An Australian couple have refused to bring home a baby born of a surrogate mother they commissioned to have a child for them after it was discovered the baby, a boy, has Down's syndrome. They took the baby’s twin sister back to Australia with them.
The surrogate mother, who lives in Thailand, also said the couple pressured her into having an abortion but she refused because of her Buddhist faith.
The surrogate, or birth mother, is 21 and married. She became pregnant via IVF. She was paid £6,400 to have a child for the couple.
The Daily Telegraph reports that four months later she “learnt that one of her children had Down's syndrome. Doctors told the Australian parents of the baby's condition, and they then said they wanted her to have an abortion.”
The Irish Government’s upcoming Children and Family Relationships outlaws commercial surrogacy although in practice it still leaves the door open for couples or single people to hire surrogate mothers overseas in countries like India and Thailand.
Under the proposed new law it is unclear whether a couple in Ireland who asked another woman to have a baby for them under a non-commercial arrangement could refuse to accept the baby after it is born.
Many European countries ban surrogacy outright in all in its forms because of the many ethical difficulties it creates.