An Australian couple who paid a Thai surrogate to carry their twin babies left one near Bangkok after finding out the boy had Down's Syndrome and a congenital heart condition. The couple returned to Australia with a healthy girl.
Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, was paid roughly $14,900 to carry the twins who were born in December, and has been caring for the boy since. The abandoned baby is named Gammy, and so far a crowdfunding effort entitled Hope for Gammy has raised over $160K to help pay for his medical expenses.
Pattaramon, who resides in the Chonburi province, southeast of Bangkok, commented, "The money that was offered was a lot for me. In my mind, with that money, one, we can educate my children, two, we can repay our debt."
Pattaramon added, "I don't know what to do. I chose to have him. I love him, he was in my tummy for nine months."
The actions of the Australian couple who abandoned their their son sparked outrage and shed light upon the seedier aspects of Thai medical tourism.
Surely Gammy's Australian parents can be tracked down and prosecuted? Sued for the cost of medical care? #abandonedbaby
— Kerri Sackville (@KerriSackville) August 1, 2014
And I wonder how Gammy's sister will feel if she ever discovers her parents consciously abandoned her twin brother.
— Clementine Ford (@clementine_ford) August 1, 2014
A baby is a baby. It should be cared for no matter what. Its called basic humanity. #Gammy
— Alastair (@alastairmagic) August 2, 2014
— Tracy Vo (@Tracy_Vo) August 2, 2014
Paying for surrogacy in Thailand is illegal, according to Tares Krassanairawiwong, a Thai public health ministry official. "Surrogacy can be done in Thailand but it has to comply with the laws. A surrogate has to be related to the intended parents and no money can be involved," Krassanairawiwong said.
Pattaramon never actually met Gammy's biological parents, and their identities remain anonymous. The young mother told Thai newspaper Thairath, "They (the surrogacy agency) told me to carry a baby for a family that does not have children. They said it would be a baby in a tube."
“I don’t wish him to be the smart boy or intelligent person. I just want to see him as a good man,” Pattaramon said.
Many couples visit Thailand to use its in-vitro fertilization (IVF) services regardless of a vague legal situation surrounding surrogacy.
Image via Hope for Gammy