(CNN/Seven Network) — An Australian couple accused of abandoning a special needs baby in Thailand has denied the claim from the surrogate mother.
But the case has moved the Thai government to prevent some babies born through surrogacy from leaving the country for now.
Oblivious to the cruel and unthinkable circumstances that brought him to this hospital in Thailand’s capital, baby Gammy smiles at the loving faces around him.
Six months ago, his surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua gave birth to him and his twin sister. But when their biological parents arrived from Australia, Chanbua says they only took home the healthy baby girl, abandoning Gammy who has Down Syndrome and a congenital heart condition.
“I feel so sorry for him”, cries the 21-year old surrogate mother. “This is not his fault. He’s innocent. Why does he have to suffer like this?”
The Australian father (yet to be identified) told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the Thai surrogacy agency who charged $16,000 never told him about Gammy’s existence, but Chanbua says that is a lie.
She claims to have met the couple three times after the birth, and before that, when she was seven months pregnant, says they asked her to abort him after doctors discovered one of the twins had Down Syndrome.
“This is my baby. He’s grown in my tummy. I couldn’t abort him. It would be a sin.”
When Gammy’s heartbreaking story captured headlines around the world, there was an outpouring of love and support from the Australian public.
An online fundraising campaign was set up to provide money for Gammy’s medical condition. So far, it has raised more than $200,000 and the donations keep coming.
“I feel so happy and I have to thank everyone,” Chanbua said. “They help Gammy while his own parents never even offered.”
The parents’ version of the story has not been confirmed independently, but Gammy’s plight highlights the pitfalls of a multi-million dollar industry, often unregulated, in a country like Thailand that’s become popular for surrogacy services.
“What we’re concerned about is that it gives surrogacy a bad name,” said Sam Everingham of Families Through Surrogacy, “and we don’t want that to happen, because this is an isolated case. We see many hundreds of parents … who are loving, who will take whatever comes their way when it comes to children.”
For Chanbua, an impoverished mother of two who’s been left with such an enormous burden, she has only love for her baby.
Many operations lie ahead for this little boy, but one thing’s for sure, many well-wishers want to make sure he will never be abandoned again.