Australian Parents in Surrogacy Scandal Feared Losing Gammy, Sister

The Australian biological parents of twins caught up in a surrogacy scandal in Thailand wanted both babies but the surrogate mother threatened to involve the police and they feared she would keep both children, they said on Sunday. David and Wendy Farnell were speaking publicly for the first time since the story broke more than a week ago of 7-month-old baby Gammy, who has Down's syndrome and is being cared for by his surrogate mother in Thailand.

The couple told Australian television they felt they had little choice but to leave Thailand with Gammy's healthy sister. "We wanted to bring him with us," David Farnell, 56, told the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes program. They returned to Australia with Gammy’s sister Pipah as the surrogate mother Pattaramon Janbua had told them “if we try to take our little boy, she’s going to get the police and she’s going to come and take our little girl… and she’s going to keep both of the babies,” he said.

The couple have been criticized for apparently rejecting the boy, who also has a hole in his heart and is being treated for a lung infection in a Thai hospital. The case has drawn international attention to the lack of regulation of international surrogacy and sparked calls in Australia for an overhaul of laws to cut the number of couples traveling abroad for surrogates.

Image: A surrogate baby born in Thailand with Down's Syndrome and reportedly rejected by his Australian parents
A Thai surrogate mother, Pattharamon Janbua, 21, plays with her seven-month-old Down's Syndrome baby, Gammy or Naruebet Mincharoen at a hospital in Chonburi province, Thailand, on August 4. The Australian father of a baby with Down's syndrome born to a surrogate in Thailand has denied abandoning the child while taking home his healthy twin sister. Gammy is one of twins born to Thai woman Pattharamon Janbua who said she was paid by the unidentified Australian couple to deliver an in vitro fertilized baby. The case sparked a public outcry and put a spotlight on transnational commercial surrogacy laws in Thailand and Australia. RUNGROJ YONGRIT / EPA



- Reuters