Couple Who 'Abandoned' Down Syndrome Twin​ Finally Speak Out

baby handLast week, the story of an Australian couple who went through a surrogate in Thailand to have a baby gripped our attention. The surrogate, 21-year-old Pattharamon Janbua (also listed as Pattaramon Chanbua), ended up pregnant with the then-unnamed couple's twins. Early reports said that the couple wanted Janbua to abort when they found out one of the babies most likely had Down syndrome. Janbua did not. She delivered the couple's twins -- a girl and a boy who had Down syndrome. The couple only took the girl home with them to Australia. The boy they reportedly abandoned was named Gammy, and he also has a heart condition and was battling a lung infection. Donations poured in to help him, and the woman who carried him to term has been taking care of him, loving him as if he were her own.

The Australian couple revealed themselves as David and Wendy Farnell. They are Gammy's biological parents and are now speaking out. Some of the details that have been revealed are troubling.


The Farnells have said that they have been trying to go undetected, hiding out in their home since the story first broke. They said that child protective services and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) have been coming by to speak with them. The family has a dog, who was taken by the RSPCA because they believed the pet was also abandoned.

But that is not the most troubling of the details to emerge. David Farnell, now 56, is a convicted pedophile. I do believe in second chances. I'd like to believe in reform. But I'm concerned. It's clear the surrogacy laws in Thailand are very lenient. Even before it was revealed that Farnell was a convicted pedophile, based on the abandonment of the son with Down syndrome, the ability of the Farnells to parent properly here has to be questioned. The Thai laws on surrogacy have since changed.

It needs to be said that Farnell was convicted on 22 child sex offenses in the late '90s. One of the crimes he committed was against a girl who was 7 years old. It was reported that he lured the 7-year-old and a 10-year-old into his shed or home for secret meetings over the course of two years. He was sentenced to three years in jail for that.

Janbua, the surrogate, has said that she will happily care for the healthy twin sister as well as Gammy when she learned Farnell is a convicted pedophile.

The Farnells are speaking out now wanting the world to understand their side of the story. I'm not understanding why they didn't go to the police or why they choose to hide when child protective services came to their home. They lost their dog as a result. They seem to not realize the repercussions of their actions. Did they think this would just go away? A child doesn't just disappear -- Gammy is still alive, he is their son, a son they left in another country. He is fighting for his life while his biological parents are in hiding.

This Sunday, the Farnells will be on 60 Minutes sharing more. They have said they wanted to bring Gammy home with them. I'm not understanding why they didn't in the first place. How could they just leave him there and not tell authorities if this was the case? What has taken them so long? The twins are now 7 months old. If the media never caught wind of this story, would they have gone on pretending as if they didn't have a son?

This is a tragic situation, and I can't help but just focus my thoughts on Gammy, his health, and his sister. The Farnells seem to have not handled this entire situation properly and that's concerning.

What do you think of the latest developments?


Image via Christian Scheja/Flickr

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