A baby born with Down syndrome, who was abandoned by his Australian biological father and left with his gestational surrogate in Thailand, was only one of the few cases an expert told the parliamentary inquiry about. It was also one of the widely publicized cases of surrogate children being deserted by their biological parents due to defects.
The baby being discussed is baby Gammy, whose high-profile case urged the Thailand government to stop surrogacy in 2014. And now, an Australian parliamentary committee has initiated a review of Australia's laws which prohibit commercial traditional or gestational surrogacy.
21-year old food vendor, Pattaramon Chanbua, who also has two kids of her own, was chosen by David and Wendy Farnell to be their gestational carrier. In December of 2013, she gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, however, the couple only brought the healthy baby girl named Pipah back to Australia. Chanbua, who was only supposed to serve as a surrogate mother, was left to tend to the baby boy born with Down Syndrome and accused the Farnells of abandoning their baby because of his defect.
However, the Farnells contradicted the young woman's claims of abandonment and said that Chanbua was the one who demanded to keep Gammy. According to Yahoo, an expert on surrogacy and head of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Chief Judge John Pascoe, informed the committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, of Gammy not being a stand-alone case.
He said that they "believe that baby Gammy was certainly not an isolated incidence" and later revealed to The Associated Press that there is anecdotal evidence which proves how parents would often refuse to accept infants born with complications, "defects and problems." Gammy is still being raised by his surrogate mother and resides in Sri Racha, a town located on the east side of Thailand.
Hands Across the Water, an Australian charity has raised about $180,000 for Gammy and Chanbua. Peter Baines, the charity founder also described the baby boy as "happy, healthy and very much loved" and shared that he now has dual citizenship.
Another case involving a baby left in India was also presented by Pascoe. In this case, although the gestational carrier gave birth to healthy twins, their biological parents only chose to bring the baby girl since they already have a son. The Embassy of Australia in India informed the parents that the baby boy may be left stateless because India did not acknowledge surrogate children as citizens.
Now that Thailand and India have put a stop to commercial surrogacy, parents or soon-to-be parents went looking for gestational surrogates in Nepal, and after the country banned commercial surrogacy, Cambodia. Pascoe will be Australia's representative at The Hague to negotiate an international convention on surrogacy.
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