David and Wendy Farnell, of Bunbury, are reportedly traumatised after allegations by their Thai surrogate that they had gone home with their biological daughter but not her twin brother Gammy, who has Down syndrome, made headlines all over the world.
"This has been absolutely devastating for them, they are on the edge," a family friend told the Bunbury Mail.
It has also emerged that Mr Farnell has convictions for child sex offences against at least three girls aged under 13, for which he was found guilty in 1998 and has served time in jail, according to the Nine Network.
His wife has reportedly insisted her electrician husband, who reportedly has three adult children and a previous marriage, is nevertheless a good man – but the WA Department of Child protection is now investigating their case.
A statement made through a family friend of the Farnells to the Bunbury Mail today claimed the allegations by Pattharamon Januba, a 21-year-old Thai villager who says she was paid to be their surrogate has been looking after now eight-month-old baby Gammy ever since, are lies.
The friend claims the couple were not told that Gammy had Down syndrome but they did know he had a congenital heart condition; that they didn’t ask for an abortion; and that they thought he had no chance of survival.
"Legally they have been told not to say anything but they wouldn’t be able to anyway," the friend told the Bunbury Mail.
"Gammy was very sick when he was born and the biological parents were told he would not survive and he had a day, at best, to live and to say goodbye.
"All this happened when Thailand was in a military lockdown and very difficult to get around… The biological parents were heartbroken that they couldn’t take their boy with them and never wanted to give him up, but to stay would risk them losing their daughter also.
"They prayed for Gammy to survive but were told by doctors that he was too sick, not because of the Down syndrome but because of his heart and lung conditions and infection."
The twins were supposed to be born at a major international hospital in Thailand, the couple claim, but Ms Pattharamon instead went to a smaller hospital, which made the surrogacy agreement void.
Because of this, the Farnells had no legal right to their biological babies, who were born two months premature. There was a legal battle to bring home their daughter but Ms Pattharamon allegedly said she wanted to keep Gammy and give him a proper Thai funeral.
Contradicting previous media reports, the couple claim they had bought baby items for both babies and hadn't ignored Gammy.