Seven-month-old baby Gammy was allegedly abandoned by his Australian biological parents when they found out he had Down syndrome.
We have heard plenty about David and Wendy Farnell over the past week. And as time went on, the story became more and more complex – and disturbing. There was the father’s history of child abuse. The story about the couple’s relationship being kindled on a Chinese mail order bride website. The RSPCA’s trip to their residence to take their allegedly neglected dog away.
But tonight, the parents have broken their silence in an effort to let Australia “hear their side of the story”.
56-year-old David and his wife Wendy Farnell have spoken exclusively to 60 Minutes’ Tara Brown about their decision to leave their biological son in the care of his 21-year-old Thai surrogate Pattaramon Chanbua, while taking his twin sister Pipah home to a new life in Perth.
Here’s what they had to say:
On leaving Gammy in Thailand:
David: “We didn’t leave him behind. We wanted to bring him with us but things were happening that we couldn’t.”
David: “The surrogate mother wanted to take ‘our girl’ and we were getting scared that we were going to lose her. We had to try and get out as fast as we could.”
On whether they left Gammy in Thailand in an effort to save their daughter:
Wendy: “We always want our son.”
Wendy: “We miss him everyday. We just want to get our son back but know how to.”
On what they tried to do to get Gammy back:
David: “We haven’t asked directly.”
David: “We’ve been trying to make sure first that Pipah is safe. No one can take her away from us. We’ve been trying to do that for 6 months. When we know she’s 100% safe with us then we can go and get our boy back.”
On learning that Gammy had down syndrome:
David: “It was late into the pregnancy that we found out that the boy had down syndrome.”
David: “But it was too late to do anything. They sent us the results but they didn’t do the tests early enough.”
On whether they would have aborted the child if they knew he had Down syndrome:
David: “If it would have been safe for the embryo to be terminated – we probably would have terminated”-
David: “I don’t think any parent wants a son with a disability. Parents want their child to be healthy and happy and be able to do everything that every other children do.”
David: “We never abandoned him. We never said to the surrogate mother to have an abortion. We just said let’s see how things go.”
David: “The boy has got Down syndrome but there are different levels of Down syndrome. We were just hoping that it was not that severe.”
David: “We said that we still wanted him and the agency – while we were in Australia – we still looking at other options.”
David: “We were very confused and we said that ‘this is your fault, you must now take some responsibility for this’.”