Surrogacy and child trafficking: an account from the mother of “Baby Gammy”

Publié le : 1 October 2015

Goy”, the mother of “Baby Gammy” (cf. Gènéthique des 24 novembre 2014, 1er décembre 2014, 20 janvier 2015, 19 mai 2015), a Thai child with Down Syndrome, born through surrogacy, whose intended parents did not want him to be born, tells her story.

 

 “A Thaiman offered a payment of 300,000 to 500,000 bahts [between €7,500 and €12,500, Ed. note] without specifying the nature of the work,“explained Goy. “As we had a lot of debt, I said I was interested”. She met Antonio, the Agency Director, who suggested that she should be a surrogate mother for an Australian couple. The Thai woman, who benefitted from excellent medical care, was an Eldoradofor surrogacy. For their part, like many of their compatriots, Goy and her husband were in a lot of debt and were thus easy prey. They also accepted “because it was all about the money”.

 

 When Goy learned that she was expecting twins and one of them had Down Syndrome,“the agency asked her to have an abortion”. “Although I was only a surrogate mother, I felt this child living inside me. My religion [Buddhism – editor’s note] prevented me from killing this child”. She therefore proposed to keep the child for an additional payment of 12,500.

 “After the birth, I stayed in hospital for one month with the children in an incubator. The intended parents came to take my little Paipa from me but left Gammy without paying me all that they owed me”. The agency did not respond either and Goy turned towards an association providing assistance for children. Within a few days, Gammy’s story had appeared in all newspapers across the globe. The government was forced to change the legislation. A law was voted on in February 2015 and came into force on 30 July 2015 (cf. Gènéthique du 10 août 2015). It carries a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a fine of 200,000 bahts (almost 500,000) for any person benefiting from surrogacy.  Furthermore, the practice of surrogacy is limited to heterosexual Thai couples who have been married for at least three years.

 

For Goy this law “is a good thing”. “It will prevent stories like that of her son from being repeated! However, I know that the agency that hired me still exists. Although the practice is banned, the police do nothing and Antonio is continuing his business”. In fact, despite the reworking of the legislative framework, the situation has not changed because of spiralling corruption. Surrogacy for foreign couples and the trafficking of children and young women is far from over …

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