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  1. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Australian Couple leaves disabled baby with Thai surrogate

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Duchess-Yukine-Suoh, Aug 1, 2014.

    An infertile Australian couple traveled to Thailand to find a woman who would act as their surrogate, offering her $14,000. Pattaramon Chanbua, already a mother of two, agreed, saying "We needed the money, one, to educate my children, and, two, so we can repay our debt." She gave birth to their twins, a boy and a girl, however, the boy had Down Syndrome and other medical conditions. The couple took the healthy baby girl home to Australia, but left the baby boy with Pattaramon. She said "I don't know what to do. I chose to keep him... I love him, he was in my tummy for nine months", however she could not pay for treatment for his life-threatening heart condition. Fundraisers have been able to raise money for the treatments. This has caused more controversy over paid surrogacy in Thailand.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Caveat emptor.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that they should be financially and legally and in all other ways responsible for the child as their child.
     
  4. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    It was fully their child, she was just carrying it, so I'm not sure what your point is.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If it's genetically the couple's child, or even one of the two are a parent, the woman should be able to sue the couple in Australia for child support.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is just one of the problems in surrogacy, particularly in international surrogacy. In the United States, there has generally now been sufficient time and experience with the issue that knowledgable lawyers have been able to draft contracts to deal with outcomes such as this. But international surrogacy has just made everything more complex by orders of magnitude. This is just a huge mess. I don't know how the healthcare system works in Thailand, but I assume this child's condition would be dealt with in the same way any other child born to any other Thai woman. Given that she is poor, it is a shame that anyone would have to suffer without medical treatment, regardless of whether this child is genetically related to the gestational surrogate.

    I'm curious to know why this was not addressed in the initial contract. (Actually, I can guess -- because the surrogacy facilitator was an ignorant, lazy, money-grubbing scumbag who left the scene as soon as possible.)

    Do you have a link to the original article?
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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  8. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was just coming back to say I didn't need the link. My trans-racial adoption sites have been going nuts over this story.

    What a mess. I think that international surrogacy should be allowed and it could be a win-win for everyone involved. But, it needs to be very highly regulated, which no one seems to be willing to do.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Here's my thought: how will the daughter feel once she learns that she has a brother with Downs living in Thailand? And she starts piecing the clues together? Also, pretty sure the woman has a low opinion of that Australian couple now, because their reaction was pretty much, "Eew, Downs baby! You keep him, we'll take the perfectly healthy girl!"

    Glad I was never their kid. They would've dumped me the moment they found out I had severe medical issues as a baby. No one can help how the baby is born; it's hopeful things turn out OK, but sometimes bad things happen. The child is born disabled, or has severe medical issues. Your job as a parent is to still take care of that kid for that kid's sake. If I had a child with Downs, I'm not going to throw him/her away to be someone else's problem.

    I hope they now lie awake dreading the day their daughter finds out. They may be in for a nasty shock if it turns out she has issues with their actions.
     
  10. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I agree with you, but I can see why the Thailand government is against it. This can't be the first time this has happened, and I would be very tired of the impoverished women in my country being seen as little more than a means to produce a child for the wealthy, and then one of them having to care for a child that's not even hers. And I'm sure many others have either had the same thing done to them, or weren't paid. I'm not sure why they couldn't have just found an Australian surrogate- oh, right, because then they couldn't abandon their newborn if he or she were disabled. I'm sure international surrogacy could work, but like you said, it needs to be regulated.
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, it's really more complicated than that. Most places that ban surrogacy don't do so because they're tired of their women being exploited. New York state bans unrelated surrogacy. It's also not due to a huge problem of abandoned disabled children, because that's relatively rare. (Although obviously, it does happen, and that contingency needs to be planned for.) The reason that people who live in places like the United States and Australia go abroad for surrogacy is, plain and simple, that it is cheaper. I'm not certain if Australia bans unrelated surrogacy or not, but it might in some places, which further adds to the difficulty. In the U.S., if you want to utilize a surrogate, you need to be prepared to pay up to $100K or even $200K and that is a pretty big chunk of change. So, I've got no inherent problem with someone being paid significantly less than that to be a surrogate, when in their country and in their circumstances, getting even something like $10,000 would be a huge amount of money, that could enable them to send their other children to school, feed them, and maybe even purchase a home.

    But issues like when the surrogate would/could abort, or what happens if the child has some condition, what happens if there are twins or triplets -- all of those are foreseeable events, and can be addressed in a contract. There would also need to be some method of insuring understanding by all parties and of making sure that the woman who is gestating the pregnancy understands exactly what is happening and what she is agreeing to, and that she actually does receive all of the agreed upon money.
     
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  12. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Well, if parents would abandon their (disabled or not) child, contract or no contract, I don't think they're fit to be parents, but that's my two cents. I agree with everything else.
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    That, of course, is a topic of much debate. Part of the issue stems from aborting a fetus with an identified condition. Here, the couple wanted the fetus with DS aborted, and the surrogate did not want to do that. If the couple is pregnant in the usual scenario -- that is, not a surrogate, they might choose to abort if they discovered a medical anomaly. Here, the problem is that it is not just two people involved in the decision, but three. Which is why the issue needs to be addressed beforehand.
    There is the issue of what happens if the medical condition is not discovered until the birth? Well, in general, yes, it should be the parents who need to deal with the situation. In a non-surrogacy pregnancy, there are two choices -- usually the parents deal with the condition and parent the child. Plenty of people who never thought they could parent a child with special needs end up doing so. Some end up loving it. In a very small minority of cases, there are some people who relinquish the child for adoption -- especially for conditions like DS, there are a lot of families who are eager to adopt children with that condition. It used to be that many of these children were institutionalized and the parents were basically told to go home and forget about the child. Thank goodness, that is not what happens now, at least in countries like the U.S. and Australia. (In some countries, these children are abandoned and/or institutionalized. Sometimes because the parents truly cannot care for them, usually due to finances, and the only hope for the children is to be cared for in a state institution. In other cases, there is some sort of stigma or shame attached and the parents do want to essentially forget about the child.)
    In this situation, there could have been a search for parents to adopt the child when the DS was discovered. That did not happen. And it is not the answer now, because the child does have a family, who has bonded with him and loves him. The issue is beyond him simply having DS, but he has a heart condition that requires medical treatment that the family cannot afford.

    The problem is that there is never any certainty. Any pregnancy (surrogate or not) can result in a child who has special needs. Some people really step up to the plate and become wonderful parents. Others not so much. But that shouldn't be a reason to ban surrogacy any more than it would be to ban pregnancy if would-be parents who won't take care of a child with special needs could somehow be identified.
     
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