Surrogate mother vows to care for abandoned Down's baby

  • 2 August 2014
  • From the section Asia

A Thai woman who carried a baby with Down's syndrome as a surrogate mother has vowed to take care of the boy after his natural parents gave him up.

The Australian couple left Gammy, now six months old, with Pattaramon Chanbua but took his healthy twin sister.

"Why does he have to go through all the hardships? I love him... He's like my child now," Ms Pattaramon said.

Gammy also has a congenital heart condition and lung infection and is in a Thai hospital for urgent treatment.

A campaign to help the baby begun online after Thai newspaper Thairath published Gammy's story last week.

It has raised more than A$150,000 ($140,000; £83,000) from 3,400 donors in 11 days.

In Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott expressed his sadness: "I guess it illustrates some of the pitfalls involved in this particular business.

"It's a very, very, sad story and I hate to think that, you know, a child could be abandoned like that."

Abortion refused

Ms Pattaramon was paid $15,000 (£9,000) to be a surrogate for the couple, whose identities remain unknown.

She was told of the child's condition four months after becoming pregnant, prompting the couple to ask her to have an abortion.

She refused, saying it was against her Buddhist beliefs.

Tares Krassanairawiwong, a Thai health official, said it was illegal to pay for surrogacy in Thailand and surrogates must be related to the natural parents.

Ms Pattaramon, 21, who already has two children, says she cannot afford to pay for expensive treatment.

"The money that was offered was a lot for me. In my mind, with that money, one, we can educate my children, we can repay our debt," she told Australia's ABC broadcaster.

'Horrible neglect!'

Gammy's story prompted strong reactions online, with many congratulating Hands Across the Water, the charity brought in to deal with donations and medical assistance.

Other were quick to condemn the biological parents.

"May this selfish and heartless couple be exposed and shamed for this horrible neglect!" one comment read.

"As a mother of twins, knowing the bond that twins have, the thought that someone would split up twins I find appalling!!" said another.

In an interview with the Australian newspaper group Fairfax Media, she said she forgave the Australian couple and was only concerned about Gammy's future.

"I don't wish him to be the smart boy or intelligent person…I just want to see him as a good man," Ms Pattaramon said.

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