Aussie Parents: No One Told Us of Down Syndrome Baby
But surrogate mom in Thailand says that's not true
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2014 10:10 AM CDT
A photo of Gammy from his GoFundMe page.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – More details are filling in the story of an Australian couple accused of leaving behind a surrogate baby in Thailand who has Down Syndrome, though the additional details seem to be confusing the account instead of clarifying. The Aussie couple is denying the allegations, but the surrogate mom in Thailand thinks they're lying. It's also possible that the surrogate agency that functioned as a go-between wasn't relaying all the facts to both parties. This much is clear: The unidentified Australians paid Pattaramon Chanbua about $11,000 via the agency to carry their child, reports Reuters. She became pregnant with twins after the IVF procedure, and she says her doctors, the agency, and the Aussie couple learned that one of the twins was disabled at four months, but didn't inform her until late in her seventh month of pregnancy. At that point, she says the parents asked her, via the agency, to abort the disabled twin, but she refused on religious grounds. The couple adopted the healthy baby girl, but not Gammy, who also has lung and heart problems.

The Australian couple now tells ABC of Australia that they were never told about the boy, adding, "We saw a few people at the hospital. We [didn't] know who the surrogate was—it was very confusing. There was a language barrier." (It's not specified whether the husband or wife was speaking.) But Chanbua tells Fairfax Media that the couple knew about Gammy and explained to her they were too old to care for twins, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. They also paid her about $5,000 extra to keep Gammy, she says. The twins were next to each other at the hospital, and the husband came "to take care of the girl but never looked Gammy in the face or carried him," Chanbua recalls. "If they don't know about the twin then they wouldn't be crying the day that they took the girl out from the hospital [and home to Australia]," she adds to ABC. As the confusion gets sorted out, an online fundraising campaign for Gammy has raised more than $200,000, notes the Guardian. (Click to read about some US celebs who used surrogate mothers.)

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Showing 3 of 33 comments
WhateverYouSay
Aug 4, 2014 11:49 PM CDT
In most "first world" countries, tests will reveal whether or not a fetus has down syndrome quite early in the pregnancy. Seems that didn't happen like that with this situation. Surrogacy is tricky enough in one's own country, but when you deal with a foreign situation, I'd think it was even more important to have everything spelled out in a contract. For example… how to deal with twins, birth defects, if one party changes their mind, etc. If there's no contract with everything spelled out for all contingencies… you may have a legal and moral mess, as seems to be the case in this situation. I am pro-choice. That doesn't mean I favor abortion, just that I think it should be legal and is a decision for the pregnant woman to make. But who exactly is "Gammy's" mother? The surrogate or the egg donor? Who gets to decide if a pregnancy continues in a case like this? Who is responsible for caring for the child if someone backs out of the arrangement?
fhc61
Aug 4, 2014 10:58 PM CDT
When I first read about this I thought the parents were terrible, just taking the one child and abandoning the other one. But now that I am hearing more I have to wonder if this agency isn't a little suspect. Afterall, if an agency gets a reputation of providing surrogates who have babies with disabilities (i.e.Down Syndrome, etc) they may find themselves losing business). That said, it could be that none of the issues with the child were even communicated to the parents and when the babies were born they parents were only told that there was one child, or maybe even told that there were two babies but only one survived and one was stillborn. They probably didn't realize that the surrogate in Thailand would cause such a stir and it would be all over the media causing the parents in Australia to hear about it. But if that is in fact the case, the parents in Australia should go back to Thailand and get their other baby Gammy as well. And if they truly are not able to raise a baby with Down Syndrome they can always put him up for adoption in their country. I just think there is something fishy with this whole story, and i don't think the surrogate or the parents know as much as they think they do.
K.C.
Aug 4, 2014 7:56 PM CDT
This is what we get with High Technology. Why be surprised that it extended to manufacturing human beings? And of course, if one of the manufactured humans is defective, we follow the dictates of our throw-away culture, right? We throw it away, regardless as to whether or not it is human.