Gammy, the baby with Down syndrome at the centre of a surrogacy dispute last month, was offered to another Australian couple as the surrogacy agency tried to work out what to do with the unwanted child, it has been claimed.
A former worker at Thailand Surrogacy also claims the Australian biological father, David Farnell, asked if it was possible for the baby to be left outside a Thai temple.
Thailand Surrogacy was founded by American Antonio Frattaroli, who runs his organisation from California.
When the story of Gammy was exposed, Mr Frattaroli went to ground, but now the ABC has revealed more claims about the dealings between him and Mr Farnell and his partner Wendy.
A former Thai colleague of Mr Frattaroli alleges that when Mr Farnell was told the twin boy had Down syndrome, he wanted the child aborted.
“He did not want the baby. He just wanted to do anything so that he would not have that baby,” she said.
The ABC has seen an email from an unknown person sent to a Thailand Surrogacy employee discussing this possibility.
The email discusses the possibility of a late-term abortion and names a doctor in Bangkok who would perform the procedure for about 20,000 Thai baht ($700).
Mr Farnell has previously denied the claim he wanted the child aborted.
Speaking from his home in California, Mr Frattaroli said that although the Farnells requested an abortion, Thailand Surrogacy refused to be involved.
‘Can you leave the abnormal one at the temple?’
The former Thai colleague also claims Mr Farnell suggested a shocking alternative for Gammy’s future.
He wanted to take the healthy twin girl back to Australia and asked if it was possible for someone to leave the baby boy outside a Thai temple.
“He said, ‘There is a normal one, can I take the normal one?’,” the former colleague said.
“‘Can you leave the abnormal one at the temple? Can you leave him in Bangkok? Nobody will know about this’, something like that.
“[Thailand Surrogacy] said they could not do that. How could he leave him like that?”
The ABC has seen an email from Mr Frattaroli which supports this version of events.
In it, Mr Frattaroli says: “They beg me to drop baby Gammy at the temple at night and run away. They told me, ‘don’t worry, Antonio, the monk will take care of the baby’.”
In response to questions from the ABC, Mr Farnell denied asking for the child to be left at a temple.
Gammy was offered to us, Australian couple says
In another alarming development, the ABC can reveal that an agent who worked with Thailand Surrogacy tried to offload Gammy to an Australian couple who were struggling to conceive.
Kim and Brendan Cross had tried IVF unsuccessfully in Australia for five years.
Ms Cross’s history of breast cancer ruled out adoption, so they sought out a surrogacy agency in Thailand.
They had been clients of Thailand Surrogacy for two years and when they failed to conceive via surrogacy, the agency asked if they wanted a Down syndrome baby – the boy now known as Gammy.
Ms Cross said she received an email from one of Thailand Surrogacy’s agents in Thailand offering them Gammy.
“We did see it as a genuine offer to have the baby,” Ms Cross said.
“[We were] mortified, could not believe that someone would go through a process like this and give birth to a beautiful baby boy, regardless of if he had Down syndrome or not – he is their flesh and blood.”
Mr Frattaroli also denies any knowledge of Gammy being offered to another Australian couple and is shocked by the suggestion.
The Cross family’s surrogacy journey ended well: they are the proud parents of four-week-old Braxton, a boy born via a Thai surrogate and egg donor.