The Australian couple and the Thai surrogate mother of baby Gammy who has Down’s syndrome have given conflicting accounts of how he was left behind.
Pattharamon Chanbua, 21, was paid by the Australians to have their child. But they took home only one baby when she had twins, leaving behind Gammy.
The parents of baby Gammy have told local media that they only knew about his healthy twin sister.
However, the surrogate mother said the father visited the twins in the hospital.
Pattharamon Chanbua has claimed that she was asked by the couple to have an abortion once they knew about Gammy’s condition. But she refused as it was against her Buddhist beliefs.
She plans to keep Gammy and raise him as her own child. Besides Down’s syndrome, the six-month-old baby has a congenital heart condition and a lung infection.
The case has made international headlines and caused an uproar particularly in Australia, where both Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison have expressed regret over the situation.
The parents reportedly told Channel 9 that they had a daughter of Gammy’s age but she did not have a brother.
They said they had experienced trouble with the surrogacy agency, describing it as “traumatizing”.
The unnamed couple, who live south of Perth, also denied any knowledge of a son to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“We saw a few people at the hospital. We [didn’t] know who the surrogate was – it was very confusing. There was a language barrier,” they said.
They added that they had saved for a long time to pay for the surrogacy and it had “taken every cent we have”. They have been told that the agency now no longer exists, claims the father.
But Pattharamon Chanbua told Fairfax Media that the father, who is in his 50s, “came to the hospital to take care of the girl but never looked Gammy in the face or carried him”, even though the two babies stayed next to each other.
She also said she was now considering suing the parents.
Politicians have since weighed in, with Australian PM Tony Abbott calling it an “incredibly sad story”. He said the Australian government would look into the case.
It is illegal to pay for surrogacy in Australia, so couples have to find a surrogate who is happy to carry the child for no payment beyond medical and other reasonable expenses.
The difficulty in finding such surrogates has prompted some Australians to head overseas for commercial surrogacy arrangements.
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