An application has been lodged to make 11-month-old baby Gammy, who was born to a Thai surrogate mother, an Australian Citizen.
Peter Baines, the founder of the Hands Across The Water charity that helped find Gammy and his family a new home, revealed that an application had been lodged with the Australian embassy in Bangkok, by his Thai surrogate mother Pattaramon Chanbua.
“The application will be assessed on its merits. It’s going through the normal process,” Peter said.
The Australian Embassy has not commented, however, the ABC has reported that the paperwork could be approved within weeks.
Pattaramon’s grandmother, Pichaya Nathongchai, who shared the family home with Pattaramon’s young family, told the ABC that she hoped a successful citizenship application would secure Gammy's future.
"I don't know about me, I am old," she said.
"I don't know about his mother, who will die first.
"If he had citizenship, people from his home might take care of him.
"I don't know the future but I hope he can get a higher education and wish he could go to school and study and improve his condition."
Gammy's Australian parents - David and Wendy Farnell speaking on 60 Minutes.
Gammy is the baby at the centre of the Thai surrogacy scandal in which the Australian couple David and Wendy Farnell, who sought the surrogacy, were accused of abandoning their son after finding out he had down syndrome, while taking his healthy twin sister, Pipah, home.
They later denied the claims of abandonment on 60 Minutes, but there were further controversies when it was revealed that David, the child’s biological Australian father, is a convicted child sex offender. Pattharamon Chanbua subsequently demanded that Gammy’s sister Pipah be returned to her so that she could care for her.
Although the Australian couple were investigated by Child Protection services, custody of Pipah currently still remains with them.
Child protection minister, Helen Morton, said earlier this month that a comprehensive assessment had been conducted into Pipah’s wellbeing and that a safety plan was to be put in place for the young baby girl.
“This is just the beginning of the department’s interaction with this family, and there will be continual and rigorous testing of the safety plan, as well as continued support provided,” the minister said.
Since the case first came to light in August, the military appointed Cabinet in Thailand has approved new laws that prohibit the practise of commercial surrogacy.