Baby Gammy: Australian parents deny abandoning Down’s syndrome boy

Couple nonetheless admit they wanted to ‘get a refund’ when they found out Gammy had Down’s – but insist they changed their minds when the twins were born

The Australian couple accused of abandoning their son because he had Down’s syndrome have denied the claims in a TV interview, saying instead that his Thai surrogate mother demanded to keep the child.

Baby Gammy’s case sparked international outrage when it was reported that Wendy and David Farnell returned from Thailand with his healthy twin sister but left Gammy behind.

The child, now seven months old, is being treated for a lung infection in a hospital east of Bangkok and also has a congenital heart defect. An international charitable fund has been set up to pay for his care.

Speaking publicly for the first time to Australia’s 60 Minutes programme, an emotional Mr Farnell said: “We did not abandon our son.”

He and his wife told the programme that the surrogate mother, 21-year-old food stall worker Pattaramon Chanbua, had said she would “get the police” and keep both children if they tried to take Gammy away.

Mr Farnell explained that the couple had been told Gammy would be born with Down’s syndrome before the twins were born, and that at that point they “expected the surrogacy agency to give them a refund and find a solution”.

Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua (L) holds Gammy Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua (L) holds Gammy Ms Chanbua offered to keep Gammy instead, the Farnells said, but when the children were born the couple changed their minds and said they wanted both twins.

Today Ms Chanbua admitted to reporters that she had been the one who ultimately refused to let the Farnells take Gammy away – but that she did so because she feared for his welfare.

“I did not allow Gammy to go back with them — that's the truth,“ she said. “It is because they would have taken Gammy back and put him in an institute.”

 Mr Farnell said today that if they had known earlier about Gammy’s condition, they probably would have tried to terminate the pregnancy.

Gammy's Thai surrogate mother says he his parents had decided before the birth that they would only be taking his healthy twin sister Gammy's Thai surrogate mother says he his parents had decided before the birth that they would only be taking his healthy twin sister “I don't think any parent wants a son with a disability,” he said. “Parents want their children to be healthy and happy.”

The complicated case, which has focussed global attention on the booming but largely unregulated surrogacy industry in Thailand, became even murkier when it emerged that David Farnell had been convicted in the 1990s of multiple sex offenses against young girls.

Mr Farnell, who has three children from a previous relationship, insisted today that his new daughter is not at risk of harm from him.

“I will do everything in the world to protect my little girl,” he said. “I have no inclination of doing anything like this. I don't have any thoughts about this at all. That is the 100 percent truth. I cannot do this again.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent