2014 Thai surrogacy controversy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In July 2014, an internationally publicised incident occurred in which a Thai woman, Pattaramon Janbua, who had been hired as a surrogate mother for an Australian couple, sought to raise money for her critically ill surrogate son. The baby had been in her care since she gave birth in December 2013; biological parents David Farnell and Wendy Li had left Thailand that month with baby Gammy's twin sister Pipah.[1]

When ultrasound results seven months into the surrogate pregnancy indicated that Ms Pattaramon was carrying twins and that one of the twins, a boy, had Down syndrome, the Farnell and Li requested that she abort him, and that they would keep only the child's twin sister.[2] Ms Pattharamon refused, citing her Buddhist beliefs, and instead opted to raise the boy (named Gammy) on her own. Thai surrogacy laws dictate that a child's legal mother is its birth mother.[3][deprecated source] The Farnells returned to Australia in December 2013, bringing baby Gammy's twin sister Pipah with them.[4]

After the story broke to media, donors amassed a fund of over $250,000 to help baby Gammy.[5]

The incident raised questions about the ethics of gestational surrogacy. Also, the fact that David Farnell is a convicted sex offender (he was sentenced to three years in prison in 1997 for molesting two girls aged 7 and 10) has also caused controversy.[6] There were also rumors that the Farnells believed that Gammy had died, but this was not true; it was David Farnell's adult daughter who claimed that Gammy died and she did so because she thought it would be easier to explain it to her friends.[7]

In response to the controversy, Thailand authorities reportedly banned surrogate babies from leaving the country with their parents. Hundreds of foreign couples were reported to have been affected. A law was also drafted making paid surrogacy a criminal offense in Thailand.[8][9]

In response to the controversial Baby Gammy incident in 2014, Thailand since July 30, 2015, has banned foreign people traveling to Thailand, to have commercial surrogacy contract arrangement, under the Protection of Children Born from Assisted Reproductive Technologies Act. Only opposite-sex married couples as Thailand residents are allowed to have a commercial surrogacy contract arrangement. In the past Thailand was a popular destination for couples seeking surrogate mothers.[10][11][12]

A charity involved in the case has stated that David Farnell has tried to access the funds raised for Gammy.[13] However, an inquest into Farnell and Li's contact with his daughter case by Australian authorities found that there was no evidence to suggest Farnell ever attempted to access the funds set aside for Gammy. [14] Additionally, it was found Farnell and Li had attempted to bring Gammy home, but the surrogate mother initially had objections and had intended to adopt Gammy without Farnell and Li, so they had left Gammy behind in a mix-up of cultural and language barriers.[15]

It was ruled Pipah is not allowed to be alone with David Farnell and the agreement that she must be read a photobook with age appropriate language every three months for the foreseeable future that explains her father's offenses.[16]

Gammy was later granted Australian citizenship on Janbua's application on the basis that Gammy's biological father David Farnell was Australian.[17]


  1. ^ Browne, Rachel (11 August 2014). "David and Wendy Farnell demanded refund for Gammy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.
  2. ^ Murdoch, Lindsay (10 August 2014). "Wendy Farnell did not supply the egg, Gammy's Thai mother says". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.
  3. ^ Thackray, Lucy; Michael, Sarah; Noble, Freya (12 August 2014). "Gammy's biological parents have NO claim on him under Thai law... despite saying they want their Down syndrome son they had through surrogate back". Daily Mail Australia. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014.
  4. ^ Wahlquist, Calla (13 August 2014). "Jane Farnell, daughter of Gammy's dad David Farnell, says his past has 'absolutely nothing to do with this'". Perth Now. News Ltd. Archived from the original on 25 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  5. ^ Hawley, Samantha (17 September 2014). "Baby Gammy story takes startling turn as extreme options revealed". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 19 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Baby Gammy's sister Jane Farnell defends paedophile dad". News Limited. 13 August 2014. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014.
  7. ^ Miller, Shanelle (13 August 2014). "'I thought it would be easier to say Gammy died': Farnell daughter". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014.
  8. ^ Pearlman, Jonathan (15 August 2014). "Thailand bans surrogate babies from leaving after Baby Gammy controversy". The Telegraph.
  9. ^ "Thailand to ban commercial surrogacy in wake of Gammy scandal". The Guardian. 13 August 2014. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014.
  10. ^ "New Thai surrogacy law bans foreigners".
  11. ^ PCL., Post Publishing. "Bangkok Post".
  12. ^ "Thailand bans commercial surrogacy for LGBTs, singles, foreigners". 7 August 2015.
  13. ^ "Gammy's biological father tries to access donations raised for child". 18 May 2015.
  14. ^ Safi, Michael (14 April 2016). "Baby Gammy's twin can stay with Australian couple despite father's child sex offences".
  15. ^ "Family cleared of abandoning baby Gammy". ABC News. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  16. ^ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/gammys-dad-sex-offender-david-farnell-granted-custody/news-story/11bda4f050f12da08aade51f4c613b4b
  17. ^ Murdoch, Lindsay (23 December 2017). "A mother's anguish as Baby Gammy celebrates fourth birthday". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 October 2019.