Western Australia’s Family Court has ruled that the twin sister of baby Gammy, who was at the centre of an international surrogacy dispute in 2014, should remain with her biological father in Bunbury and not be returned to her birth mother in Thailand.
The mother, Pattaroamoun Chanuba, sought orders from the court to have the child, Pipah, returned to her.
However, in a judgement released today, the Chief Judge Stephen Thackray said he had decided she should continue to live with her father, David Farnell, and his wife Wendy.
The case caused a furore when it was claimed the Farnells had abandoned Gammy, who has Down syndrome, in Thailand.
But in his judgment, Justice Thackray found the Farnells did not abandon Gammy, and had wanted to keep him.
He also refuted allegations the Farnells later sought access to a trust fund set up for Gammy.
After details of the case were made public two years ago, it was revealed that Mr Farnell had been convicted of a child sex offences.
But in his decision, Justice Thackray said there was no evidence he had reoffended since his release from jail in 1999.
Justice Thackray said Pipah had “settled into her new home” and was “thriving in the care of a loving network of family and friends, including Mr Farnell’s ex-wife, and their adult children and their families.”
He said Gammy also “appears to be thriving” in Thailand where he has the “love and support of the members of [Ms Chanuba’s] extended family”.
“I have decided Pipah should not be removed from the only family she has ever known, in order to be placed with people who would be total strangers to her, even though I accept they would love her and would do everything they could to care for all her needs,” he said.
Surrogacy problems highlighted: Judge
Justice Thackray said the case “should also draw attention to the fact that surrogate mothers are not baby-growing machines, or ‘gestational carriers'”.
“They are flesh and blood women who can develop bonds with their unborn children.
“The appalling outcome of Gammy and Pipah being separated has brought commercial surrogacy into the spotlight.
“Quite apart from the separation of the twins, this case serves to highlight the dilemmas that arise when the reproductive capacities of women are turned into saleable commodities, with all the usual fallout when contracts go wrong.”
Proceedings before the WA Family Court are normally confidential, but Justice Thackray ruled the case could be made public because of the level of public interest.
This post was originally published by ABC News.
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