Surrogacy Australia says it is shocked and outraged that an Australian couple abandoned a baby in Thailand with his surrogate mother after he was found to have Down syndrome and a life-threatening heart condition.
Impoverished mother Pattaramon Chanbua has told the ABC she gave birth to twins after agreeing to be a surrogate with a promised payment of about $16,000.
The Western Australian parents abandoned six-month-old Gammy and only took his healthy sister home with them, and Ms Chanbua says she cannot afford Gammy’s medical treatment.
The Department of Foreign Affairs says its concerned by the reports and is consulting with Thai authorities.
In Australia, people from New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT are prohibited from entering a commercial surrogacy agreement overseas.
Rachel Kunde, the executive director of Surrogacy Australia, says she is worried about a knee-jerk reaction to the case could lead to an outright ban.
“We’re hoping that this is actually a positive step towards better regulation,” she said.
“Of course we don’t think it should be banned but we do think there should be more regulation and that surrogacy should be more accessible in Australia, because this is why people are going overseas because surrogacy isn’t as easily done here.”
Along with Down syndrome, baby Gammy has a hole in his heart. He is now in hospital undergoing treatment.
Ms Chanbua says she cannot afford the expensive treatment the baby needs.
“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 thought it’s not his fault?” Ms Chanbua said.
“Why does he have to be abandoned while the other baby has it easy?
“I feel sorry for him. I don’t know what to do. I chose to have him, not to hurt him. I love him. He was in my tummy for nine months, it’s like my child.
“I treat him like my other children, never think you are not my child and I don’t care for you, never.”
While Gammy’s Australian parents abandoned him, the general public has not.
A campaign on online fundraising site GoFundMe has already raised nearly $100,000.
In Thailand the ruling military is cracking down on an often unregulated IVF and surrogacy industry – and for Australians already using Thai surrogates it is an anxious time.