Australian authorities said Thursday they had finally contacted the father of the twin baby Gammy who he and his wanted a surrogate to abort because he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
The story is sending shockwaves throughout the pro-life community as it highlights the problems associated with abortion, surrogacy and the targeting of babies with Down Syndrome, 90% of whom die in abortions, according to some reports.
Meanwhile, the surrogacy agent in the case has spoken out about what happened.
David and Wendy Farnell had not been seen since it emerged they abandoned Gammy in Thailand and returned to Australia with his healthy twin sister. Child protection officials had been trying to touch base with the man and his wife since Tuesday but visits to their home in Bunbury, south of Perth, went unanswered. An investigation was launched this week into the safety and welfare of the twin sister but authorities were unable to find the family.
Now, according to a Bangkok Post article, he’s been found.
But Western Australia Child Protection Minister Helen Morton said her department had now made phone contact with the biological parents.
“This family needs the opportunity to have the considerations around the safety and well-being of that child undertaken in a really private, comfortable environment for them,” she told Fairfax Radio.
Morton gave no details about the nature of the discussion or the welfare of the baby girl and said no further comment would be made while an investigation was underway.
Meanwhile, the Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, says she is shocked to hear that David Farnell had been convicted previously on child sexual abuse charges. David and Wendy Farnell were married in 2004 in Jianjiang and they met through a matchmaking agency after Farnell’s first marriage ended. He was jailed in late 1990s for sexually molesting two girls under age of 10 and, in 1998, he was charged with six counts of indecently dealing with a child under the age of 13 and was convicted and sentenced again.
But one of Farnell”s adult sons says he is a changed man who is much different from when he was a sexual predator.
“I can tell you how good of a father my dad was towards us. He’s amazing. He’s brought the best out of all of us kids,” the son, who did not want to be named, told Fairfax Media.
“He’s just got a massive heart. He’s made mistakes, we’ve accepted it… He’s made up for them.
“For everything to be brought back up is pretty heartbreaking to be honest.”
New reports also indicate Chanbua herself worked as a booking agent for a surrogacy agency. She has been praised for her decision to keep now seven-month-old Gammy, after she claimed the Down syndrome infant boy had been abandoned by his Australian biological parents.
But, police are already investigating her role as birth mother in the scandal and Thai Health Ministry general secretary Samphan Komrit said yesterday: “If it is found she is involved (as an agent) that will be investigated.”
Questions about Ms Pattaramon’s recent past were raised this week by a Thai newspaper, which reported what it claimed were postings on her Facebook page on May 16 and April 25, several months after Gammy’s birth.
The first message appears to call for sperm or egg donors, specifying age, height, weight, and blood type and offering between 20,000 baht and 50,000 baht cash ($670-$1670) for the genetic material, according to Kom Chad Luek newspaper. There was a conversation on the page apparently between Ms Pattaramon and a potential donor. The second Facebook message said: “We are looking for many surrogate mothers, in and out of Bangkok. If you are interested, please leave your message.”
The message asked for details of potential mothers’ names, blood type, nationality, date of birth, height, weight and other physical details, as well as education and hobbies. One reply was from a 17-year-old, who was asked to give details to be forwarded to a “client”, Kom Chad Luek reported.
Those two messages, if they were genuine, have since been deleted from Ms Pattaramon’s Facebook page.
However, The Australian has found on Facebook what appears to be a page section under construction by her husband, Uan Janbua, under the pseudonym (in Thai) Bat Cave Thamen Team.
Both Ms Pattaramon’s page and Bat Cave have photos of the couple and their marriage certificate.
The husband’s page has a collage of photographs of pregnant Western women and a message: “Surrogate mother, a job with attractive pay.”