Crowd-funding raises almost $200,000 for Thai surrogate baby | News | DW | 03.08.2014
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Crowd-funding raises almost $200,000 for Thai surrogate baby

An Australian couple’s decision to abandon one of its surrogate twins because of poor health has sparked international outcry. Crowd-funders have raised nearly $200,000 to help the mother and child.

This week, social media activists came to the rescue of a Thai surrogate mother who has been the subject of international debate. The woman, Pattaramon Chanbua, gave birth to twins for an Australian couple. However, after discovering that the boy twin, named Gammy, had Down's Syndrome and a life-threatening heart condition, the couple gave him back to the mother and kept the girl.

Using a crowd sourcing website, Gofundme, activists had raised nearly $198,180 (147,549 euros) by Sunday after roughly 10 days. The donations came from nearly 5,000 people, according to figures given on its website.

The founder of the Australian charity Hands Across the Water, Peter Baines, said the funds would be sufficient to help the baby.

"Because the donations have risen so much beyond what we were first looking for, we'll be able to plan longer term for his future," Baines said.

According to Australian broadcaster ABC, Pattaramon worked in a street cook shop in Chonburi province, 90 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of Bangkok, and already had two children aged three and six.

She had given birth last December for 10,000 euros arranged through an intermediary.

'Moral responsibility'

Australia's immigration minister, Scott Morrison, commented on the case during an interview with Australian public broadcaster ABC on Sunday.

"This is an absolutely heart-breaking story, it really is," Morrison said, according to news agency AFP.

"I think perhaps this may fall more into the territory of what people's moral responsibilities are here,” he said, adding that the baby's mother had expressed the wish to keep the child in Thailand and that Australia would respect that wish.

Commercial surrogacy is not permitted in Australia, but an estimated 500 Australian couples opt annually to contract and pay women in countries such as India and Thailand to carry a fertilized embryo through to birth.

kms/tj (AFP, dpa)