Australian parents claim they did not abandon child with Down syndrome
An Australian couple is accused of leaving their son with his surrogate mother after learning the boy had Down syndrome.
The surrogate, 21-year-old Pattaramon Chanbua, says David and Wendy Farnell, the biological parents of baby Gammy, left him behind with her in Thailand while opting to take his healthy twin sister Pipah back to Australia with them.
“We did not abandon our son,” David Farnell said in an interview with Australia’s "60 Minutes."
“[Pattaramon] said that if we tried to take our little boy, she’s going to get the police and she’s going to try and take our little girl and she’s going to keep both of the babies,” he said.
Pattaramon later backtracked on her story, saying she did threaten to keep the baby out of fear the couple would institutionalize him in Australia.
David Farnell says the couple found out before the twins’ December birth that the boy had Down syndrome and became angry that the surrogacy agency had not tested for the condition earlier in the pregnancy when the child could have been aborted, which they say they would have wanted done.
“I don’t think any parent wants a son with a disability,” Farnell told “60 Minutes,” adding, “Parents want their children to be healthy and happy.”
The baby is currently still with Pattaramon. David Farnell says he did initlally plan to fight to get him back, but then never went to officials over the matter.
Public outrage sparked last week when it became known that David Farnell was jailed in 1997 for sex offenses involving three girls under the age of 13.
A draft law banning commercial surrogacy in Thailand has been submitted to the military government, an official of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry said on Thursday.