The Australian couple accused of leaving their baby boy behind in Thailand, says that the surrogate mother demanded to keep their son, Gammy, and deny abandoning him. According to the surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, the couple abandoned the baby boy and left the infant with her after finding out he had Down syndrome. Chanbua claims that they only took his twin sister Pipah back with them to Australia because she was healthy.
Gammy’s biological parents, David and Wendy Farnell, have been avoiding the press and making a statement refuting Chanbua’s accusations until now because they wanted their side of the story to be heard before being wrongfully indicted for something that was untrue. The Farnells spoke to 60 Minutes in Australia on August 10 and stated clearly that they did not abandon their son. David Farnell said, “Pattaramon said that if we tried to take our little boy, she’s going to get the police and try to take our little girl and keep both of the babies.”
Ironically, after the biological parents contested that they abandoned their son, Chanbua changed her story. Chanbua said that although she did not threaten to keep both children, she did not want the couple to take Gammy with them. She feared that the Farnells would take the little boy and put him in an institute.
According to Farnell, he and his wife were told in December that Gammy would have Down syndrome. The couple was upset that the surrogacy agency did not conduct tests earlier in the pregnancy that could have detected the condition. By the time they found out about Gammy’s health concerns, it was too late to end the pregnancy. Farnell said that if they had been notified earlier, the fetus would have been terminated.
He continued by saying, “I don’t think any parent wants a son with a disability.”
The couple then expected the agency to issue them a refund and offer a solution. At that time, Chanbua suggested that she could keep Gammy. While she was still pregnant the Farnells agreed. But after the babies were born, the parents changed their minds and wanted to keep both children. The Australian couple then said that the surrogate mother demanded to keep Gammy and threatened to keep Pipah as well. The Farnells denied abandoning their son, stating that they planned to get him back by going through the Australian authorities.
It had been six months and the Farnells had never contacted the authorities about the incident and did not call to check on the child. The couple stated it was because they were still afraid that their daughter was at risk of being returned to Chanbua.
Information also surfaced about David Farnell’s previous history as a sex offender, which caused a great deal of concern with child protection services. Farnell was convicted in the late 1990s of 22 child sex offenses, including molesting a girl who was only seven years old. He was sentenced in 1997 to three years in jail for sexually assaulting two young girls.
Farnell mentioned that he no longer has any urges to sexually harm young girls and insisted that his daughter would be safe in his care. “I will do everything in the world to protect my little girl,” he said. Farnell continued by saying that he has no longing of doing anything like that again.
Gammy is now seven months old and being treated for a congenital heart defect and a lung infection. A charitable fund has been established to pay for his care. It is currently unknown whether Pipah will remain in the Farnell’s care due to David’s past record.
The Australian couple said that the surrogate mother demanded to keep Gammy, denying that they abandoned their son, but the parents also did not deny that it was their first choice to end the child’s life if they would have had the opportunity. Chanbua believes she made the right decision in fighting to keep Gammy.
By Amy Nelson