Surrogate baby abandoned by parents
The Thai surrogate mother of a critically ill twin baby abandoned by his Australian biological parents says she is determined to bring him up in her impoverished village with her two children aged six and three.
"I'll take care of Gammy on my own. I'll not give my baby to anybody," 21 year-old Pattharamon Janbua told Fairfax Media from a hospital outside Bangkok where six-month-old Gammy is struggling for his life.
Scores of Australians appalled at the plight of Gammy, who has Down syndrome, have offered to adopt him as an Australian funding-raising campaign for his medical bills and care topped $117,000.
Gammy is gravely ill suffering from a lung infection and needs life-saving surgery for a congenital heart condition but Ms Pattharamon, who is called "Goy," does not have the money to pay the hospital.
A representative of the Australian charity Hands Across the Water was believed to be travelling to the hospital to assist her.
Pattharamon said she was "very happy" to hear about the fund raising after being unable to receive help from "many organisations" since the anonymous Australian couple took his healthy twin sister to Australia.
"I did not expect this kind of help because since the Australian couple left me with Gammy nobody wanted to help me," she said.
"I especially did not expect it from the country where people came from to hire me to be a surrogate mother.... I'll share some of the money to help other babies who have Down syndrome and orphan children."
Pattharamon rushed Gammy to hospital on Thursday night as Fairfax Media revealed how she was cheated by a Thai surrogate agent and left to try to save Gammy's life.
"I think the baby will not make it because the lung infection is very serious," she said before doctors reported Gammy's condition slightly improved.
Pattaramon said she plans to go to Thailand's Department of Special Investigations, the Thai equivalent of the FBI, on Monday to file a formal complaint as the Thai surrogacy agent who last year offered her $11,700 to be the surrogate for the Australian man and his wife.
The agent asked her to abort the pregnancy when doctors learnt one of the twins has Down syndrome.
She refused because of her Buddhist beliefs.
When the babies were born in a Bangkok hospital the agent took the girl and left her with Gammy.
Pattaramon never saw or met the Australians.
Gammy's plight has been revealed as Thai authorities crack down on surrogacy and use of IVF to decide the gender of babies, a booming business in the Thai capital which has been largely unregulated.
Hundreds of existing surrogacy arrangements Australians have in Thailand are under threat with couples facing uncertainty about the future of their babies.
Senior Thai health and legal officials have declared that any foreigner removing a child from its mother to another country permanently without permission from Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be violating the country's human trafficking laws.
A couple living in Australia who are waiting for the birth of twins through a surrogate mother in Thailand are "going through torture" after Thai authorities raided a clinic and seized documents on their case, according to prominent Australian surrogate lawyer Stephen Page.
Mr Page said the intending parents cannot contact the surrogate mother because the only way to do that is through the doctor.
"They are concerned the children are ok. They are concerned the surrogate is ok," said Mr Page.
"They are worried the surrogate or themselves could be charged with child trafficking if they try to bring the children to Australia," he said.
"At the moment the status of surrogacy contacts in Thailand is unclear."
Mr Page said he implored the Australian Government to appeal to the Thai military junta that seized power last May to allow babies to go to Australia with their parents.
"The children are not to blame for the change in policy...what will happen to them?," Mr Page said.
"Are they going to end up in a Thai orphanage of are they going to be allowed to go home?."
Sydney Morning Herald