The surrogate mother of a baby born with Down’s Syndrome has pledged to raise him as her own after he was abandoned by the couple who commissioned the birth.
The baby boy, reportedly named Gammy, was born in Thailand, along with a twin sister. An Australian couple had paid £9,000 for the births, but when they were told that the unborn baby had Down’s Syndrome, they asked the mother to have an abortion. She refused, saying it was against her Buddhist beliefs.
In the event, Gammy was also born with a heart condition and lung infection. The commissioning couple refused him, taking only his sister back to Australia.
The surrogate mother has now raised £110,000 in an online campaign to pay for urgent medical treatment for her new child. He is currently being treated in a Thai hospital.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot described the case as “an incredibly sad story”
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Australia as it is in the UK, and so childless couples often commission births from surrogate mothers living in other countries.
Rachel Kunde is executive director of the campaign group Surrogacy Australia. She said the case highlighted the need for legal reform:
“Our greatest fear is that Australia is going to ban international surrogacy altogether. We are hoping that the government will make accessing surrogates in Australia easier.”