Thailand cracks down on surrogacy
Hundreds of Australian families travel to Thailand each year to achieve their dreams of having children. Their future is in doubt after Thailand announced changes to its surrogacy laws.PT1M52S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3cw9y 620 349 July 31, 2014
A baby boy abandoned by his Australian parents is so gravely ill in a Thai hospital his surrogate mother believes his death is imminent.
Six-month-old Gammy has been rushed to hospital with a lung infection, as Australians raised tens of thousands of dollars to get him medical care.
But his 21-year-old mother, Pattharamon Janbua, told a Thai reporter at the hospital: "I think the baby will not make it because his lung infection is too serious."
Gammy, who was abandoned in Thailand by his Australian parents, has Down's Syndrome.
Ms Pattharamon told the reporter she has no money to pay the hospital, despite Australians rushing to donate money so that Gammy, who has Down syndrome, can receive desperately needed treatment for a congenital heart condition.
The reporter from Thai Rath newspaper gave money to Ms Pattharamon so she could stay in the hospital outside of Bangkok.
Australians responded with an outpouring of generosity when Fairfax Media revealed an anonymous Australian couple took Gammy’s healthy twin sister to Australia but left Ms Pattharamon to try to save Gammy’s life.
Ms Pattaramon’s family was struggling to pay debts last year when she was offered the equivalent of $11,700 to be a surrogate mother.
Australian authorities are now investigating Gammy’s circumstances and in discussion with their Thai counterparts about surrogacy in Thailand.
There are currently around 400 surrogate pregnancies and babies involving Australian parents in Thailand, according to Surrogacy Australia.
"The alleged circumstances of the case raise broader legal and other issues relating to surrogacy in Thailand," a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.
"We hope to be in a position to provide further comment and advice to the Australian public in coming days."
An online fund-raising site, "Hope for Gammy", established more than a week ago, had received just $6000 in pledges by Thursday, but donations began flooding in on Friday after Fairfax Media revealed thge baby’s plight.
By late on Friday, more than $60,000 had been donated to Gammy’s cause.
In the comments posted to the page by donors, Gammy's Australian parents have been viciously attacked.
"What a disgrace these parents are [if you can call them parents]," one person wrote.
"Honestly who ever they are they don't deserve to be parents in abandoning [their] son just because he is sick, how dare they even be called parents, shame on them. I too hope they are found and held accountable for this," another said.
Ms Pattharamon’s family were struggling to pay off debts last year when she was offered the equivalent of $11,700 to be a surrogate mother for an Australian couple who could not conceive a baby.
Ms Pattharamon says three months after a doctor injected the Australian woman’s fertilised egg into her uterus, she discovered she was having twins.
The agent promised her an additional $1673 to have the second baby.
Four months into the pregnancy, doctors doing routine checks discovered one of the babies had Down syndrome. They told the Australian parents, who said they did not want to take the boy, according to a source familiar with the case.
“They told me to have an abortion but I didn’t agree because I am afraid of sin,” Ms Pattharamon says, referring to her Buddhist beliefs.
When the babies were born the agent took the healthy girl and left the boy with her.
Ms Pattharamon never saw the Australian couple.
Under the threat of not being paid, she lied to an official of the Australian embassy in Bangkok about the circumstances of the births, which allowed the Australians to take the healthy baby.
“But the agent never paid the rest of the 70,000 baht ($2341) owed to me,” she says.