A Singaporean couple travelled to India to perform in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) as they couldn’t conceive.
When a surrogate mother became pregnant with twin boys, the 45-year-old Singaporean man sought to bring the boys back to Singapore in 2014. A DNA test conducted in 2015 showed that he was not the biological father.
He obtained and used fake birth certificates for the boys in an attempt to apply for their Singapore citizenship.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his boys, pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly making a false statement in an application for Singapore citizenship for one of the boys. He stated in the application that he was the father of the boy, even though he was not.
He also admitted to one count of providing a fake Indian birth certificate for the same boy to a consular officer at the Consulate-General of Singapore in Mumbai in order to apply for a Document of Identity.
The man also pleaded guilty to one count of presenting a fake birth certificate of the second boy to the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
Six counts of a similar nature will be taken into consideration when the man is sentenced.
The offences came to light when the man’s 35-year-old wife lodged a police report against him on 10 October 2014. Her reason for doing so was not stated in court documents.
The police report stated that the man had obtained fake documents in respect of the twin boys and submitted them to the High Commission of Singapore in India in order to bring them to Singapore.
Background to the case
Sometime in September 2013, the man brought his wife to Mumbai to perform the IVF. The pair were accompanied by another couple – the man’s friend and his wife – who were also unable to conceive.
While in Mumbai, the wife’s eggs and a donor’s eggs were fertilised with the man’s sperm and deposited into the wife’s womb. However, the wife did not manage to conceive from this arrangement.
A second arrangement was carried out at the same time. According to court documents, under this arrangement, the wife’s and donor’s eggs would be fertilised by the man’s and his friend’s sperm, and deposited into the surrogate womb.
The identities of the boys’ biological parents are unclear as the documents did not state the specific egg and sperm in the fertilisation process that led to the boys’ birth.
A DNA report dated 2 September 2015 revealed that the man could not have been the father of the two boys.
The man was told that only Indian nationals would be able to take custody of the children borne of the surrogate mother. He subsequently made arrangements with his former domestic helper and her husband to take custody should the IVF be successful, and for him to adopt the child from the helper.
After the IVF procedures, the man and his wife returned to Singapore. They were later informed that the surrogate had conceived successfully and was bearing twins.
On 13 July 2014, the man was informed that the twins would have to be prematurely born on 16 July.
The man returned to Mumbai on 27 July 2014 after he was informed that the twins could be discharged. He enlisted the help of a man known as “Guru” to assist him in paperwork for the boys.
After getting payment from the man, Guru informed him that it would take two weeks to obtain birth certificates for the boys. He also told the man that he would indicate the man and his wife as the boys’ birth parents, as the domestic helper was not prepared to take over custody.
While waiting for the birth certificates to be processed, the health of one of the boys deteriorated due to a hernia at his groin. The man was told that the boy had to undergo an operation immediately for his life-threatening condition.
Two sets of birth certificates for the twins were later given to the man – one set stated that their date of birth was 16 July 2014, while the other set stated the date of birth as 9 March 2014. Both sets named the man and his wife as the boys’ parents.
In order to bring the sick boy to Singapore for surgery, the man falsely declared himself as father in a Singapore citizenship application form for the boy and emailed it to the ICA on 4 September 2014.
As a result of the deception, the boy was registered as a Singapore citizen on 5 September 2014. On the same day, the couple went to the Consulate-General of Singapore in India and provided the boy’s fake birth certificate to a consular officer.
Unaware that the document was fake, the officer issued the boy a Singapore Document of Identity, which was used in lieu of a passport. The boy entered Singapore two days later with the document.
The man made a similar application for Singapore citizenship for the other boy and submitted the boy’s fake birth certificate.
The man is expected to be sentenced on 18 March.
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