August 12, 2014 01:00 By The Nation, Agencies 5,773 Viewed
Couple blamed Thai clinic for twin with Down's syndrome; claim they wanted to abort the 'ill' boy
The Australian parents at the centre of the surrogacy scandal asked for a refund from the Thai surrogacy agency involved when they learned that baby Gammy would be born with Down’s syndrome, they revealed in a television interview.
The father, David Farnell, also admitted that had they known about the disability earlier they would have insisted the infant’s Thai surrogate, Pattaramon Chanbua, abort the foetus, as no “parent wants a son with a disability”.
The couple told Australia’s “60 Minutes” programme in an interview aired on Sunday night that they were angry to discover that the baby boy, one of their twins, had Down’s syndrome so late into Pattaramon’s pregnancy.
“I said: ‘Give us back our money. This is your fault’,” Farnell said in the interview, referring to the Bangkok-based agency.
“We were very confused and we said that this is your fault. You must now take some responsibility for this,” he said.
“It was late into the pregnancy that we learned the boy had Down’s,” Farnell told “60 Minutes” reporter Tara Brown. “They sent us the reports but they didn’t do the checks early enough.
“If it would have been safe for that embryo to be terminated, we probably would have terminated it, because he has a handicap and this is a sad thing. And it would be difficult – not impossible, but difficult.”
It was the couple’s first media interview since it was revealed they had left their son in Thailand and took his healthy sister, Pipah, home alone.
Farnell and his wife Wendy denied abandoning Gammy or ordering Pattaramon to abort him because of his disability.
However, Pattaramon insisted the couple abandoned Gammy after earlier asking her to have an abortion, which she refused because it was against her Buddhist beliefs and Thai law.
Farnell said: “We didn’t leave him behind. We wanted to bring him with us, but things were happening that we couldn’t. The surrogate mother wanted to take our girl, and we were getting scared that we were going to lose her. We had to try and get out as fast as we could.”
Pattaramon had said earlier that the couple ignored Gammy when they came to the hospital and were happy for her to keep him.
Farnell, who has a history of sexual offences against young girls, said during the interview that Gammy’s twin sister would be safe in his care. He said he no longer had sexual urges towards young girls after undergoing counselling in prison.
“I don’t have this urge to do anything anymore,” he said. “She will be 100 per cent safe. I will do everything in the world to protect my little girl.”
Meanwhile, Australian couples have continued to leave Thailand with their babies born to surrogate mothers even after the Gammy saga, the Sydney-based website News.com.au reported yesterday.
“People are leaving Bangkok at the moment and going home with babies,” Gaurav Wankhede, who has facilitated surrogacies for seven Australian couples, was quoted as saying.
“People who completed the cycle by August will have their deliveries in the next nine or 10 months, give or take, so I think realistically it should be a 12-to-14-month window for sure.”