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Baby Gammy granted Australian citizenship

26 January 2015
Appeared in BioNews 787

Baby Gammy, who was born with Down's syndrome to a Thai surrogate mother and was at the centre of a surrogacy scandal last year, has been granted Australian citizenship.

Gammy was left in Thailand when his intended parents, Australian couple David and Wendy Farnell, took his healthy twin sister, Pipah, home with them.

The surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, who has been looking after Gammy since, says she applied for his Australian citizenship as a way to safeguard his future.

Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection has confirmed that the child's application for citizenship by descent had been granted, although Ms Chanbua said she had no immediate plans to take her son to Australia.

'I want him to be near me here so that I don't have to miss him', she explained.

'But if all of my family, including me, die and if Gammy is left behind alone, at least the Australian government will help him', she added. The decision means that Gammy is now eligible for an Australian passport and will have access to healthcare in the country, reports the Australian Times.

The case initially sparked worldwide attention and an intense debate over international surrogacy arrangements (see BioNews 766 and 767), while an online campaign raised over Australian $240,000 to help pay for hospital bills and buy a new home for Chanbua's family.

In August last year, it was revealed that David Farnell, 56, had 22 child sex convictions, prompting an investigation by Australia's Department for Child Protection. Farnell continues to have custody of Pipah, although the family is under strict court conditions.

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What is a 'professional model' of surrogacy? The title of this book intrigued me before I had even turned a page...
18 April 2016 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
A court in Western Australia has ruled that the twin sister of Baby Gammy, who was born to a Thai surrogate in 2013, should remain with her parents in Australia...
27 April 2015 - by Professor Jenni Millbank 
Surrogacy has received vastly disproportionate attention in Australia given its infrequent occurrence. In less than 30 years we have seen 27 public inquiries and at least 17 different laws passed. Many thousands of media articles and current affairs stories have been penned and filmed...
23 February 2015 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
Thailand's parliament has passed a law banning surrogacy for foreign couples, after two scandals sparked worldwide attention last year...
1 December 2014 - by Jenny Sharpe 
Thailand's interim parliament has voted in support of a law to ban its largely unregulated surrogacy trade.
18 August 2014 - by Professor Eric Blyth 
The Baby Gammy case has sparked worldwide interest and comment. The case highlights troubling issues that have been exercising the minds of some of us for some time...
18 August 2014 - by Chee Hoe Low 
Thailand's Government has approved a draft law intended to make commercial surrogacy a criminal offence, leaving foreign couples reportedly unable to take their surrogate-born children out of the country....
11 August 2014 - by Sascha Callaghan and Ainsley Newson 
The story of the baby with Down's syndrome 'abandoned' in Thailand, which has dominated the news, illustrates how the international surrogacy industry has been booming...
4 August 2014 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A child with Down's syndrome born to a Thai surrogate is reported to have been abandoned by the intended parents, an Australian couple, who have denied the allegations. Conflicting versions of the developing story have been reported....
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