Baby with Down’s syndrome abandoned in Thailand

A Thai surrogate mother has received about $100,000 in donations to care for her baby after his Australian parents refused to take him when they found out he has Down’s syndrome. More than 1,600 people have given money to a website set up to help the six-month-old baby, who was born with a congenital heart condition. His impoverished surrogate mother, Pattharamon Janbua, 21, says she was offered around $15,000 by a surrogacy agency to have a baby for an anonymous couple in Australia.

In my mind, with that money, one, we can educate my children, two, we can repay our debt.

A Thai surrogate mother Pattharamon Janbua

Pattharamon gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. But when the Australians discovered the boy, named Gammy by his surrogate family, had Down’s syndrome they abandoned him in Thailand and returned to Australia with only the girl. Many foreign couples travel to Thailand, a popular medical tourism hub, to use its in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) services despite the unclear legal situation surrounding surrogacy. A spokesman for Australia’s foreign affairs department said Canberra was “concerned” and was in consultation with Thai authorities over surrogacy issues.

Surrogacy can be done in Thailand but it has to comply with the laws … A surrogate has to be related to the intended parents and no money can be involved.

Thai public health ministry official Tares Krassanairawiwong