'Baby factory' dad wins paternity rights

(BBC)– A Bangkok court has awarded paternity rights to a Japanese man over 13 babies he fathered through Thai surrogate mothers.

The ruling allows Mitsutoki Shigeta, 28, to pursue custody of the children.

The son of a wealthy entrepreneur, he caused controversy in 2014 when he was revealed to have fathered at least 16 babies via surrogates in Thailand.

His so-called “baby factory” case and others led to Thailand banning commercial surrogacy for foreigners.

Mr Shigeta, who was not present at the trial, was awarded “sole parent” rights after the Thai surrogates forfeited their rights, according to the court, which did not name him.

“For the happiness and opportunities which the 13 children will receive from their biological father, who does not have a history of bad behaviour, the court rules that all 13 born from surrogacy to be legal children of the plaintiff,” Bangkok’s Central Juvenile Court said in a statement.