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We can all unanimously agree that the news on Baby Gammy saddens us all.
Recent reports are lighting up cyberspace. And as always, there seems to be conflicting information in the crossfire. While I have provided, here, some recent media selections, at the end, I will share my thoughts in an effort to shed more light.
For those who need an update on the situation, here is an excerpt from CNN’s recent article, Australian couple defends decision to leave Down’s baby with Thai surrogate.
Hilary Whiteman, reports, “What was supposed to be a straightforward cash deal to carry a child for desperate parents has turned into an international spat over who said what, and exposed the darker side of a business credited with creating happiness for many couples. At the center of the debate is Gammy, a seven-month-old Down Syndrome baby with a congenital heart condition who is currently receiving treatment for a lung infection at a private hospital in Thailand. She continues, “For days, Gammy’s surrogate mother, 21-year-old Thai food stall worker Pattharamon Chanbua, has been telling local and foreign press that the couple abandoned their son, taking home his healthy sister.”
The Western Australian couple, David Farnell and his wife are under fire. In the article, their friend tells the media that the Farnell family was told that Gammy was extremely ill and would not survive a day, at most.
With the all the media attention, the husband, Farnell, has been scrutinized and reporters dug up an alarming sex offender past.
Hours ago, Yahoo News published their article, Baby Gammy Court Documents Reveal Father Of Surrogacy Babies Has Been Convicted Of More Than 20 Child Sex Offences. It uncovered that Farnell had 22 child sex convictions.
Yahoo reporter wrote, “Mr. Farnell was sentenced to three years’ jail in 1997 for sexually molesting two girls, who were aged 7 and 10 at the time of the offences, in 1982 and 1983. Court documents reveal he molested the children when they were visiting him at his home. The victims made complaints when they were adults, and Mr. Farnell pleaded guilty to 18 charges.” The article goes on to read, “In sentencing, Justice Michael O’Sullivan said the victims had been ‘robbed of their childhood’ and suffered emotional problems as a result.”
The article states how the Western Australia’s Department for Child Protection has launched an investigation into the safety of Gammy’s twin sister.
And we all hope that this investigation is swift and the right decision is made regarding the best interest of this little baby girl.
The Baby Gammy case and everything that is being revealed naturally shakes our inner foundation and forces us to question the core of humanity.
Through it all, as heart-wrenching as it is, there is something I need to convey. Not just from an attorney standpoint, but as a woman who struggled with her fertility.
Without the help of a surrogate 13 years ago, I never would have had my incredible twins. It’s because of my surrogate’s selflessness and her willingness to make my parenthood dreams come true, that I have my children.
Although we don’t know all sides, the case of Baby Gammy, especially in reference to Farnell’s sexual predator history is very upsetting. However, I don’t want this to be the focus, and ultimately, the “poster” for surrogacy — because it’s not.
Including my husband, and myself so many other couples and individuals have become parents because of a surrogate.
That’s what surrogates do: they help make women and men become mothers and fathers.
This one case should not ruin it for the entire industry.
If it did, not only would it be unfortunate to so many intended parents, but it would be a huge disservice to the industry if that’s how the world-wide community responded, including The Hague and other countries.
While the news on Baby Gammy continues to emerge, including Farnell’s sex convictions on minors, let’s not forget that this is not the norm.
Baby Gammy updates are making mainstream news. And yes, it wholeheartedly deserves the attention.
However, as a professional assisted reproductive law attorney, and also a mother from my surrogacy journey, Baby Gammy is not a representation of how surrogacy is conducted in the U.S.A.
While Baby Gammy is initiating discussion on surrogacy, there must be proper educational dialogue on the positive impact that surrogacy makes to so many families.
Let’s not let this one unfortunate case destroy the dreams of parenthood for so many.