Thai surrogate misled the world - Aussie couple

Perth - An Australian couple accused of abandoning their Down's syndrome baby born to a Thai surrogate mother on Tuesday said she has misled the world over what happened, according to a friend of the family.

The couple, who cannot be named, have come under heavy criticism for apparently rejecting the boy, Gammy, at birth and taking only his healthy twin sister back to their home in Bunbury, south of Perth, from Thailand.

The surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, has insisted she will raise the seven-month-old child after saying the biological parents at first requested an abortion and then walked away when they learned of his condition.

But the Australian couple said in a statement, issued through the friend to their local newspaper the Bunbury Mail, the allegations were false and they did not know he had Down's syndrome, although they were aware he had a congenital heart condition.

"Gammy was very sick when he was born and the biological parents were told he would not survive and he had a day, at best, to live and to say goodbye," the friend, a woman, told the newspaper, without saying who told them this.

The birth of the twins was supposed to take place at a major international hospital in Thailand but Pattharamon went to another facility, which made the surrogacy agreement void, according to the newspaper.

This meant that the couple had no legal rights to the babies although the surrogate mother finally agreed to hand over the girl, the report said.

"The biological parents were heartbroken that they couldn't take their boy with them and never wanted to give him up, but to stay would risk them losing their daughter also," the friend said.

She added that allegations that the couple "ignored" Gammy when they visited the hospital were untrue and they had bought gifts for both infants.

"They prayed for Gammy to survive but were told by doctors that he was too sick, not because of the Down's syndrome but because of his heart and lung conditions and infection."

The friend added that the couple spent two months in Thailand but due to military unrest at the time felt they had no option but to leave without Gammy.

"This has been absolutely devastating for them, they are on the edge," she said.

'I have never lied'

The case has sparked fevered debate on the moral and legal grounding of international surrogacy.

Commercial surrogacy, in which a woman is paid to carry a child, is not permitted in Australia but couples are able to use an altruistic surrogate who receives no payment beyond medical and other reasonable expenses.

To avoid those curbs, Surrogacy Australia said couples are increasingly choosing to find women willing to carry their baby overseas, with several hundred each year travelling to India, Thailand and the United States.

While the full picture of exactly what happened remains unclear, Pattaramon insisted to AFP on Tuesday she had been transparent.

"I have never lied or hidden anything. The truth is the truth, it's up to society to make their own judgement," she said.

Pattaramon has said she agreed to carry another Thai donor's egg fertilised by the Australian man, reportedly aged 56, in exchange for around $14 900.

An agency, which she refuses to name for legal reasons, acted as the go-between.

She says the agency told her the parents wanted her to have an abortion once medical tests revealed the boy had Down's syndrome, but she refused.

Abortion is illegal in Thailand - except in very specific cases including rape and to protect the mother's health - and it also runs counter to beliefs in the overwhelmingly Buddhist kingdom.

Thai health authorities say it is also illegal to pay for surrogacy and someone who agrees to carry a baby must be related to the intended parents.

Read more on: australia thailand
Aseza Ngozi 2014-08-05 12:04:48 PM
Really now? How does this couple try to brand a poor woman who did what she could to get a better life for her family by helping them get children of their own. This couple is sick no wonder they wanted a serrogate they want the good stuff not the bad first they want abortion when that backfires they take the healthy baby whe exposed they say no we were told the baby would die, and how convinient how does the poor lady keep the burden child and give them the normal one. Really now and if you wanted your baby y would you make a statement through a friend not yourself to make sure you have your baby back.
Moi 2014-08-05 12:16:51 PM
Hmmm...looks like it's all about the money.
SunshinyDay 2014-08-05 12:37:54 PM
But now what are they planning on doing about it, if it's the truth? The child is clearly still alive, are they going to have the baby sent to them to be raised with his sibling? They were told the child had a day at best to live, but they spent two months there with him. Why didn't they just bring him home then?
Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg 2014-08-05 01:15:52 PM
It took them long enough to come up with some story and this is the best they can do?. They deserted a baby that needs help and that is that.
OzzyInSA 2014-08-05 01:23:55 PM
As I always knew, there are 2 sides to this story. The couple have to remain silent for legal reasons. The is court action going on for them to get Gammy which they always wanted to do. The couple never knew he had Downs Syndrome only the congenital heart and lung problems. Even when they left Thailand, Gammy was to sick to accompany them. The fact that the surrogate chose to have the twins in another hospital shows she is up to something. Now she is being a surrogate again!!! When the facts come out about this, some people will have to eat some crow on the way they have labelled and treated the couple.
Mary Couster 2014-08-05 01:25:45 PM
And now it's come to light that the husband is a convicted child sex offender! Strange people...
Nin Ja Kitty 2014-08-05 02:37:15 PM
There will be a movie about this no doubt. But all the same hope that Gammy survives and has a lest a quality of life.