Aussie Same-Sex Couple Leaves Thailand With Newborn Twins Amid Surrogacy Scandal
By Vittorio Hernandez | August 18, 2014 9:07 AM EST
An Australian same-sex male couple who had a commercial surrogacy deal in Thailand were prevented on Thursday from leaving Bangkok due to lack of documents as proof they are the legal guardians of the twins. However, ABC reported that one of the pair eventually was able to leave the Southeast Asian nation and has arrived in Singapore with the newborn twins.
Nine-month-old baby Musa Khan drinks milk from his bottle while being carried by his grandfather Muhammad Yasin as they leave after appearing in a court in Lahore April 12, 2014. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza
The report comes amid the surrogacy scandal involving a West Australian couple, David and Wendy Farnell, who contracted a Thai woman to be the surrogate mother of a baby whom they took back to Australia. However, they left allegedly behind the female baby's twin brother, Gammy, who was born with Down syndrome, creating a furor over the incident.
The scandal did not end with the Aussie couple picking only the healthy baby, but also led to public disclosure of the 22 child sex convictions of the female baby's adoptive father, David, when he was in his 20s. However, Farnell said the baby girl - now seven months old - is safe in their care.
The Farnells denied they left Gammy behind but said that the biological mother, Pattharamon Chanbua, allegedly refused to turn over the male baby to them and even threatened not to give the twin girl, Pipah, to them.
They also denied asking Chanbua to have an abortion when it was confirmed the male foetus she was carrying them had a physical defect. The biological mother said she refused the alleged order to abort the baby because it is against her Buddhist faith.
The scandal led the newly formed Thai national assembly to draft laws last week that would prohibit commercial surrogacy agreements, which could potentially end a lucrative market that caters mainly to childless foreign couples. Thai authorities have also raided several fertility clinics and shuttered them.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated its travel advisory for Aussies bound for Thailand to be aware of the recent changes by Bangkok lawmakers on surrogacy laws, which includes a mandatory court order before foreign couples could leave with adopted Thai children.
That would present some problems for about over 100 Aussie still in Australia waiting for their babies arranged through previous surrogacy deals with Thai women.
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