In today’s world of advanced biotech, there are endless possibilities. In the area of procreation, the possibilities are not only endless, but positively terrifying as newborn infants are now being treated like commodities as the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Last year, an unmarried Australian couple contracted with a Thai woman, Pattharamon Janbua (21), to act as a surrogate for their children. In return, Janbua was to receive the equivalent of $11,000. This type of “medical tourism” is a common practice in Australia, to hire a Thai woman to act as a surrogate mother. It is much cheaper to hire a Thai woman than to contract with an Australian. It is a practice that is becoming ever more common in western countries.
In this case however, things went very wrong. Four months into the pregnancy, it was discovered that one of the surrogate twins had developed Down’s syndrome, a genetic condition where a person has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. (One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.)
The couple’s response was the same as many parents have when they make this discovery; the Australian couple wanted the surrogate mother to abort the child. Janbua, because of her religious beliefs (she is a Buddhist), refused.
So when the twins were delivered, the Australian couple took the baby without Down Syndrome and returned to Australia.
They abandoned their other child.
They left the other child, named Gammy, with the surrogate who had no money to care for the child. (In addition to Down Syndrome, Gammy has a congenital heart condition.)
This case provoked outrage in both Thailand and Australia and caused the Thai government to limit surrogate parents to those people who are relatives to the genetic parents.
In Australia, the couple has been rebuked, being called “greedy, selfish people”. Another Australian compared their actions to someone choosing a toy in a store and wondered what they would tell Gammy’s twin about the brother they left behind, abandoned and forgotten.
As horrible as this situation was, it is but a natural offshoot of the culture of “choice”. People demand to have a choice. They want choice in the food they eat, clothes they wear, their entertainment, their lifestyle, and tragically, in bringing new life into the world. Increasingly, we see children as yet another consumer product, a product that can be exchanged or even refused if we are not 100% satisfied.
This is the natural, ghastly conclusion of our culture. We use the concept of “choice” and “reproductive freedom” as an excuse to do unspeakable things. It is part of a world that is blurring the line between good and evil.
On an uplifting note, the surrogate mother, who never met the Australian couple and didn’t receive her full payment (because she only delivered one “acceptable” child), has taken the child as her own and has forgiven the couple for abandoning their child and is raising the child as her own. (She has received donations amounting to $54,000US from around the world to help with the baby’s medical treatment.)
We should pray that we, as a society, will reclaim the same belief as this Thai mother.
- Australian couple leaves Down syndrome baby with Thai surrogate
— Sydney Morning Herald
- Australian couple abandon surrogate twin with Down’s syndrome – but keep his sister
— The Independent.ie
- Thai surrogate mom forgives couple who left behind twin with down syndrome
— Associated Press at Fox News
— Christian Medical Fellowship
- Breeders: A Subclass of Women?
— The Center for Bioethics and Culture