SYDNEY - The Thai surrogate mother of a baby caught in an abandonment scandal says she will not let the boy return to his Australian biological parents even though they now say they want to bring him home.
"I will take care of my baby until I die ... no one will take my baby away from me," the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday quoted Pattharamon Janbua, 21, as saying. "You are dreaming. You are already guilty of abandoning Gammy and now you think you can get away with this."
"I want them to come to Thailand. I will take Gammy to see them. But they will never get my boy," she added.
Pattharamon made the comments after the couple, David and Wendy Farnell, broke their silence on Channel Nine's 60 minutes on Sunday night.
During the television interview, David Farnell said they wanted to claim seven-month old Baby Gammy and reunite him with his twin sister Pipah.
The couple told 60 Minutes that they had wanted to take Gammy and Pipah back to Australia but Pattharamon threatened to report them to the police. They said they never agreed to her offer to look after Gammy.
''We asked her can you please give us back our baby boy,'' Wendy Farnell said. ''She got very, very angry. She said if she cannot take (the) boy, she will keep both of them.''
The couple said they took Pipah home to ensure her safety before seeking advice on how to get custody of Gammy.
But the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Pattharamon as denying the claims made by the Farnells, insisting the couple abandoned Gammy after earlier asking her to have an abortion, which she refused because it is against her Buddhist beliefs.
The Guardian newspaper described the Farnells' interview as "intense and at times bizarre", saying there were many contradictions in the interview. For example, despite their claims that they want their child back, the father admitted "no parent wants a son with a disability".
"It was late into the pregnancy that we learned the boy had Down's," he said. "They sent us the reports but they didn't do the checks early enough. If it would have been safe for that embryo to be terminated, we probably would have terminated it, because he has a handicap and this is a sad thing. And it would be difficult – not impossible, but difficult."
Sydney Morning Herald said under Thai law, the surrogate mother is the legal mother of a baby in all circumstances and the only way the Farnells could take Gammy would be if Pattharamon signed papers to agree.
Since returning to their home in South Bunbury, Western Australia, the couple have only contacted the agency which brokered the surrogacy deal, the newspaper reported, quoting David Farnell as saying he sent the agency ''a couple of thousand dollars'' to go towards Gammy's medical treatment. But Pattharamon denied getting any money.
The scandal erupted after the Australian couple were accused of abandoning Baby Gammy in Thailand and returning home with his healthy twin sister. They had initially claimed their daughter did not have a twin brother, but they later admitted they had known about the twin and were told the boy had a life-threatening heart condition and had only days to live. Subsequent medical checks by a Bangkok hospital showed that the boy had no heart conditions, contrary to media reports.
The Daily Mail said the Farnells decided to speak to 60 Minutes to ask Australia to hear their side of the story before passing judgment on them.
During the interview, the Australian father was also asked about his history of sexual offences against girls as young as five . He said he no longer had sexual urges towards young girls after undergoing counselling in prison.
''I don't have this urge to do anything anymore,'' he said. ''She (Pipah) will be 100 per cent safe. I will do everything in the world to protect my little girl.''
"I have been convicted of child sex offences and I hang my head in shame for that and I am deeply regretful and I am so sorry to those people,'' he said.
The 56-year-old, who also has three adult children, said he realised he had done the wrong thing after thinking how devastated he would be if someone sexually abused his children.
His wife said she trusted her husband. "He had three children before, they all love him and respect him so much. They said he's a wonderful father."
Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Australian couple underwent IVF treatment for eight years before engaging a surrogate mother. David Farnell told 60 Minutes that he did some research on the internet before visiting clinics in Thailand and then signing a contract with an agency.