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Thailand Surrogacy Nightmare

An Overseas Surrogacy Nightmare Takes Another Strange Twist

Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about a surrogacy gone wrong.


A surrogacy nightmare involving an Australian couple and a young Thai woman has suddenly become even more complicated — prompting authorities to probe all clinics that provide surrogacy services in Thailand.

Last week, I wrote about a story involving a couple abandoning one of their twin babies who was born with Down syndrome and severe health problems. An agent with the surrogacy clinic allegedly brought the couple's healthy twin girl back to Australia, but left their very sick son in Thailand with his impoverished surrogate mother.

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Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, of Thailand entered into the surrogacy agreement with the Australian couple — who have since come forward as David and Wendy Farnell — back in 2013. Chanbua ended up pregnant with twins, but when one of the babies was discovered to have Down syndrome, the couple allegedly instructed her (through an agent with the surrogacy clinic) to have an abortion. Citing her religious beliefs, Chanbua refused to abort the babies and went on to deliver a healthy baby girl and a very ill baby boy, who was born with a congenital heart condition and Down syndrome. A clinic agent brought the baby girl back to her biological parents, but left the baby boy, whom Chanbua named Gammy.

At least this was the story, as we heard it the first time around.

Now the Farnells are speaking out about what they say actually happened. Allegedly, they were told that Gammy's medical condition was so dire that he only had one day to live — and that his surrogate mother insisted Gammy stay in Thailand to be buried there.

"They prayed for Gammy to survive but were told by doctors that he was too sick, not because of the Down syndrome but because of his heart and lung conditions and infection," a family friend told The Bunbury Mail. "This has been absolutely devastating for them, they are on the edge."

"All this happened when Thailand was in a military lockdown and very difficult to get around," the friend 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."

Thanks in part to the success of a crowdfunding campaign, "Hope For Gammy," Gammy has been able to receive the medical treatment he so desperately needed. Now the 7-month-old boy is reported to be recovering, and his condition is no longer life-threatening.

In yet another twist to the story, David Farnell's past convictions in Australia for sexual offenses against children are now being scrutinized. Back in the mid-'90s, David Farnell reportedly pleaded guilty to the molestation of two young girls, and he later admitted to other attacks on a different girl as well. If these allegations are true, surrogate mom Chanbua said she will also demand custody of Gammy's twin sister.

Currently, there are no laws that govern surrogacy in Thailand. A law has been drafted but not submitted to parliament yet, said Vichien Chavalit, permanent secretary of Thailand's Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

I am pretty much at a loss for words about this whole situation. Whether or not you believe surrogacy is moral in the first place, you can't deny this whole process went terribly wrong. With David Farnell's past convictions, should the couple have been allowed to enter into the surrogacy agreement in the first place? Did the surrogacy agency lie to both parties? Did the surrogate mother break her contract? Who should have the children now?

So many questions left unanswered. I truly hope that out of the heartache and possible deception involved in this situation, that some sort of government regulation is implemented.

What do you think of this surrogacy nightmare?

More great reads from BabyCenter:
Is it harder to be a stay-at-home parent or a working parent?
Twenty-seven ways getting a kitty is like having a baby
Why you won't be seeing walls of baby pictures at your OB's office

Source: Flickr user love_K_photo

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