The West

Officials contact Gammy s parents
Baby Gammy at the centre of international row over surrogacy.

The Bunbury couple at the centre of the baby Gammy surrogacy row have pleaded with Australia to withhold judgement until they hear the full story.

Wendy and David Farnell say they have been cooperating with the Department of Child Protection since Wednesday morning and will continue to cooperate.

They also said they were feeding their dog every day until it was taken away yesterday by the RSPCA.

The couple is accused of abandoning leaving one of their twins with his surrogate mother in Thailand amid revelations the father is a repeat child sex offender.

The Farnells will appear on Sixty Minutes this Sunday.

In a statement, 60 Minutes Executive Producer Tom Malone said: "The Australian parents of baby Gammy and his twin
sister, have asked us for the opportunity to tell their side of the story.

"We never comment on any commercial arrangements between 60 Minutes and our interview subjects but given the nature of this story, it's important our viewers know that no money has been or will be paid to the parents.

"However, 60 Minutes will be making a donation to the charity Hands Across the Water, which is raising money for Gammy’s ongoing treatment and care.”

Child Protection Minister Helen Morton said yesterday the wellbeing of the seven-month-old girl brought to Australia by her biological parents David and Wendy Farnell, and her family, was the paramount consideration.

Mrs Morton said the department's investigation into the safety and wellbeing of the girl was continuing and while there was a high level of public interest in the case, there would not be continuing commentary that could prejudice the inquiry and cause stress to the family.

"The department's work is complex and to ensure the integrity of the assessment, it is vital that it is carried out in as thorough a manner as possible," she said.

Wendy Li and David Farnell. Picture: South Western Times

"It is important that all relevant information is gathered from a range of areas and agencies and that we speak with everyone involved, from family members through to those providing support services."

The twins' surrogate mother Pattharamon Janbua has accused the couple of abandoning their baby boy Gammy, who has Down syndrome, and returning to Australia with only their healthy daughter.


The couple have not spoken publicly, but the Bunbury Mail has reported a family friend as saying they deny the allegations and were devastated they had to leave Gammy behind after a dispute with Ms Pattharamon.

The case has attracted further attention after it was revealed this week that Mr Farnell has multiple indecent dealing convictions involving three young girls.

Pattaramon Chanbua and baby Gammy. Picture: AP

Mr Farnell, now 56, pleaded guilty to 18 offences in March 1987 and was sentenced to three years jail after two adult women reported historic abuse committed by the electrician in his home and a garden shed in 1982 and 1983.

Five months later, after publicity over his first case, the then father of three was charged with a further five offences relating to a third girl.

But Mr Farnell pleaded not guilty to the charges and was convicted of four offences after a District Court jury trial in Bunbury in January 1998. He was given another 18 months jail.

Thailand is pushing to ban commercial surrogacy as a case involving nine surrogate babies allegedly with the same Japanese father emerged just days after the baby Gammy furore erupted.

Nine babies were discovered being cared for by nannies in a Bangkok condominium.

The baby Gammy case has focused global attention on the largely unregulated industry in Thailand, which authorities say became a go-to destination for commercial surrogacy after well-off countries tightened their own laws.

Thai officials said yesterday that a draft law banning surrogacy had been submitted to the junta's head of legal and justice affairs and will be forwarded to the newly-established interim legislature for consideration next week.

“Now is good timing, as the steps (toward passing the law) have been completed,” Rarinthip Sirorat, an executive from the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, said at a news conference.

“The purpose of this law is to give maximum benefits to the surrogate babies.”

Thailand has 42 clinics and medical institutes and 240 doctors licensed to use assisted reproductive technology, using artificial means to achieve pregnancy, according to Boonruang Triruangworawat, the Health Service Support Department's director-general.

“The assisted reproductive technology has existed in Thailand for a long time but now it's become an issue because there are stricter regulations in other countries,” Boonruang said.

"The parents have migrated to Thailand because Thailand does not actively go after the issue. They will now understand that the Thai law will be stricter.”

The West Australian

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