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Surrogate Downs baby: Gammy receives world attention after abandonment

A Thai surrogate has taken in the Downs baby she carried when the family intending to adopt the infant decided they did not want to take him home after all. The Australian family took home his healthy twin sister instead. Pattaramon Janbua gave birth to Gammy and his twin sister over six months ago, but his story is now making international headlines. There is more to this story than what is known at first glance. The Washington Post reported on this story on August 4.

Baby Gammy's story might change surrogacy in Thailand and Australia.
Photo by Mesa Top News Examiner: Video screen cap

Gammy has Down's syndrome, and his surrogate mother was aware of this condition before she gave birth to the twins. However, the agency behind the surrogacy arrangement did not tell Janbua about the diagnosis immediately. The agency knew one of the twins was not completely healthy before her fifth month of pregnancy. However, they told her of the condition at her seventh month. At that time, the agency asked her to abort the male infant. She refused to abort him though. Instead, she revealed that she asked them if 'they were human' instead.

This case is receiving attention around the world now, and it might change how surrogacy is handled in both Australia and Thailand. The Australian government is looking into the matter, and it is possible that baby Gammy may be entitled to Australian citizenship. The infant was born with a hole in his heart, and he is in need of treatment. If the infant were an Australian citizen, he would receive free medical care. Scott Morrison, the Australian Immigration Minister, said the following about the case to a Sydney radio station on Monday:

"We are taking a close look at what can be done here, but I wouldn’t want to raise any false hopes or expectations. We are dealing with something that has happened in another country’s jurisdiction."

There is another twist to this tragic story. The Australian parents involved in this case have now revealed to the press that they were never told about Gammy. Doctors told the family only about the infant girl. The father in this case admitted to having trouble with the surrogacy agency, and he was told that agency had been closed. Janbua said in recent interviews that the family involved knew of the Down's twin early on in her pregnancy, and the parents requested termination. That request came through the agency involved. It is also illegal for a family to pay for a surrogate in Australia.

Janbua is not angry with the Australian parents involved in her surrogacy. However, the agency never paid her fully for carrying the twins. The agency involved promised a payment of approximately $16,000. She received only part of that amount. Janbua lives outside of Bangkok with her two children and baby Gammy. She cannot afford his medical care. Since the release of Gammy's story to the press, donations started to come in though. A GoFundMe account raised over $200,000 so far. Janbua said the following in an interview over the weekend:

"Because of the poverty and debts, the money that was offered was a lot for me. In my mind, with that money we can educate our children and repay our debt. I felt sorry for the boy. It was like this is the adults' fault and who is he to have to endure something like this even though it's not his fault? Why does he have to be abandoned while the other baby has it easy?"

Janbua does not hate the Australian family though. She forgave them for leaving Gammy behind, and she just hopes that they are caring for the baby girl as she is caring for baby Gammy. The infant boy will remain with Janbua in Thailand. Baby Gammy has a long and difficult road ahead of him. He is lucky though. Janbua took him in without a second though. He just needs medical care. Those details need to be worked out.

What do you think of baby Gammy's story? Did the Australian family know about Gammy? On the other hand, did the agency not tell the family about the twin boy? There is more to this story, but the only people that know the full truth are Janbua and the unidentified parents in Australia.