The kindness of a 21-year-old Thai woman has captured the world's attention and brought to light a concerning issue within the county.
Pattharamon Janbua was hired by a surrogate company to be a surrogate mother for an Australian couple. Early in her pregnancy it was discovered she was going to have twins, and one of those twins has Down's Syndrome. (Via BBC)
According to The Wall Street Journal, "The agent said the couple wanted her to have an abortion, and that there was a way to achieve it, but Ms. Pattharamon said she refused." Pattharamon then told the agency she would raise the child herself.
Pattharamon: "I love him. He was in my tummy for 9 months. It's my child. I love him like my own." (Via ABC Australia)
After the twins were born, the Australian couple took the little girl, but left Gammy, her twin brother, in Thailand. (Via 9 News)
Pattharamon has raised Gammy while also raising her two older children. Which likely isn't an easy feat — besides Down's syndrome, Gammy has a congenital heart condition and a lung infection.
Gammy's medical bills have totaled more than $141,000. Australian charity, Hands Across the Water, has been paying the bills. (Via The Sydney Morning Herald)
This GoFundMe Page has also raised more than $200,000 for Gammy.
Australia, like many other countries, has laws prohibiting surrogacy — prompting many couples look to poorer nations like Thailand.
In February, 14 women were rescued from a surrogate trafficking ring in Thailand where reports say the women were forced to have babies and live inside the agency. (Via LifeSiteNews)
The Telegraph says the surrogate laws in Thailand are poorly regulated, but are strengthening as more the topic has become more and more public.
In a new development, The Sydney Morning Herald reports Thai health officials announced Wednesday, "The only legal surrogacy cases were those in which a married couple cannot conceive a child and engage a blood relative to carry their child."
Pattharamon says the surrogacy agency she worked with has not paid her in full yet and still owes her more than $2,000. (Via The Sydney Morning Herald)