Thai surrogate mum wants healthy twin back amid reports biological father is convicted paedophile
Woman says she was shocked by reports biological father is a convicted paedophile
Associated Press in Sri Racha
A Thai surrogate mother left with a Down's syndrome baby who was abandoned by his Australian parents said yesterday that she would be happy to have the baby's healthy twin returned, after reports the biological father is a convicted paedophile.
Pattaramon Chanbua, a 21-year-old food vendor who has two young children of her own, has been bringing up baby boy Gammy as her own since he was born in December.
She said the Australian biological father rejected Gammy, while taking his healthy twin sister home to Western Australia.
Video: 'I will never abandon' Down's baby, says Thai surrogate mother
Australia's Nine Network television reported yesterday that the father was a convicted paedophile. A police officer said, on condition of anonymity, that the father was a convicted sex offender.
The case has caused intense public interest in Thailand and Australia.
At a press conference in her hometown, Pattaramon said that while she had previously said she was happy to have the twin girl stay with the Australian parents, the reports about the father's past have raised doubts in her mind.
"Personally, when I heard the news I was shocked but I can't say anything much right now," she said, adding that she would "leave it to the law" to see if she can get the girl back.
The process appeared to have been carried out legally under contract in Thailand and Western Australia, though other states in Australia do not allow it.
Surrogacy involves a woman carrying the implanted embryo, or fertilised egg, of another woman in her womb in order to give birth. Legal doctrine on the rights of all parties involved is inconsistent and still evolving, especially involving different nationalities.
The case has caused a stir because the couple, from Bunbury, south of Perth, abdicated their responsibility by not taking home both children. They have not spoken publicly about the case.
However, a statement issued through a friend to their local newspaper said the allegations against the couple were false and they did not know Gammy had Down's syndrome, although they were aware he had a congenital heart condition.
"Gammy was very sick when he was born and the biological parents were told he would not survive and he had a day, at best, to live and to say goodbye," the friend, a woman, said.
The birth of the twins was supposed to take place at an international hospital in Thailand but Pattaramon went to another facility, which made the surrogacy agreement void, according to the newspaper.
This meant that the couple had no legal rights to the babies although the surrogate mother finally agreed to hand over the girl, the report said.
"The biological parents were heartbroken that they couldn't take their boy with them and never wanted to give him up, but to stay would risk them losing their daughter also," the friend said.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse