BEIJING – The baby boy who has gripped the world’s attention left the hospital today after his mother give birth to him over a toilet and police found him in a sewer pipe, officials in eastern China say.
The infant, not yet a week old, has been known only as “Baby No. 59.”
The hospital discharged Baby 59 today, but there are conflicting reports about whether he was released into the care of his mother and the man claiming to be the father, or his maternal grandparents.
Local police say the mother is still recovering and they do not know the identity of the father, according to Chinanews.com.
The Associated Press reported that the man in question has requested a paternity test. The man said if the results confirm him as the father, he will discuss plans to support the child with the mother, according to an official at the Pujiang county propaganda office in Zhejiang province who was interviewed by the AP.
There has been sharp criticism of both mother and father online. Xiaodan wrote on Weibo, China’s Twitter, “With these kinds of parents, will little #59 be happy growing up? It breaks my heart just to think about those parents raising him.”
Wuming wrote, “Those people are like animals. I don’t believe this happened because of innocence or lack of experience. There are so many young mothers out there, and they didn’t flush their babies down a toilet drain pipe ‘accidentally.’”
Local authorities have said they accept the story that the 22-year-old, unwed woman unintentionally gave birth to her son Saturday in the squat toilet of a public restroom. The newborn, who doctors say weighed at 6 pounds-2.8 ounces, slipped into the sewage piping.
He was trapped for more than two hours. The young woman called for help, telling police she heard cries coming from within the pipes. Police say she was too afraid to tell them she was the mother.
Officials have said she will not be charged with any crime. Graphic video footage showed the rescue effort on national television. Unable to free the baby, rescuers sawed off an entire section of piping and took it to a local hospital. There, piece by piece, using pliers, they removed the piping only to reveal the newborn infant.
His arms were folded and hands tucked tightly under his chin as if still in the fetal position. The placenta was attached. Aside from a few abrasions, he was OK.
The dramatic story has raised the issue of sex education in China. Pre-marital and unwanted pregnancies are on the rise. Critics argue that traditional lesson plans on birth control are practically irrelevant in today’s society.
ABC News’ Kaijing Xiao contributed to this story.