Vatican paper slams culture that led to Thai surrogacy row

A Vatican paper says the alleged rejection of a Down Syndrome baby in a surrogacy case is a result of a culture that turns babies into consumer products.

Surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua from Thailand is caring for seven-month-old Gammy after an Australian couple chose his healthy twin sister, but abandoned him.

The couple, David and Wendy Farnell, are the biological parents of the twins.

They say they did not know about Gammy, but news reports contradict this, with one having Ms Chanbua say the father had met the twins.

Other reports say when the couple found out about problems with Gammy, they asked Ms Chanbua to have an abortion, which she refused.

But the Farnells deny this.

In a strongly worded comment piece the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano warned that other cases will follow.

The newspaper stated: “We should not be surprised that if parents have ordered a baby renting a woman’s womb they will reject a child that is not healthy and perfect.”

“If a child becomes a product to buy, it is obvious that as with any acquisition it must be to the purchaser’s liking.”

“People have no cause to be indignant that the couple refused a child that was ‘imperfect’,” the article said.

“In realty there is little to be indignant about – if you accept the logic of a child a as product this is the obvious consequence.”

The case has made international headlines, causing uproar in Australia.

Adding fuel to the fire are revelations that the father has child sex abuse convictions in the 1990s.

West Australian state authorities told the BBC they were now conducting a “full investigation” to assess Mr Farnell’s “suitability” to have a young child in his custody.

Ms Chanbua has insisted Gammy’s twin sister be returned to Thailand.

Both the Australian government and Thai health authorities are now looking into the case and the larger issue of commercial surrogacy in Thailand, which is mostly unregulated.

An online fundraising campaign so far has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help Ms Chanbua with Gammy’s medical expenses.

He has a congenital heart condition and a lung infection.


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