X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Blogs Coffee House

The Down’s syndrome surrogacy story is horrible. But Britain has no right to sneer

4 August 2014

8:15 PM

4 August 2014

8:15 PM

To look on the heartwarming side, Australians have shown that they are rather more humane as a nation than the anonymous couple in the news for allegedly discarding one of the twins borne for them by a Thai surrogate six months ago. Scores of Australians have volunteered to adopt Gammy, the Down’s syndrome baby that was commissioned from Pattaramon Chanbua by an Australian couple only to be abandoned by his parents when they discovered his condition; they took  his healthy twin sister though (and the couple now deny knowledge of Gammy). The fund to pay for the baby’s medical treatment, generously funded by Australians, now stands at more than $180,000.

The other party to come well out of it is obviously the unfortunate surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, who declined to abort the baby when its condition was discovered at four months’ gestation. She says she loves the baby as her own, as you would, having carried it. And she has done a public service by warning other Thai women from engaging in surrogacy:

‘…don’t get into this business as a surrogate… Don’t just think only for money … if something goes wrong no one will help us and the baby will be abandoned from society, then we have to take responsibility for that.’

[Alt-Text]


It would be good to think that other poor Thai women will decline to provide gestation services for wealthy foreign couples as a result of the publicity; I rather worry though that the only effect will be to advertise the sums that these couples pay for it – £16,000 in her case, enough to educate her two other children.

The surrogacy industry doesn’t come well out of this, does it? The commodification of human life that goes with the IVF trade has its logical conclusion in what is alleged here: in the rejection of the human product that doesn’t come up to customer expectations. If you separate genetic parenthood from gestational parenthood and possibly also from the humdrum business of raising the baby, and make it a matter for commercial transaction, then you’re going to de-humanise the business of procreation. Yotam Ottolenghi, the celebrity chef who recently had his baby, Max, from a surrogate, says that in Britain surrogates should be allowed to take payment. This case, I think, suggests that controls over this whole womb-renting business should be even tighter.

But I don’t think Britons can sneer at the Australian couple here, who apparently regarded themselves as ‘too old’ – the husband’s in his fifties – to look after this unfortunate child. According to the most recent figures, from 2012, as many as 994 foetuses with Down’s syndrome were aborted in Britain. And because the abortion is on the basis of disability, you do know that it can happen at any time, right up to birth? Nope, when it comes to discarding human beings on the basis that they’re not up to standard, I really don’t think Britain can take the moral high ground.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close