An affluent Australian couple contracted with a poor Thai food vendor to carry their baby in a process called gestational surrogacy.
Through a surrogacy agency in Bangkok, $9,300 was to be paid for a process that would have cost substantially more in the industrialized world.
However, the surrogate mother, 21-year-old Pattaramon Chanbu, was impregnated with twins and gave birth to a child who has Down syndrome. Reports note her surrogacy agency requested she abort the twin with Down syndrome, which she refused, citing religious objections.
When the twins were born, the Australian couple took the healthy child with them back to Australia and abandoned their son with Down syndrome with the Thai surrogate. The as-yet-unidentified father of the children is now claiming he never knew about the second child with Down syndrome.
The Australian government is considering bringing baby boy Gammy back to Australia for treatment.
The Australian couple turned to Thailand, where gestational surrogacy is legal, as a way to sidestep the various state laws in Australia that uniformly forbid commercial surrogacy. There is a booming business in India and Thailand for Australian couples seeking surrogates.
The surrogate mother has been caring for him and started a website for his medical care that has raised more than $200,000.
The Thai woman has yet to collect her fee for carrying the babies to term, even though the family chose to take away one of the children. The story highlights the often shady world of gestational surrogacy.