DNA links man to 12 surrogate babies

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iol pic wld EPApix Thailand-surrogacy -scandal EPA Customers and officials are seen at a fertility clinic where they offer vitro fertilization in Bangkok, Thailand. Picture: RUNGROJ YONGRIT

Bangkok - Preliminary DNA test results confirm a match between a Japanese man and at least 12 babies he was suspected to have fathered with Thai surrogate mothers, Thai police said on Wednesday.

A lawyer for the 24-year-old, who has not been charged, submitted samples of his DNA, or genetic fingerprint, to police. The man fled Thailand this month and the lawyer has refused to reveal his whereabouts.

"Preliminary results of the DNA test show a match," assistant national police chief Korkiat Wongworachart told reporters, adding that police had summoned the man for questioning.

"I expect him to show up because it involves his children."

Thai police this month discovered nine surrogate babies with their nannies and a pregnant surrogate mother in a Bangkok apartment, dubbed the "baby factory" by the media.

Later, they said they had found more babies, all suspected of having been fathered by the same man, a Japanese national who often travelled in and out of Thailand.

Thailand has been gripped by a spate of surrogacy scandals in recent weeks, following accusations that an Australian couple had abandoned their Down Syndrome baby with his Thai birth mother, taking only his twin sister back home.

Thailand and India are popular choices for foreign couples looking for a legally simple route to parenthood.

But India last year banned commercial surrogacy for unmarried couples, gay couples and individuals, giving Thailand a competitive edge in the business.

The rent-a-womb industry is largely unregulated in the South-east Asian nation and in the wake of the recent scandals Thailand's military government has given preliminary approval for a draft law to make commercial surrogacy a crime. - Reuters



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