A Thai surrogate mother has decided to keep her baby after an Australian couple abandons him because of Down’s syndrome. The young mother has declined other offers of adoption.
The adoption offers, along with donations of A$164000 (£90780) currently, were made by well-wishers after the plight of six-month-old Gammy was made public. He was abandoned by his biological parents after Pattharamon Janbua, a 21-year-old, gave birth to twins. The couple have taken Gammy’s healthy twin sister back to Australia.
The actions of the couple have sparked worldwide revulsion and it has prompted Thai authorities to clamp down on the, thus far, unregulated surrogacy industry. Commercial surrogacy is banned in Australia, which prompts hundreds of Australian couples to travel to Thailand annually to arrange surrogate births via agents and local clinics.
Ms Janbua has stated that after her experience she would not advise any Thai female to ‘get into this business’. She has told Australia’s Fairfax Media that her family was struggling financially during last year when an agent approached her and offered her the equivalent of £6477 to carry a baby for the Western Australia couple.
She found out that she was expecting twins three months later after the Australian woman’s fertilised egg was implanted into her uterus. She was offered an extra £926 for the second baby, however four months into her pregnancy, a routine test established that one of the babies had Down’s syndrome.
Once the parents were informed of this, they urged the young woman, through her agent, to have an abortion. She stated that she could not agree to this as she fears sin as stated by her Buddhist religion. Once she gave birth, the little girl baby was taken by the agent and the little boy was left with her. She did not meet with the parents at all.
The case has received attention when Gammy became seriously ill and was hospitalised with a congenital heart condition and lung infection which needs surgery. Ms Janbua has two of her own children, aged six and three, and said she was overwhelmed by the donations which have been flooding in for his medical bills and care.
Ms Janbua said she intends sharing some of the funds to aid other babies with Down’s syndrome and orphans. She explained that her decision to keep Gammy was to allow her to support him to grow up to be a good man. That is all she wants for her child, not for him to be a smart boy.
She also said that she forgives Gammy’s parents and doesn’t think about them too much. She does not feel anger towards them as they may have their own problems as well.
People expressed their horror at the couple’s actions on the fundraising site.
An Australian charity called Hands Across the Water has stepped in and was preparing to have Gammy transferred to a private Bangkok hospital. The charity will place the donated funds into a trust account.
Since commercial surrogacy has now become illegal in Thailand, there are many Australian couples who are desperate to determine if they will be able to take their babies home once the Thai surrogates give birth.
Image Credit: Marco Raaphorst