Jane Farnell (left) with her father David and his wife Wendy. Photo: via Bunbury Mail
The daughter of the man at the centre of the baby Gammy surrogacy saga is standing by her dad, saying David Farnell will be a wonderful father to baby Pipah.
Bunbury woman Jane Farnell considers herself “one of the luckiest people in the world” to have grown up with a loving father.
Her new sister is a delightful and happy baby girl who is lucky to have such caring parents, she said.
Baby Gammy with his surrogate mother Pattharamon Janbua. Photo: Getty Images
In an exclusive interview with the Bunbury Mail, Ms Farnell defended her father in the wake of an unfavourable and uncomfortable television interview on Sunday which drew intense criticism from across Australia.
The interview, aired on 60 Minutes, introduced the Farnells at the most hated couple in Australia.
But Ms Farnell, who is set to be a mother herself for the first time, said David and Wendy deserved to raise a family together.
She said the Bunbury couple had been trying to become parents for almost the entire length of their 10-year marriage.
“Wendy was born to be a mother,” said Ms Farnell.
The couple were ecstatic when they found out surrogate mother Pattharamon Janbua was pregnant with twins, but joy turned to terror when they travelled to Thailand and found out they had no legal rights to their children.
The couple claims that Ms Pattharamon was not willing to release both children and they were forced to bring healthy daughter Pipah back to Australia in an effort to “make sure she was safe”.
Ms Farnell described the couple as “broken” when they returned home.
“I don’t know who to blame because you don’t know what the surrogate mother was told, I would hate to place blame without knowing everything,” she said.
“They had been through every avenue to try to get pregnant and lost so much money – anybody that has gone down that road would know, no matter how your child had been born or what disability they were born with, you wouldn’t be able to leave it behind on purpose.”
In a revelation, Ms Farnell said she took the blame for the confusion over what had happened to baby Gammy when the story first broke.
Stories circulated that the Farnells believed Gammy had died. However Ms Farnell says that was never the case.
“My parents never said Gammy had died, that came from me,” she said.
“The only reason I told my friends that he had died was that it was easier than dragging them into all the confusion.
“I thought it would be easier to say he had passed away and then have to explain it later on if he came home.”
Ms Farnell said the family was desperately trying to reunite baby Gammy with his little sister in Bunbury.
“From here it’s still going to be a long and hard process but the end goal has always been to get my brother back,” she said.
Ms Farnell said her father’s convictions over child sex offences in the early 1990s had devastated her family, along with his victims.
“My dad did a really terrible thing a long time ago.
“But I believe in the system – they wouldn’t have let him out or let him see me again if they thought he was a risk,” Ms Farnell said.
“His past has absolutely nothing to do with this.”
Ms Farnell, who was 14 years old when her dad was released from jail, said he decided to stay in Bunbury for the sake of his three children.
“One day he told us that he was going to leave but we asked him not to, we didn’t want to just see him on holidays, we wanted to see him all the time so he stayed and faced it,” she said.
“He made a sacrifice for us and I respect him for that.”
Ms Farnell says she considers both twins her siblings and she described baby Pipah as “the happiest little girl” who only cries when she is teething.
Several family friends contacted the Bunbury Mail to throw their support behind David and Wendy.
One long-time friend said his wife was from Thailand and they had agreed that they also would have left the country to return to Australia because arguing with authorities could have landed the Farnells in prison.
Another friend said she had watched the couple's struggles to have a child of their own and had driven Wendy to many Perth fertility clinics.
"They will have a hard road ahead of them but we will be there to support once the media and the world has forgotten about it," she said.
- Bunbury Mail