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Couple Goes Home with Only One Newborn Twin, Leaves Boy with Down Syndrome with Surrogate

Brittany Chalmers
Mar 22, 2022
02:00 P.M.

A couple was excited to become parents, and when their twins were born, they made a big decision. Their choice garnered widespread attention and sparked a public outcry.


David Farnell and his wife, Wendy Li, struggled to have children and decided to use surrogacy to fulfill their dreams of having a family.

The Australian couple was matched with a Thai woman named Pattaramon Chanbua, and she acted as their surrogate using Farnell's sperm and donor eggs. Things progressed smoothly until doctors discovered something unexpected.

[Left] Thai surrogate mother and the newborn baby boy; [Right] David Farnell and Wendy Li with their baby girl born through surrogacy. | Source: facebook.com/hypebyblick  youtube.com/Hindustan Times

[Left] Thai surrogate mother and the newborn baby boy; [Right] David Farnell and Wendy Li with their baby girl born through surrogacy. | Source: facebook.com/hypebyblick youtube.com/Hindustan Times


One of the twins had Down syndrome and a life-threatening heart condition. Upon hearing the news, the Australian couple purportedly asked the 21-year-old surrogate to abort the disabled fetus. Chanbua refused their request because abortion was sinful in Thai culture.


When the twins were born in December 2013, Farnell and Li chose to return home with only their healthy baby girl, Pipah.

A Thai surrogate and the baby she chose to keep. | Source: youtube.com/AP Archive

A Thai surrogate and the baby she chose to keep. | Source: youtube.com/AP Archive


The parents left Gammy with his surrogate mom, and while Chanbua claimed they abandoned him, a court ruled otherwise. They stated that the surrogate fell in love with the baby boy while pregnant and decided to keep him.

On the other hand, the couple claimed they rushed back to Australia with baby Pipah because they feared Chanbua would try to keep her from them. Farnell said:

"The surrogate mother wanted to take our girl. We were scared we were going to lose her. We had to try and get out as fast as we could."



Many people had their own opinions about what happened and questioned Farnell and Li. The surrogacy case gained widespread media attention, and the public rallied together to support Chanbua and baby Gammy.

Citizens donated money to assist the Thai family, and more than $200,000 was raised. The money was used for Gammy's medical needs and provided the family with better living conditions.



Surrogacy Australia president, Sam Everingham, shared that the baby boy was in good hands with Chanbua. He said: "He's with a mother who loves him, wants to care for him."

Everingham added that they were happy to leave Gammy in Thailand, but they hoped to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.


By 2019, reports indicated that Gammy, now called Grammy, was doing great. He attended a school that catered to his needs and learned more each day.


He was also granted Australian citizenship, and while there were no immediate plans for him to leave Thailand, Chanbua was glad he had a safety net for his future.


Surrogacies do not always go as planned, and when a couple asked their surrogate to terminate the pregnancy, she did not listen. Despite legal threats, Andrea Ott-Dahl carried the baby to full-term in 2016.

Baby Delaney Skye was born with Down syndrome, and surrogate Ott-Dahl was ready to face any challenges. She was happy to help her child reach milestones and was grateful to be her parent.

By sharing their stories, Ott-Dahl and Chanbua encourage others to think twice before giving up on a child, no matter the circumstance.

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