Down's syndrome baby: Thai surrogate mother of 'abandoned' twin Gammy will keep him – and says she doesn't blame Australian couple

After her experience, Pattharamon Janbua said she would advise no woman to 'get into this business'


Displaying a generosity of spirit in rank contrast to the apparent callousness of the Australian couple who abandoned a Down's syndrome baby born to a Thai surrogate mother, the young woman has declined offers to adopt him, announcing that she intends to bring him up herself.

The offers – along with donations of, as of last night, more than A$164,000 (£90,780) – were made by well-wishers following publicity about the plight of six-month-old Gammy, who was spurned by his biological parents after Pattharamon Janbua, 21, gave birth to twins. The couple, who have not been named, took Gammy's healthy twin sister back to Australia.

Their actions have sparked revulsion around the world, and prompted Thai authorities to crack down on the previously unregulated surrogacy industry. With commercial surrogacy banned at home, hundreds of Australian couples travel to Thailand each year to arrange surrogate births through local clinics and agents.

Ms Janbua said that, after her experience, she would advise no Thai woman to "get into this business". She told Australia's Fairfax Media that her family was struggling to pay off debts last year when she was approached by an agent and offered the equivalent of £6,477 to carry a baby for the couple, who are believed to live in Western Australia.

Three months later, after a doctor implanted the Australian woman's fertilised egg into her uterus, she discovered she was expecting twins. The agent promised her an additional £926 for the second baby. But four months into the pregnancy, routine checks established that one of the twins had Down's syndrome.

On learning this, the parents – through the agent – urged her to have an abortion. "But I didn't agree, because I am afraid of sin," she told Fairfax, referring to her Buddhist beliefs. Then, when the twins were born, the agent took the girl, leaving the boy with her. She never met the parents.

The case has come to light at a time when Gammy is seriously ill in hospital, with a lung infection and a congenital heart condition that requires surgery. Ms Janbua – who has two children of her own, aged six and three, said she was overwhelmed by the donations that have flooded in for Gammy's medical bills and care.

"I'll share some of the money to help other babies who have Down's syndrome and orphan children," she said. Explaining her decision to bring up the baby, she said: "I'll take care of Gammy on my own. I'll not give my baby to anybody … I don't wish him to be the smart boy or intelligent person … I just want to see him as a good man. Whatever he wants to be, I will always support him, my boy."

Ms Janbua, who lives in a poor village 56 miles south of Bangkok, also said she forgave Gammy's parents. "I wish they will love my baby … I forgive them for everything … I don't really think too much about the Australian couple. I can't blame them. I don't feel upset or angry about them any more. They might have their own problems, too."

On the fundraising site, though, people expressed horror at the couple's actions, with one man, Towe-Karin Iversen Saleh, writing that "I'm sitting here in Norway … and cannot believe what I read. What kind of people do such an act[?]" Another, Erica Choi, wrote: "Gammy is such a beautiful baby! Shame on his biological parents!"

An Australian charity, Hands Across the Water, has stepped in and was yesterday preparing to have Gammy transferred to a private hospital in Bangkok. The charity will also keep the donated funds in trust.

With commercial surrogacy now illegal in Thailand, many Australian couples have been left in limbo, desperately trying to find out whether they will be able to take home babies currently being carried by Thai surrogates.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine