It’s the surrogacy case that shocked the world. A sick Down’s syndrome baby, Gammy, was supposedly rejected by his Australian parents and left with his Thai surrogate mother. The Australians reportedly went home with his healthy twin sister.
Through the power of social media and the internet, people have donated money from all around the world, to help Gammy receive the medical care he needs. The fund currently stands at around $220,000 (about £130,000).
However, the story is, not surprisingly, likely to be much more complicated. More details have emerged today, apparently from the parents who live in Western Australia. While they’ve confirmed they have a healthy girl born around 7 months ago via a Thai surrogate, they deny that they knew of brother Gammy’s existence. They claim they were only told of only one baby, not twins.
The search for the truth continues, while 7-month-old Gammy is currently in hospital receiving treatment for a life-threatening lung infection. He will also need operations for a congenital heart condition.
The Thai Mum’s story
Pattharamon Chanbua – a 21-year-old food vendor in Thailand’s seaside town of Sri Racha – was promised around£5,500 by a surrogacy agency in Bangkok to be a surrogate for an Australian couple.
She says the agency knew about Gammy’s health problems 4-5 months into the pregnancy – but didn’t tell her.
It wasn’t until the 7th month of pregnancy that she was told one of her twins had Down’s syndrome. She claims that at that point a termination was suggested.
Pattharamon refused the abortion – and says she has been left to care for Gammy alone.
The Australian parents’ story
Gammy’s alleged parents claim that they were never told Pattharamon was carrying twins or that one was disabled, according to The Guardian. They described their experience with the Thai surrogacy agency as “traumatising”.
“I’ve never felt angry at them or hated them. I’m always willing to forgive them,” Pattharamon told The Associated Press. “I want to see that they love the baby girl as much as my family loves Gammy. I want her to be well taken care of.”
What happens next?
The Australian government has been closely following the case and could be looking to intervene.
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney Radio 2GB on Monday that Pattharamon “is an absolute hero” and “a saint,” adding the law surrounding the case “is very, very murky.”
“We are taking a close look at what can be done here, but I wouldn’t want to raise any false hopes or expectations,” Morrison said. “We are dealing with something that has happened in another country’s jurisdiction.”
It’s an incredibly sad story. What it has revealed is the lack of regulation around surrogacy in certain parts of the world, including Thailand. The Thai government is said to be unhappy by the way the surrogacy industry has taken off in Thailand and is now cracking down on services that it believes have grown out of control.
Let’s hope new regulations can be introduced and will prevent a similar situation happening again.