If Parents Didn’t Know About Surrogate Baby Gammy, Why Aren’t They Trying To Get Him Back?
Parents around the world were disgusted when they heard the recent story of an Australian couple who abandoned their surrogate baby in Thailand—a young twin boy born with a congenital heart defect and Down’s syndrome. In earlier reports, an Australian couple paid a 21-year-old Thai surrogate to carry and birth twins: a healthy girl and a boy named Gammy with Down’s syndrome. The couple was initially accused of taking the healthy girl home and abandoning the boy. Now, the couple claims that they never knew of Gammy and were only told of his healthy twin sister.
The plight of six-month-old Gammy, who also has a hole in his heart, has prompted calls for reform of surrogacy services in Australia. Impoverished mother Pattaramon Chanbua told the ABC she gave birth to twins after agreeing to be a surrogate for the West Australian couple with a promised payment of about $16,000. She claims the couple, who have not been identified, rejected Gammy and returned to Australia with his healthy sister.
But the baby girl’s Australian father says the clinic’s doctor only told them about the girl. He has told the ABC they had a lot of trouble with the surrogacy agency and had been told it no longer existed.
I am trying very, very hard to give this couple the benefit of the doubt, as we all know that you can’t believe everything you read. It is entirely possible that the couple had issues with the surrogacy agency, especially when trying to navigate international surrogacy and adoption. It could very well be true that this sketchy agency withheld information about the baby boy with health issues and only disclosed information about the healthy baby girl, as the Australian father claims.
However, the surrogate mother disagrees. She claims that the couple knew of Gammy’s disabilities when she was four months pregnant. She was asked by the agency, per the parents’ request, to abort him during the seventh month. Chanbua did not terminate the pregnancy because of her cultural beliefs.
Chanbua plans to raise Gammy in Thailand along with her two other children, a six-year-old and a three-year-old. Over $200,000 was raised for Gammy’s medical expenses using online crowdfunding. Chanbua says, “I felt sorry for the boy. It was like this is the adults’ fault and who is he to have to endure something like this even though it’s not his fault?”
The currently anonymous Australian couple described their surrogacy experience as “traumatizing” and spent their savings in the process. Since it is illegal to pay for surrogacy in Australia, this couple chose an international commercial surrogacy agency, which may no longer exist, according to the father. Australian politicians are calling for surrogacy education and reform in light of this issue.
While it is possible that the original parents were led astray by a less than reputable surrogacy agency, one question remains: Why aren’t they trying to get their son Gammy back?