A Japanese man has received over £225,000 compensation, after it emerged that he was born to wealthy parents, but was switched at birth and brought up in poverty. The mistake was uncovered when the wealthy family realised that the man they had brought up bore no resemblance to the rest of the family, and took DNA tests.
Both men were 60 by the time they discovered they had lived the wrong lives.
The men's identities remain anonymous, but according to The Telegraph, the baby brought home by the wealthy family had a personal tutor, went to university, and runs a real estate company.
The other man was brought home by a poor family. Japan Today reported that his non-biological father died when he was only two, and his mother was left with a family to support. He studied at night school while working in a factory during the day, and eventually found work as a truck driver. He never married.
The Asaji Shimbun newspaper said that details of the switch emerged when the three brothers of the man brought up by the wealthy family wondered why he didn't look like anyone else in the family. DNA tests proved that it was because he wasn't related to them. Further investigations revealed that the two boys had been switched when they were taken away after the births to be washed and dressed.
Switched at birthIt's a shocking case, and although you might think that this sort of thing couldn't happen now, you'd be wrong.
In 1995 two baby girls (Callie and Rebecca) were born in Charlottesville, Virginia, and were switched at birth. In 1998, the man who had brought Rebecca home split up with his wife, and refused to pay child maintenance for Rebecca because he claimed the child was not his. DNA tests proved that he wasn't - and that his ex-partner wasn't the mother either. The families went through a long custody battle, before both girls stayed with the families that first took them home.
Tragically, the couple who had brought Callie home had died in a car crash, so the girl lived with the woman she knew as her aunt. In an unexpected twist, when Callie's biological father was visiting her, he fell in love with her 'aunt 'and the two were married - Callie now lives with her biological father and her 'aunt'.
In 1999 two baby girls were switched at birth in Russia. Again the problem came to light when one of the fathers left and refused to pay maintenance on the grounds that the child was not his. Again DNA tests proved that the child was living with neither of her biological parents. Both children stayed with the family who brought them home but still see their biological parents. They sued the hospital for the mix-up.
Even more recently, in October this year two baby girls were accidentally switched at a hospital in Argentina. The mothers quickly realised there was a problem (as one of the babies was much heavier than the other), but the hospital dismissed the mothers' concerns. It was three weeks before the babies were reunited with their mothers.