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Bangkok: Thai authorities have ruled out taking legal action against Bunbury couple David and Wendy Farnell who are the biological parents of baby Gammy.
But Sampandh Komrit, secretary-general of the Medical Council of Thailand, said two doctors who delivered the premature twins would be investigated for violating medical regulations. The doctors could lose their licences to practice.
Pattharamon Janbua, the 21-year-old surrogate of Gammy, fears she could face charges after Thai media quoted an official as saying she had broken Thai law by carrying the babies of Australians Wendy and David Farnell.
Department of Health Services Support director-general Bonruang Triruangworawat said human trafficking laws would apply to surrogacy while the military-dominated interim parliament fast-tracks legislation that will permanently shut down Thailand’s booming commercial surrogacy industry that has attracted hundreds of Australians each year.
“The surrogate mothers can face legal action under the human trafficking laws because they are paid to bear a child,” he said.
Ms Pattharamon, known as Goy, is considering going into hiding when Gammy is able to leave a hospital near her home in Chonburi province, 90 kilometres south of Bangkok.
She has received dozens hate messages and has been called a “liar” by Kamonthip Muskawong, the agent known as Joy, who brokered the arrangement between her and the Farnells.
Ms Kamonthip told London’s Telegraph newspaper that Ms Pattharamon was not owed money for the surrogacy as she claimed.
She said Ms Pattharamon had used Facebook to recruit other surrogate mothers, which Ms Pattharamon confirmed but said she had not done for some time.
Thailand’s strict military rulers have made no comment about an appeal from Australia to allow an estimated 150 couples who have surrogacy arrangements in the country to take their babies home. Dozens of babies could be left in legal limbo, the dreams of their biological parents at risk of being shattered.
A Queensland couple experienced difficulty taking their baby out of Bangkok’s airport to fly home last Sunday. The surrogate mother was “extremely uncooperative” and would not go to the airport to assist the distressed couple, according to a source with knowledge of the case.
In another case an Australian couple have been unable to contact the Thai woman carrying their twins after authorities raided a clinic and took away documents. The couple is alarmed they cannot check on the condition of the surrogate and the babies, and are uncertain whether they will be able to take the babies to Australia.
Australian government agencies have set up a committee to lobby the junta that seized power on May 22.
Under proposed new laws a newborn will be the legitimate child of the pregnancy, without considering the sperm or egg of the commissioning parents.
“This is against the genetic relationship and sometimes lead to a conflict between the surrogate mother and the commissioning parents,” said Rarinthip Sirorat, director of the Office of Promotion and Protection of Children, Youth, the Elderly and Vulnerable Groups.
Under the laws those involved in commercial surrogacy will face up to 10 years' jail and fines. Agencies, advertisers or recruiters of surrogate mothers will face up to five years' jail and fines.
Thailand has 44 clinics and medical institutes and 24 doctors licensed to use assisted reproductive technology, using artificial means to achieve pregnancy.
Police said they had identified more surrogate baby “nurseries” in Thailand after taking nine babies from a house in a Bangkok suburb that was rented by a millionaire Japanese businessman.
Police have been told the man, identified as 24-year-old Shigeta Mitsutoki, was the biological father of the babies aged from six months to one year who arranged surrogates to carry them.
The Bangkok Nation newspaper reported that on several occasions in the past security cameras at Bangkok airport showed Mr Mitsutoki carrying a baby as he left the country.
Mr Mitsutoki’s Thai lawyers told police his client wanted the babies to take over his business in Japan when they grow up.
Immigration officials said he had visited Thailand 65 times in the past two years and left Thailand on Thursday. Police said they are investigating whether his actions were lawful under Thai law.
The babies are being cared for in an orphanage, their future uncertain.