigeta claims he has the means to support such a big family, and if the rumors that he is the son of billionaire tycoon Yasumitsu Shigeta are true, he likely does have the means. Still, this makes me very uneasy.
Mariam Kukunashvili, founder of a fertility clinic used by Shigeta, had apparently warned Interpol about him after he mentioned he wanted "10 to 15 babies a year, and that he wanted to continue the baby-making process until he's dead," freezing his sperm so that he can continue reproducing in his old age. Apparently, he also mentioned that "he wanted to win elections and could use his big family for voting", and that "the best thing I can do for the world is to leave many children."
I'm going to put this out there: having children is a terrible tactic to sway an election. Having the 16 kids you sired as your only legacy in this world is also a terrible tactic. Actually all of this seems like a terrible tactic for life. Of course, it's not exactly rejecting a baby with Down syndrome and leaving him behind with the surrogate. However, there is something very off-putting about the mass production of kids by one dude. (Thai police have not determined the biological mothers.) Shigeta may be able to afford the children, but that doesn't guarantee anything. In fact, none of his fatherhood aspirations appear to be about the humans he is bringing into this world or their happiness. His aspirations are about him. The fact that he has a staff of nannies to take care of his children for him (in an unfurnished condo) speaks volumes about his idea of fatherhood and responsibility.
Meanwhile, Interpol cannot seem to figure out what the hell would drive someone to father 16 kids, and have assumed the worst. As Kevin Rawlinson at The Guardian reports:
"What I can tell you so far is that I've never seen a case like this," Thailand's Interpol director, police Maj Gen Apichart Suribunya, said on Friday.
According to the Associated Press (AP), he added: "We are trying to understand what kind of person makes this many babies." The investigation will centre on Japan, Cambodia, Hong Kong and India.
"We are looking into two motives. One is human trafficking and the other is exploitation of children," said police Lit Gen Kokiat Wongvorachart, Thailand's lead investigator in the case.
Human trafficking and child exploitation are incredibly serious allegations. Shigeta's former lawyer has rejected the accusations, claiming Shigeta has purchased assets, created savings accounts and made several investments for the babies as proof that he has no intention of selling them. 12 of Shigeta's babies are in the custody of social services in Thailand. Shigeta himself fled Thailand shortly after the raid, but having proven with DNA samples that he is indeed their father, is currently fighting to get them back.
Image via AP.