The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Surrogacy: British couples warned of pitfalls of shopping for babies abroad

British couples thinking of shopping for surrogacy opportunities abroad have been warned of the dangers after an Australian couple stand accused of abandoning a baby boy with Down's Syndrome, reports the BBC.

British couples thinking of travelling abroad in order to have a surrogate child are being warned to be extra careful, after the tragic case of an abandoned Thai surrogate child hit global news channels.

Gammy Chanbua was born to his biological mother, Pattharamon, in a hospital in Thailand as one of two baby twins.

The twins were the children of an Australian couple, who had paid Pattharamon Chanbua to be their surrogate mother.

Now the Australian couple stands accused of abandoning baby Gammy, after they learnt that the child would be born with Down's syndrome.

Chanbua claims that the Australian couple were told that one of their twins would be born with the condition, and responded by pleading with the biological mother to have a termination, something she refused on religious grounds.

For their part, the Australian couple have claimed that they had no idea their surrogate mother wads having twins, and say they were only told of the existence of a healthy baby girl, who they have since taken home to Australia.

The story has hit world news, with the Australian Prime Minister expressing his personal regret at the situation.

The Australian press have pilloried the couple, with one Australian paper calling the act 'shameful' and 'cruel'.

"It is an act so cruel and mercenary you struggle to believe anyone who thinks they have what it takes to be a parent could go through with it... The ripple effect of their choices will be felt by thousands of people" wrote the Herald Sun newspaper.

Paying for a surrogate mother is illegal in Australia, driving those keen to have a surrogate child to look abroad. The practice is particularly popular in Thailand, where the law is currently fairly relaxed, making it an attractive option for couples looking to conceive.