Monday, December 16, 2013

Dealing with fertility and surrogacy during the holidays...

This is a tough time of year for anyone dealing with infertility and surrogacy.  The past week has been very emotional for several of my clients and friends - we have spent lots of time of the phone in "therapy" sessions.   The holidays in general make many of us hyper emotional (just ask MY family about my own holiday melt downs over the years), but it's especially difficult for those who are trying to have babies at the same time.   I have several clients taking vacations versus heading "home" for the holidays.  This is usually met with a lack of understanding on the part of the rest of the family - some in the family just can't understand WHY the struggling couple isn't coming home to celebrate with sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews.   It's supposed to be about ALL the family, right?   I'm here to say, NO, it's not about the rest of the family - it is about the feelings of the couple who are trying to remain hopeful and keep their heads above the emotional turmoil that is always always lurking when facing the hardships of creating a family.  So, if you just aren't ready to face going home this year, it's OKAY to want to go off to lands far away from the typical Norman Rockwell scene.   This is a very individualized experience - you are entitled to feel exactly how you are feeling at this time.

Even intended parents who are pregnant struggle at times when they are looking at family members who are pregnant and actually able to carry and SEE and feel this experience.   Some have expressed to me a feeling of sad detachment right now - yes, they are thrilled to be pregnant, and next year will be fantastic when they have their baby(ies), but right now it still seems so intangible, so distant.   I know that for a woman, it's always going to feel strange to have someone else carrying the child that she always wanted and thought would be inside of her own body.   But, I'm noticing the men expressing the same feelings - I honestly never thought it would hit the male as hard as it is.  This is particularly true of the single clients.

It is my hope that everyone reading this understands that all of these feelings are normal.  Others feel this way too.  And, I'm here to tell you that you are not being selfish in your self preservation if you've decided to break tradition and fly away this holiday.  It's OKAY.  Do what you need to do to keep afloat.  This is the hardest undertaking of any other experience in life, and if you've not been through it, you can't really fully understand what this takes out of a person emotionally.   For those who are reading this who are the support group for the Intended Parent, do not take it personally that they just can't be with you this year, it's NOT about you right now.   NEXT holiday season will hopefully be much much better for all.

Take care of yourselves everyone, keep going and thinking ahead.  Talk to someone if you're feeling sad, detached, or are struggling.  There are many of us out here who do understand.   Let me know if I can help.

Kim Hendrix
Complete Surrogacy Solutions

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Day of Celebration for my clients through surrogacy in Thailand!

I have something wonderful to share today!   Each of my clients who have joined me with Dr. Pisit in Bangkok have ALL received strong positive Betas on their first attempts!  Just received two more positives this morning and got to make those special early morning calls of congratulations!  We now have pregnant clients from the US and Australia through surrogacy in Thailand.   I'm blown away and so excited for everyone.

                                (Special carrier, Miss K. is pregnant too!)

Even on days when I have to share bad news with clients, I feel so lucky to be a part of this journey with each and every person.  There is nothing more personal than being a part of building a family, and I'm here for the highs and the lows.  

I will be going back to Bangkok in February for another "group cycle" for a number of clients.   Some of these clients will be utilizing Thai egg donors provided by Dr. Pisit, some utilizing "known donors", and many will be utilizing egg donors through my egg donor partner,   Carrie has a large group of egg donors from which to choose, so please let me know if you are interested in joining us in February for what I anticipate as another successful group!   I will also have clients from the UK on this trip as well.

Of course, you can also "cycle" outside of the group, but I am always present for the cycles where I have multiple clients attempting.  This gives me the opportunity to attend both the egg donor ultrasounds and follow their progress, and also allows me to visit with my clients' pregnant surrogates and attend their appointments as well.   This is the personalized service that I am proud to offer to each client.

I also have clients cycling in India with Dr. Bakshi - I have a number of clients expecting to cycle soon - as noted in my prior blog, some will have to wait for January starts as medical visas have been delayed.  This is frustrating, but hopefully we can prevent delays in the future by keeping up with the ever changing requirements.   India is still a viable choice for surrogacy for heterosexual couples, there might be a couple of hurdles to jump, but the process for the intended mother is still easier from a legal standpoint.   The legal process for establishing intended mother rights in Thailand is doable, but it takes time, and the potential of a second trip to Thailand with the baby.   I am still working on these aspects, and I will continue to research and learn.

From the icy frozen land that is Dallas this weekend, I wish everyone well!

Kim Hendrix

Friday, December 6, 2013

More hold ups with Medical Visas for Surrogacy in India

We have had several hold ups with medical visas for India of late.   BLS does not want to have to actually "look" at the paperwork you include with your application, rather they just want to forward it in a pile to the Indian Consulate.  (Oh Travisa, how I miss you!).   The Consulate doesn't like the "disorganized" pile, so they just reject the initial application, despite having included ALL the items on the list.

So, my advice, based on numerous hold ups for clients these past few weeks - from Brazil and the US.   Make a cover sheet for each piece of documentation - as in label and staple each item.  They call this "flagging" in their requests for the same information again.   Each client who is experiencing delays has submitted everything on the list, everything was smooth (aside from the longer time it takes to process in general), but suddenly, clients who have submitted ALL documents to BLS are asked to send them again, all of them, "flagged".  Also asked to send TWO copies.

From BLS:   Additional Documents Required by Consulate : 
( Applicant needs to provide the following evidence for surrogacy:
1) Marriage certificate (Which should be minimum two years old).
2) US Government�s letter recognizing the surrogacy and the child�s entry as biological child into the USA.
3) An undertaking clarifying that the parents will take care of the child.
4) Registered documentation signifying that the A-R-T Clinic is registered with the government.
5) A notarized agreement between the couple and the surrogate mother.
All of these documentations should be properly flagged before submitting to BLS. BLS will have to take the time to flag it now.)

The clients who received this notice submitted all documents as noted. BLS is not going to go through the docs and just put a sticky note on them for you.   BUT, the original documents are not being returned - you have to make an entire new copy of EVERYTHING!  In duplicate.

Another BIG issue - suddenly clients are being told by the West Coast office that the "new" maximum duration for medical visas is 6 months.  There is no longer a ONE YEAR visa!   So, we will have to apply directly with the Indian consulate for extensions.   This makes NO sense to me, so much of this doesn't.

At any rate, there's the latest from the ground on the medical visa process - my Brazilian surrogacy clients for India also faced a hassle at the consulate general in Rio.   They are being granted the medical visas to start their treatment, but the process seems to be getting more difficult by the week, and notarization of items that were not witnessed in the past is now being required, at least in Brazil.   

So, 2 copies of everything, with cover pages or "flags" as to what each item is.  Submit ASAP.   If anyone is granted a year long medical visa, please let us know.   BLS reps INSISTED that there is now only a 6 month avail for medical. 

As always, best surrogacy wishes to all.   The road to start may be a little rocky, but it's still worth it in the end.   Sharing info helps everyone.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

One of my favorite parts of my job....

Getting to spent time with my clients' pregnant surrogates!  We always ask the surrogate mothers for their levels of comfort prior to my meeting or photographing them, so far all the surrogates here in Thailand have been excited to meet me, and the other surrogates in the room also visit with me as well.  Through a translator, and through body and a sort of sign language, we communicate about morning sickness, weight gain, and about the gift they are giving to others.   Ms P., photographed here with me today, is carrying twins in Bangkok for one of my US clients.   All is well, aside from some morning sickness, a great ultrasound, which of course I was able to video to send to my Intended Parent (with Ms. P's permission).   This is an important part of the process for me personally, and I am respectful of their personal wishes.  Visiting with these special women, treating them to something special when I see them every 3 months, and letting them know how much we all care about them -  It's an amazing feeling.   I have 4 more surrogates to meet on this trip, and I can't wait!   I will see all of the surrogates for my clients again in both Delhi and Thailand in January/February.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hello from Bangkok!

Amazing!!!  That's how it feels to be here.  Within 10 hours of landing I was in the office filming an ultrasound with one of my client's pregnant surrogate!  She was comfortable with me being with her, and she was very open and  nice and it was great to ask her questions about how she is feeling.   She is carrying twins and I was glad that she's doing very well and that the babies are on target.  This type of surrogate contact is important to me, I want these special women to understand that they are truly appreciated by me, and by my Intended Parents.  I will be seeing all of them throughout their pregnancies.   I love it!

The city is modern, clean, the doctor and staff completely approachable, experienced, and obviously caring about all involved in this process.  The office is in a high rise building that also hosts a 5 star hotel.

I am so happy, and the group cycle is off to an excellent start.  The doctor has each donor on a customized protocol based on her ultrasound and lab results.  No two are exactly the same, which is how things should be.   The staff knows each donor by name, and they are comfortable and treated well.

It's fantastic to walk into a bright airy waiting room bustling with donors, surrogates and Intended Parents.  There is no feeling of embarrassment or secrecy, just everyone going about their individual parts of this process.  There is a sense of peaceful energy in that waiting room.

I am honored to be working with Dr. Pisit and All IVF.   I now can say this about two doctors and two clinics in two very different places - I also have this with Dr. Bakshi and International Fertility Centre in India.   It feels so good!!!

Next week is full of meetings with lawyers and Embassies, and of course more ultrasounds to film.   I have many questions about ensuring second parent rights for clients in the US, and other countries as well.   It's vital to understand all of these aspects.   Flying blind and solo in international surrogacy is not advisable.  I want to be sure all of my clients are educated and safe upon entering into something so emotional, expensive, and sometimes nerve wracking.

The hotel we are staying in is beautiful and very close to the clinic - within a short walking distance.  No need to cab all the time!  Public transport is nice here too - the Sky Train is easily accessible and safe.

I'll update as things develop.   In the meantime, do your research, feel good about what you're planning and feel free to ask questions.


ps. And for those who like to shop - WOW!   It runs the gamut, from the weekend craft market, to the fancy malls, to the crazy MBK mall that has every single thing  you'd ever want in electronics, knock-offs, and luxury goods.   When the Thai say "food court" in a mall, it's not anything like ours at home - this is full scale dining and unending selection.  So, even on rainy humid days, there is plenty to do.   We will be doing all sorts of temple tours.   All of the young women in the group are excited to be here, and so am I.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Positives in Bangkok!!!

Some nice strong betas coming from All IVF Center and Dr. Pisit in Bangkok!  It's exciting especially on first tries when going with a new clinic, and a new country.

(One negative from a dear friend for whom I was so hopeful that this was going to be THE cycle.  She's been trying for a while, but this was her first donor cycle in BKK.   Her time is coming, I know it, but it still hurts to post the successes of others when I know that she is suffering.  You know who you are, and you WILL get there, I feel it, and I'll be celebrating your positive very soon.)

Gearing up for the November trip to Bangkok and Delhi, have a group cycle coordinated, and it will hopefully be as successful as the first cycles with donors.  I will be in Bangkok for a few weeks getting the ground work established, meeting with Embassies and attorneys to assist with exit processes for various countries.   I'll post the findings, I know many are anxious to hear exactly what the process will entail, and this I shall gladly provide.  

I have many heterosexual couples starting cycles with Dr. Bakshi in India as well, from the US, Canada, and Brazil.   I anticipate many happy successes with Dr. Bakshi's "inclusive prenatal package".   We've tried to eliminate many of the extra line-item charges, and do include any necessary surrogate hospitalization, medication, delivery and multiple tries in the package.  A realistic, no surprises package is a very nice reassurance for those considering going to India.  

India still has the plus of allowing the intended mother to appear on the birth certificate. In Thailand, the surrogate mother appears.  I'm hopeful that I will have a better understanding of how to navigate that issue upon my return from the trip next month.  It would be nice to offer workable solutions in both countries for all of my clients.  I fear that India will remain closed to singles/and or gay clients, so I will work to make Bangkok as streamlined as possible.  

India produces so many healthy beautiful children and helps an equal amount of surrogates and their own families each year.  I hope that the government and doctors are able to find a balance to keep the industry safe and thriving.

Stay tuned for more information on the next group cycle, set for February in BKK and potentially in India for those considering Caucasian egg donors. Solo cycles available too with Caucasian, Indian and Thai donors each month.  


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"They are wrong" - words of wisdom

It's not always easy being the International Surrogacy advocate in the US surrounded by so many domestic agencies, many of whom are adamantly opposed to surrogacy in India and Thailand.  As I walk around ASRM this week, I'm learning that some of this is motivated by financial concerns in general competition for clients, but some is really lack of education about the safe opportunities that do exist in some clinics abroad.  I maintain the belief that there are more people interested in surrogacy than we can even collectively assist - there are enough clients to go around, and it's our job as facilitators to provide the very best information for positive outcomes, considering the budgetary and time constraints that many of us have, particularly here in the US.  This often means heading overseas, and I want to help those people who are brave enough to do what it is they personally need to do to get to family within the bounds of ethics and laws. This comes with a degree of needing and developing some pretty thick skin and strong conviction.

I had the enormous pleasure of meeting a woman at Men Having Babies last week who made an immediate impact on my life and my outlook - Dr. Ann Keissling of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation.  Dr. Keissling, among many other things, has developed a program called SPAR for Special Program of Assisted Reproduction to assist men with special needs, including HIV who wish to become fathers.   Of course being a pioneer in something as controversial as AIDS and HIV, not to mention combined with family building, comes with a lot of criticism, a lot of "no's", and the need for tenacity and a fundamental belief in what you are doing is absolutely the right thing.   Dr. Keissling has such tenacity and core belief system - she KNOWS she is right.  I asked her how she has handled the negativity she's encountered over her long and distinguished career.  She told me that one must move forward with the belief that he/she is right, and others are just wrong.  Period.   That simple.  I had never thought of it that way, and as I made my way back from the Boston Convention center after a rather strong discussion with a domestic agency really opposed to what I am personally doing - I kept repeating Ann's words in my head, "They are wrong".  And, they are!

No one said this was going to be easy, and I accept that.   But I know I'm doing the right thing, I am digging in to find the best ways to handle legal situations, clinic choices, ethical considerations, etc.  I know that I am able to help people, and I know that I am being honest in my approach.   It's going to come with negative words about me, and I'm finding those words to be, simply, "WRONG".   So, thank you Dr. Keissling for that philosophy - you have made my journey as I weed through all that is international surrogacy abroad so much easier.   I have made many changes these past several months and have come to many realizations, the most important being: if one shoe doesn't fit, it's simply the wrong size and move to the shoe that does fit.  It might take a couple of tries along the way, and it might not be Jimmy Choo, but it's important that you know that you are comfortable with your selection, and that your feet and toes aren't going to have blisters at the end of a long night.  JC might be the right fit for some, I'm not disparaging Choo, but if it's not fitting, check out the TOMS.

For MORE information on options for the SPAR program for HIV+ people interested in family building, click

Monday, October 14, 2013

Reminder of guidelines tightening in India

As we are entering the phase in India where the last babies are being born from surrogacy commissioned prior to the enforcement of medical visa requirements, it appears that the government is once again reminding us of the requirements of medical visas.  The babies born over the next month are likely the last ones who will be "grandfathered" in under old rules, which allowed for tourist visas for baby pick ups.   Also, I'm taking this as an indication that we're not going to be opening back up for singles surrogacy in India anytime soon.   Sadly.

Be sure to document, document, document!   

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dr. Rita Bakshi is here in Boston

Just thought I'd let any interested IP couples interested in surrogacy in India, Dr. Rita Bakshi is here in Boston for ASRM for a few days.  If you would like to have a meet or a Skype, please let me know!


Friday, October 11, 2013

ASRM Boston, Men Having Babies, Medical Visa assistance

In Boston attending the American Society of Reproductive Medicine conference this week - a lot of learning and connections to be made!

Had a great time last week at the Men Having Babies conference in NYC - the team there did a fantastic job - large turn out, informative, and very friendly. Many many strollers and babies born all over the world through surrogacy!  So inspiring, and there really are many options to meet the needs of each individual embarking on this journey, so shop around!

Just thought I'd post a link to the Consulate General requirements for Medical Visa applications.  I've had many people asking me for assistance with this matter, so I thought I'd post it for those IPs, even those not working with me.  It's important to include ALL documents, despite BLS not giving this information, and suggesting that you do not need these documents.   BLS is new at the game, and all of my clients who have followed my instructions have received medical visas promptly without further requests from the Indian Consulate.

Include your marriage certificate as well, also the treatment letter from your clinic in the US suggesting the use of surrogacy is helpful as well.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A presentation by the BBC on Surrogacy in India

This aired last night.  I'm trying to find a way to watch this - it's listed as being on BBC 4.   There are repeats, and the link isn't available though on I player, so if anyone watches this, please give feedback on it.  I'm very curious to know how this is portrayed, is it biased?  Is it accurate?  The article yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle was amazing, and again this is about Dr. Patel.  While I perhaps don't agree with some of the things about her practice personally, I have to say, she's certainly putting it all out there and has had a successful program.

Again, I support surrogacy in India as a great option for family building, but I PERSONALLY prefer to be in Delhi with Dr. Bakshi, modern conveniences, access to the US Embassy, the FRRO, and high level specialty NICU hospitals should an issue arise.   There are many different options available for Surrogacy in India, so make sure that you (Intended Parents) are comfortable with the set up of the clinic you select.  And for goodness sake, have a facilitator to help you navigate!

This show sure looks interesting!  If anyone can see it, please let me know!

"Living inside the House of Surrogates"  BBC

Monday, September 30, 2013

San Francisco Chronicle article on Surrogacy in India

THIS is powerful reporting.  This is the good, the bad, and everything in between, no mincing of words, no prejudice from one side or the other - just reporting "how it is".

This article gives you insight into the importance of education prior to undertaking surrogacy abroad - it's not a journey for everyone.  And, in my own opinion, feel that it is more prudent to do this in one of the bigger cities with a bit more modern facilities and access to Embassies and FRRO.

You WILL have a c-section in India 99% of the time, you will have many questions, there will be barriers in communication along the way, but if you're working with a facilitator, like me, you do have more answers, or should anyway.  Why do clinics shy away from this?  On surrogate housing, Dr. Patel uses a dorm like setting because her clinic is rural and many of the women would have to travel too far for appointments and this gives the physicians and nurses, social workers access to them.  Other physicians in larger cities believe in allowing the surrogate to live in her own home with supplies provided, and rents paid, others have smaller homes where there are only 2 surrogates per room.    With Dr. Bakshi, the Intended Parents have a choice in where the surrogate lives.

It is heart wrenching to see the photo of the surrogate in this story struggling with pain after her c-section, trying to clothe her daughter.  Why is someone not assisting with this?  I do believe that c-sections are actually better for the surrogates themselves.  The process of laboring for hours and hours combined with the actual pushing out of a life is so very emotional and I think creates a bigger bond between the surrogate and the baby she is carrying.   As a woman who has had 24 hours of labor, followed by and emergency c-section, and then what we refer to in our home as a "drive through baby" scheduled c-section, I'll take the C-section over labor ANY day.   The first week is tough, the incision burns like crazy, but I would imagine vaginal tearing would hurt just as much, and could also create more bladder issues for the surrogate moving forward.   I would hope that the proper medications are given to the surrogates to assist with their pain.  It is cruel to consider otherwise, and the article doesn't state if she is medicated or not.

Some in the industry may consider this story to be negative, but I think this is actually a great piece on what surrogacy looks like in rural India.  And, the process worked! And usually does.   Two families profoundly impacted positively.   None of us can imagine being excited over an essential hole in the ground as a bathroom, but this is now something that this family has that they did not have before.   $50.00 a month salary for the husband.   $7,000 + for 10 months of family separation, train rides, inconveniences and great commitment from this generous woman.   Which gives that family a greater chance at a future?  For SOMETHING?

I am sure this will cause some stir among the naysayers, but I think that this piece is tremendous.  India surrogacy

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Website live! Complete Surrogacy Solutions

It has taken a bit of time and several rounds of edits, but we have finally released our introductory website,   In the coming weeks we will be adding more information, including the legal aspects for securing second parent rights for babies born through surrogacy in Thailand.  We have tons of information to share!   As Surrogacy in Thailand is relatively new, we are striving to become the central resource in the US for education and legal aspects of this amazing opportunity for gay and/or single international surrogacy.

Our program in India is unrivaled in its transparency and "inclusive" pre-natal package, which provides security through complete surrogate hospitalization and medication coverage through birth.   Great success rates at a lower price than other clinics who have numerous non-included line items and an over abundance of costly surrogate hospitalizations.  

I am very proud to be working with both Dr. Rita Bakshi and Dr. Pisit.   Both physicians support the Educated Intended Parent model.   

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Barilla Pasta anti-gay family statement

Okay, two blogs in one day, but I find this too important to not speak about.  Everyone has seen that a major pasta company has come out stating that they will never have a gay family represent them in advertising.   Personally, I don't buy my products based on who is in the advertisement, but I do have a problem with what was said about LGBT families and adoption by the Chairman of Barilla, Guido Barilla, "I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose".  

Do children adopted by heterosexual couples get to choose their parents?

In his "Clarification" remarks he stated the following:

"I respect gay marriages"

followed by,

"In its advertising Barilla represents the family, because it is what welcomes everyone."  

Obviously NOT everyone.

Men Having Babies Seminar in NYC

A shout out to those in the NY area - Men Having Babies, a non-profit LGBT family building organization is hosting a conference in Manhattan on October 6th.  I'll be in attendance, and look forward to meeting others considering surrogacy options.  MHB is an excellent resource and provides both education and surrogacy funding opportunities.   The focus is primarily on domestic surrogacy, and there will be many sponsors present and available for private consultation including attorneys, physicians, and agencies.  Participation fee is only $10.00 pre-paid, or $15.00 at the door.  

I'd love to see many there!  

I will also be available for one-on-one meetings on Saturday and Monday should anyone be interested in surrogacy in Thailand or surrogacy in India.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Media Juxtaposition

Interesting because many articles in the media regarding international surrogacy have suggested that "rich Westerners" are taking advantage of "poor women" in Asian countries providing surrogacy.

This article made me smile.  Congrats to all who turn to surrogacy in any country! May all your dreams come true.   There truly are opportunities that suit the individual needs of each person in Surrogacy Land.

Happy Tuesday!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Families Through Surrogacy - "Model Search"

Families Through Surrogacy would love to hear from you about your surrogacy journey, and to obtain some great photos of babies born through surrogacy either domestically or abroad to feature on our website and Facebook page.  PM me if interested!

Kim Hendrix
Families Through Surrogacy
Director of Marketing and Sponsorship
Founder, Complete Surrogacy Solutions

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Families Through Surrogacy - Educational Surrogacy Organization

Families Through Surrogacy is a newly formed International Surrogacy non-profit organization developed to provide comprehensive education, support, and a central resource for those interested in pursuing surrogacy either internationally or domestically (here in the US).   We are planning two conferences in the US for March of 2014 - one in the Washington, DC area (March 15th and 16th) , and  be in San Francisco the (March 22nd and 23rd).   The programs are based on the Surrogacy Australia model, and conferences will be held in several global locations.

We are in the process of screening sponsors and speakers who represent the best of the industry, those who have consistently provided ethical surrogacy options, who promote best-practices and communication, and are proven experts in the industry.  In addition, we will also highlight several individual speakers who are at various stages in the surrogacy process.  We will focus on all aspects of the surrogacy process - from selecting your providers, agencies, lawyers, cryo-transportation, DNA processes, etc.   These will be large scale events and will offer options for both married heterosexual couples, singles, and the LGBT community.   One on one opportunities will be available for conferences with individual providers.

I will be updating more as time goes on, as I am supporting the efforts for the US conferences.  In the meantime, please visit for more information.  For direct questions, feel free to contact me personally at   I'm excited to be part of the formation of a wonderful resource for the surrogacy community.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Semen shipment to Bangkok - SUCCESS!

Another smooth shipment from Shannon at Cryport!   I can't say enough about her services, and I'm thankful to have her for my clients.  Great communication, and follow through.

By the way, all suggestions for resources are non-paid referrals.  However, my clients do often have the benefit of special shipping rates.  I would rather the clients receive savings on things whenever possible, than to accept referrals from specialized providers.  This is an expensive process and keeping costs in check is part of my job that I take very seriously.

Another special thanks of the day goes to my client Fred for his thoughtful comments about me in his recent blog.  I am thankful for clients like him who become true life long friends.  His outline of the exit process is GREAT!   I couldn't have done it better, and I'm so happy that he's home safely with his two precious little guys.

Kim Hendrix
Complete Surrogacy Solutions

Monday, August 26, 2013

Complete Surrogacy Solutions

So, going to the next level!

Complete Surrogacy Solutions is an affordable boutique surrogacy client management company.   I work directly with two doctors only as their American Client Manager - one fabulous and well known doctor in Delhi who offers an "all inclusive prenatal" package with high success rates for my heterosexual and married couples, and one highly experienced and esteemed doctor in Bangkok who offers a "one stop" surrogacy package for my single and or gay clients.  I am only taking on a few clients per month, and handle everything that I can to make this process as smooth as I can.

I'm very excited about this opportunity, and have many clients who are already signed up and ready to go to both doctors.  In fact,  one of my couples just had their medical visas approved without needing extra time or more documentation!  I had them submit EVERYTHING to BLS, despite BLS claiming that they didn't think the documentation was necessary.  However, better to learn from lessons past than to assume anything in this process!

Website and Complete Surrogacy Solutions blog set to go.  We're on Facebook.  Please spread the word - honest client management, access to surrogates during my quarterly visits to Delhi and Bangkok, honesty with regards to surrogate housing, financial transparency, basically everything that people have asked me for is being covered.   Open communication.

I have a group cycle starting in Thailand set for November,  I will be present for all medical procedures and will meet each surrogate and egg donor for group .   I can accept a few more clients in the next few weeks before I have to close new applicants for the November cycle.  If you need a Caucasian egg donor agency, I happen to know of an excellent agency with donors who are well screened and prepared to travel and begin their cycles.   I will be sending individual clients as needed, but prefer to try to group several together so that they can support one another along the way too (if they wish to share their experiences), and have people around they have met for baby pick up.

I'm VERY happy to help anyone who needs it!

Kim Hendrix
President and Founder
Complete Surrogacy Solutions LLC

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Freedom to Blog About True Feelings

What to think when a clinic removes a popular blog from its own blog list when an Intended Parent is facing problems and wants to talk about them publicly?   I will never understand this - surrogacy is not always a smooth process, and I think that it's better to be open and honest about what everyone goes through.  It's not shameful to have a complex pregnancy, from a clinic OR an IP standpoint.  Pregnancies here in the states encounter complications and unexpected costs and emotional turmoil, what is the shame of talking about it?   When someone reaches out with concerns or disappointments or sadness, why is the clinic removing the blog instead of talking the concerns through?  This raises HUGE red flags all over the place.   I tend to look at sites that feature all "happy happy" throughout the process as dishonest, because we are all smart enough to know that it's just not true.

So, on the blogs that I will set up for my own surrogacy sites will be open to ALL bloggers going through surrogacy, the good, the bad, the ugly.  We have things to talk about, and we should be able to put things out there without fear of reprisal from the clinics who are taking care of our babies and the women who are carrying them.

This has really and truly upset me, and I feel like I have to talk about it.   My own blog has been removed from a site, but that's okay with me, I knew it would happen because I'm not just talking about pleasantries of the industry, but about how we can make the industry better for all involved.  Doctors who have nothing to hide support this, and encourage it, and they will follow my blogs happily.   We're a vast community with varying experiences.   And this is a HUMAN experience and we will have HUMAN emotions, this is not just "big business" to many of us, and that needs to be recognized, not diminished.

Okay, off the soap box for today, I just have had enough of "pumpkins and flowers" and realize we all have things to talk about, so let's discuss and make this a better industry all around.


Monday, July 29, 2013

RESOLVing to do more

I have immersed myself in the surrogacy industry since I first learned of it as a possibility for Jaime and Mike through friends of ours who brought back their baby, Em, in Feb of 2012.  I personally suffered through years of infertility, surgeries, repetitive miscarriages, various diagnoses and treatments prior to successfully having my own children, who are now 11 and 9.  I was very public with my experience and have always wanted to find a way to help other people who are facing trouble creating their families.  It's something that many take for granted, but end up having difficult barriers to entry.  Surrogacy, let alone International surrogacy was not even something on our radar 15 years ago unless you happened to be a glam movie star.  It seemed so unattainable for the rest of us.

I have learned much through this process, good and bad, and I am now working at a different level than only client managing for one certain clinic.   I am working with a group who will be inspiring positive changes, best practices, and offering a central resource for information gathering and education for all of us who are at the point where surrogacy becomes the one true choice.   I'm very excited about this opportunity as I feel it will help so many people, and will inspire honest practices and transparency within the industry as a whole.   Surrogacy is such a "hot button" issue that in order to keep this a viable option open to everyone, we must be sure that everything is on the up and up.  Negative press needs to be replaced with positive stories, people need to be able to talk freely and openly about the experiences they have encountered and there should be zero fear in facing and negative issues head on.  Only in dealing with things in a straight forward manner can we be sure that issues are resolved and are not repeated.   We're dealing with human lives, we want it to be a true win win for our surrogates, for our children, and for ourselves.

Today I met with, THE central educational and infertility policies group here in the US, with their emphasis based on providing support and resources to those diagnosed with infertility.  It was a great meeting and I think I brought some new thoughts to the table, and I certainly walked away with some new concepts and ideas from them.

I plan to be involved as much as I can with the industry, both domestically and internationally.  I am honored to have this opportunity, and we will be announcing plans soon for large scale educational forums and conventions.  The group I'm working with has big ideas, which will be announced very soon.  It's exciting, and I hope that it helps provide hope and safe surrogacy options to many, while keeping the industry itself properly regulated and transparent, something that we all need to think about as we see the industry change in India, and as more explore options in Thailand.  I stand by my original thinking, which is SURROGACY WORKS, but I think it can work even better with open discussions within the industry, and with well informed intended parents.   Everyone should be going home completely joyous about their new babies and without negative feelings about the process itself.

More meetings in DC this week, including getting to take Fred out for a night on the town prior to his departure for India to see his newborn twins.  It's really "cool" how an industry can pull you in so deeply that you're ready to give your entire life to the process and to helping people throughout the entire journey.  Everyone who has gone through this is a "Surrogacy Ambassador", it's not a title just to be given to one or two, rather to everyone who has experienced it, and I'm hopeful that we will all be able to talk freely about our individual experiences to make things even better for those who come after us.

Best wishes to all, I'm hoping that everyone is experiencing success.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Visa Processing company for the USA

Just a heads up, as of July 1, Travisa is no longer the processor for Indian visas of any type.   The new company is called BLS International.   I have calls into all processing locations for further information.  This is a company based in India.  Hopefully this transition will not cause major delays in processing.   I'll post further info as soon as I have it.

I know a few people who will be applying in the next week, so I will post the outcome and experiences.  

Happy 4th to everyone!   Babies have doubled in weight, despite both having reflux, and Jaime and Mike are tired but thrilled.   Cameron flew up yesterday to meet his new baby cousins, some cute photos coming in!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

All Is Well that Ends Well

Everyone is home safely and in their respective abodes!  Aidan and Jayden are in Virginia with Mike and Jaime, and David and I are home with our kiddos.   Made it through DNA through FRRO in time for our originally scheduled flights!   Babies are both growing very well, gaining weight, though Jayden has reflux and is on Zantac, which also happened with my daughter from birth.   Jaime and Mike are tired, but over the moon with joy!  My mom is there helping out until Jaime's teaching is done next week.   David contracted some sort of intestinal bug and has been sick since his arrival home on the 28th - Cipro should be knocking it out soon, he made it all the way through until right before landing in Dulles without any sort of Delhi Belly issue, but in the end (literally) could not escape it totally.

Reflecting on the whole exit process, it is not the easiest thing in the world, but it is doable as long as you are prepared to experience some delays and some inconveniences along the way.  My best advice is to remain flexible about your return date, use Chromosomal Labs out of Phoenix for your DNA (Tell Melissa that Kim sent you, I am truly impressed with their entire process, and they really helped us tremendously knowing our situation, and no, I do not get a referral fee), and have a sense of humor when dealing with the FRRO.  The FRRO is a crazy different planet, but we were out in 2 hours (which actually makes me feel guilty because a dear single friend of mine there the same day waited all day due to the FRRO wanting further clarification from the OBGYNs signature).  We decided to try the afternoon set up and arrived at 2:45 pm.  I sat up front with the babies, right beside the cashiers, and as far as I know, am the only person ever offered tea service while waiting.   Be nice, be flexible, and understand that these people are under a huge amount of pressure when dealing with changing rules and different countries and so many people per day.   They attempt to control the chaos, and I found that if you just smile and ask for help, they are accommodating.  They don't often have people smile at them in there (trust me, I sat beside the cashiers, and saw the constant scowls and angry questions), just realize that they are there to do a job, and your job is to be nice and get the heck out without delay.   The guy at the first desk in the room surrounded by all of the people is the one you want to be the nicest to - he is harassed all day, but told me that he really likes to see the babies, and that he wishes he could spend more time looking at them.   I do know that they are required to ask the same questions over and over again, and that each worker there has different views on what surrogacy means to all involved.  There is some judgment, of course, but they don't want to keep the babies, they just want to know they've covered their own jobs by asking every thing they can think of.   Try not to take offense, my single friends, I know it's hard when they ask you if you're gay, or question your ability to be a single father - they genuinely don't understand how you are going to do it on your own - most of them have mothers and sisters and wives who care for the babies, and they are just the "providers".    I think they envision your sleepless nights with true horror, and fear their own ability to handle raising a child on their own.  Again, this is a lesson in understanding different cultures for ALL of us, and sometimes that comes across as rude and judgmental, and that stinks, but try to remain above it so that you can get the heck out of there in a hurry!

Oh, and if you are on a Medical Visa (which was FINALLY obtained two hours prior to the flight over), be sure to report the birth of your babies to the FRRO within 14 days.  Even if you are not there yet, somehow we are supposed to report the birth if the biological party is on a Medical Visa.  They praised us for having the medical visa, then we were fined triple what those on tourist visas are fined for NOT registering the babies...   This was not fully understood by us, but in the interest of getting out, we did not argue.  So, the total paid by us was approximately 5700 INR per baby, when we were expecting 2,175 INR per baby....  We had employed Poonam to put together our paperwork for the FRRO part only, and the paperwork passed right through without question.

So, mission complete!  Now to get other clients and friends through the process!   If anyone has any questions, feel free to drop me a note!


Monday, May 13, 2013

The Good News, the Bad News and more inconvenient changes

Finally, the medical visa will arrive in the morning two hours prior to scheduled flight, after jumping through every hoop imaginable.  Big thanks to the Travisa folks who stayed late tonight to make sure that the passport visa got shipped out LITERALLY 5 MINUTES prior to last fed-ex pick up.    Will arrive at 10 am, they depart for airport at 12:00

Can we say stress?

One hurdle accomplished last minute, now we need to look at the other end.   In process of making the appointment for the DNA test for tomorrow, Tuesday, I was informed that now we can't make appointments for DNA prior to going through the other appointment for the passports and citizenship (ACS appt)!  Well, that would be fine but we have one document that needs signed here in India that is necessary for the ACS appointment.  So, I can't move forward with either process and the guys don't get here until Thursday.  Which of course means that DNA is now once per week, and we now have to wait the whole week to get things processed.   Wouldn't be an issue, aside from the fact that our returns are booked for the 28th, which if I had been able to do the DNA as planned, would leave us plenty of time for the FRRO process.

This policy is brand new.  Of course it is because on the Embassy website, it clearly states that DNA is step 2 and ACS is step three and you may either combine appointments or schedule them separately.  They just have not updated the website yet.    Really, come ON, have things not been made more difficult with the once a week testing alone?    So, now if you do need to have a medical DNA test at the hospital, you will need to go through ACS first.  It seems utterly silly, the DNA is the requirement for approval of everything!  Why not let it remain step 2?  It seems like we're foiled at each attempt at an organized exit.

At least both David and Mike will arrive, and I will hand over the little ones to Mike for a 12 hour nap.  It's been very stressful dealing with the changes here, and I was so prepared with everything I needed.  Or so I thought!

Babies are fine, aside from the fact that they have decided to wage war on me from 5 am until 9 or 10 each morning.  Completely united attack!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What day is it?

I think it's Sunday, it's a bit blurry, but that's actually the day popping up on my calendar, so I suppose it is Sunday.  In that case, happy first Mother's Day to my little sister Jaime!   Soon, sister, these little boys will be home to your waiting arms and your new life will begin.  I'm so thrilled to be able to help you this way.

It's hard to believe that just over a year ago this seemed like just a glimmer of hope, a pipe dream based on the beautiful success of close friends of mine who brought their daughter home from India in February of last year. That precious little girl, Emmie, is the real reason we are here.   It seemed amazing that you could actually do this from half way around the world, but somehow it strangely made sense, and so it began.   There were some hurdles to overcome at the start, but we're stubborn stock in my family, and in my own world the word "NO" just means a delayed "YES" and that creativity and teeth gritting determination is required.   We made it work, and now, one year later, I'm in India with two healthy babies, and Jaime is a mother!

The boys are doing well, feeding, sleeping (them), tinkling and having dirty diapers.   Opening their eyes and looking around trying to focus -  although this seems to happen more in the middle of the night than during daylight hours.   All the stuff babies do that I happen to love.   I have been asked if it's going to be hard to take care of them so closely and then walk away without having some sadness.   It's something I've contemplated as I cuddle them, but really, I know that I will be happy to see my sister's life complete and that I'm considering this time as just another part of this particular surrogacy process, and that maybe I'm the "post gestation temporary surrogate".   It's my job in this.  And it feels really really good.  It's what family does for family.   People think I'm pretty brash to juggle this solo without the baby nurse 24/7, but I want this time just the boys and me.   I had 2 c-sections, and did not take a true maternity leave with my kids, my company was undergoing some major major changes and I was the only person who did my particular job in the company.  So, I worked from home, juggling post-partum depression, c-section recovery, and intense spread sheets full of legal crap.  Nursing Cameron in one arm while typing one handed through tears at 2 am.   This time allows me to recoup some of that lost time with my own children through time with my nephews.   The thing that every new parent needs to really remember, this precious time is so fleeting.  I know you've heard it before, but it is absolutely true.  Try to savor this because you will forget so much of it if you aren't aware of that fact.  Then  you will have a 9 and 11 year old before you know it and you'll regret that you didn't just STOP and enjoy the smell of the Johnson's baby shampoo.   That being said, it does not mean that I want to do it all again on a permanent basis!  David and I are almost to the point when we can contemplate a date night without a babysitter.  We're on to the next phase of parenting, this is just a nice TEMPORARY travel back in time for me.  I will be just fine.

Once the juggling of trying to get this medical visa is through I will be able to truly relax and enjoy.   We got word at 2 pm US time Friday that they had once again denied the application.   More documents which seemed totally irrelevant requested.   I procured them, we called the Consulate General, we wrote emails detailing the key points, and as I was about to really drop my basket, an email back from the CG in Houston - we will help you.   Provide us with a few more documents, and the birth certificates in 2 hours and we'll approve it today.  Given that we don't have the birth certificates yet, they are going to attempt to process everything on Monday and get it through in time for Travisa to first priority overnight the passport and visa in time for the scheduled flights on Tuesday.  Literally 11th hour.   So, the boys and I made a trip to the SCI office yesterday to sign the birth certificate applications, which will be super rushed and back to us in time to email to the Indian Consulate in Houston and to Travisa when they open Monday morning.  That 12 hour time difference is key,  while David and Mike prepare for their flights the scurrying continues.   So, all fingers and toes crossed that this all comes together on Monday.   So far, David and Mike are scheduled to meet up at Heathrow for the final leg to Delhi.   Mike is DYING to get over here to his sons.  David is convinced he's going to have Delhi Belly the entire time.  Jaime just wants the Skype in my new room to start working well again so that she can spend virtual time with her babies.

Just had a lovely visit with two new Aussie daddies who brought their little one back from the hospital today, our first "playdate".   They are just down the hall, and they've offered so kindly to run out if I need anything.  I reminded them that I'm here if they have any worries on their first nights.  I have to smile as I think of their first sleepless night as they constantly check to be sure the baby is breathing. I find myself doing the exact same thing, doesn't matter if you're a new parent, or an old experienced one, these first weeks are guaranteed to come with some major anxiety as you figure out what works for your baby and family.  There's no real right way to get through it, you just have to be on constant "India time" and go with the flow.   Otherwise you'll go bonkers and forget to enjoy!  

Happy Mother's Day to everyone, but especially Jaime.  :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Surreal actually....

Propped up in bed with A&J exactly 24 hours after arriving in Delhi.  I can't stop staring at them and I haven't put them down yet.  What an emotional day!  Arrived at 10 am feeding, immediately broke down in tears when I saw them, and was told that if I am comfortable with feeding the babies, that they were ready to go!  So, I ran around M Block picking up a few last minute supplies, and went back this afternoon and grabbed them and ran.  I had that moment of panic, which was witnessed by one of the amazing new Canadian couples here (sorry you two, of course I've forgotten your names because, as you both know I can't even get A&J right), when I realized that I was actually walking out of that hospital with two brand new babies who are still so tiny, but amazingly healthy and perfect!   I was so flustered I could not tell which baby was which and I was afraid I'd trip and fall walking down the stairs carrying them in the Phil and Teds cocoon.  I mean, I'm an experienced mother, I've been around the NICUs, I think I have a pretty good handle on things, yet I was still panicked for a good half an hour.  Then there was the car trip to the office in Delhi traffic and I kept thinking about the fact that they let us walk out of the hospital without car seats.  I mean, when we took Cam and Sarah home, they had special ladies who made sure that they were properly strapped in.  It was a whole thing.  BUT, this is India.   Things are done differently here.  And, that's okay actually because it just is.

Visited at the office for a while while I waited to speak with Dr. Vishal to give him and the SCI attorney the latest on the status of the medical visa.   I really appreciated speaking with their lawyer who was so calm and kind and knowledgeable.   It was an instant trust for me, when I had been anticipating something different.  He made me feel better.  I felt like I could actually breathe when we were finished talking.  I know that this will get worked out, and as so many others have said, and it is now driven home, we are not on American time, we are on Indian time.   And that's okay actually because it just is.

I got to skype with Mike a few times today, and I can't wait for Jaime to get home from school so that I can show off these little guys to their mommy.  I know this is hard for her, but a chronic medical condition makes it impossible for her to fly without being horribly ill both during a flight and for days after.  It is literal torture to her, and she has only attempted a couple of very short flights with these results, so that is why I am here, and Mike and David are coming and she is at home preparing and waiting anxiously.  People have asked why she's not here, and believe me, she would be if she could.      There's no point having a new mommy who is so ill that she can't enjoy at all her first days with the babies.  And then there would be the return flight and it would happen all over again.  So, we get to have one of those really cool airport scenes, as in the movie Love Actually.  And that's okay actually because it's going to be totally awesome!!!

(Still no medical visa, but Travisa is really pushing, including the person I discussed in a prior blog who today was so amazingly empathetic and I know feels terrible for what's happening.   He was doing his job, but I do know that he will be more patient with surrogacy clients in the future.  I think sometimes we all forget that the details surrounding surrogacy are so incomprehensible to people until it is discussed and explained.)

Okay, both babies are stirring.  Baby nurse coming tomorrow so that I can run out and grab a few necessities.  And, maybe pass out for a couple of hours to refresh.  Once again, I'm struck by the people I've met who are here sharing this amazing experience.  These have turned in to some really great bonds of friendship for so many.   The sharing of resources and information, the offers of help, the trading of gently used baby items, there is a generosity of spirit that is rarely encountered.  How amazingly cool.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Boy, Delhi is much hotter now than it was in Jan...

Just arrived at the HGI, after the 24 hour trip from Dallas.  Heading in the morning to see the babies for the first time, I know Jaime and Mike are going crazy waiting for the videos I'm going to take.  That is, if I can manage to take video through my blubbering tears.  Cause I'm getting weepy just typing this.   I can't believe that all of this started just a year ago, and here we are.  I'm in India for the second time in 3 months, and I have healthy baby nephews.  I've learned so much through this year, and am still learning - about surrogacy, about India, about my family, and about myself.  It feels wonderful to be sitting here drinking champagne straight from the split I brought from the plane - yes folks, OCD that I do try to quell, but with a husband in the hotel business, well, I'm aware of the necessity to wash the glasses in the rooms.

I digress, we still do not have the medical visa yet, and travel is scheduled for next Tuesday.  I'm hoping for something positive either Thurs or Friday.   My main focus is getting all of the Embassy process handled, which through power of attorney and literally a gazillion notarized documents, I can complete.  The only thing I can't do in this situation, thus far, is the FRRO.

I'm not sure if the babies will be sprung tomorrow or Friday, both are doing very well, and I will see what Dr. Gupta says in the morning.  I am so excited, I can't wait to see them!!

Okay, the split of champagne is finished, and I'm going to get a few hours rest before Rahul gives me my wake up call bright and early.  The nicest thing, everyone at the HGI recognized me and welcomed me back so warmly.  I am well taken care of here, as will all other clients of SCI.  I've negotiated a rate package with them, so if anyone is interested, let me know! They will provide a micorwave, etc.  They want our business, and frankly, aside from the space issue, this is a far better property than the Svelte, which I did check out on last trip and found to be a horrid place.  Dirty, not friendly, and expensive.  And, aside from the great company I had at breakfast with IPs and new parents, their breakfast over there sucks.   The breakfast over here is fantastic, and is included in the rate.  No, I do not get referral fees, Hilton hotels do not pay referral fees on a whole, so you can trust that what I'm saying is true.   David used to be a GM for a 600 room Hilton in Miami, so I know what I'm talking about!!!  Also, there are some excellent apartments that another SCI new daddy wrote to me about, that I'll share at a later date.

For now, I think the 40 hours of being awake is settling in.  It's 3:25 am Delhi time.  I'd better get some sleep because I suspect that these naughty nephews of mine will be keeping me awake for the next couple of weeks!  Oh, I will LOVE this, in part because I know I'll be handing them off to my sister for the really hard parts.  Ha ha!  I can do this again for a few weeks, but man, those first months of being a new mommy were tiring, and I had mine one at a time!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yep, they're beautiful!

A couple of photos for everyone this morning.  NO one tell Jaime that I posted these yet!  ha ha. I just couldn't wait! The boys are now being bottle fed and should be ready to leave the hospital shortly after my arrival.   I can't wait to kiss their little heads and enjoy that sweet newborn smell.   Oh, all the photos and video I will take of them to document this for Jaime and Mike.   I can't wait for him to arrive and to get to watch him as he falls in love like daddy's do.   The very very best thing anyone can ever witness is the bonding of new parents to their babies.

I actually think I want to expand my role into something where I can accompany new parents to India if they need assistance with the process.  I know that there are times that people have to travel solo due to both partners working, or in the case of single parents.   Kind of a Surrogacy Travel assistant, as well as helping at the start of the process.   Being there to witness the end result would be such an amazing joy.  Newborns are my addiction of choice.

Of course, I say this now, regarding the accompanying other parents.  Let's see how I feel in a few weeks after all this stuff with the visa, etc.  I might recant that statement!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Calling all those in India - Photo favor PLEASE!

Jaime and Mike are going nuts wanting some new photos of the Aidan and Jayden.  If anyone is in the NICU today, could they please snap a few quick shots for all of us?

Calling the Indian Consulate office in Houston tomorrow using their emergency visa line.  I know that Travisa is doing what they can, but perhaps a personal phone call to the emergency line is in order.  It states online that it is for Indian Citizens, but what the heck, it's worth a shot.  Maybe there is someone there who will be sympathetic enough to make something happen.  My flight is Tuesday at 4 pm and I really need to have things settled so that I can relax.   I also need a copy of the passport that is sitting at the consulate's office in Houston.  Guess what, the one thing I forgot to do is copy the damned passport before sending it to Travisa.   When I realized what I'd done, I asked Travisa for a copy, and guess what?  They don't have one either!!!  Believe me, I've been smacking my head over this one for weeks now.   There are bruises.

It is really cool packing for this trip.   My babies were large babies, so I am not totally used to these little preemie outfits which are so small that all of them combined take up a teeny tiny section of my suitcase for them.  The photos that we all receive make the babies look so much bigger than they really are.   When you enter the NICU you see how tiny they really are.   But they are typically thriving despite their size.  It's amazing to see the differences in sizes between all of the babies.   Fortunately, most babies are larger than the preemies, but that makes the little ones look even smaller. I got to spend some time at the NICU  with some new parents when I was in Delhi in January, and it was great.  I also volunteered in college in the NICU as a "cuddle care" volunteer (my love for all things baby started as a child), and my best friend had preemie triplets, so I'm pretty used to the tiny sizes and the demands of these little ones who in theory should still be inside the womb.   But, everything in birthing babies revolves around the timing of the little ones themselves.  When it's time, it's time.  In any country.

God, I hope that I can post some good news tomorrow, otherwise I'll be filling a prescription for Xanax.   My family is awesome, together we can do anything and I know that this will work out in the end.  I know that SCI will make sure that everything happens properly on the India side as well.  Dr. Vishal talked me off the ledge the other night and I've felt calmer since.   I just have to be able to breathe breathe breathe.   I can't wait to be the "cuddle care" provider for these boys until their daddy and uncle get there.   We will be training Mike well, though I think he will be a natural!  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Medical Visas - do not apply for one if you're already pregnant!

We are dealing with a major situation.  Despite the fact that the babies are now born, that we commissioned surrogacy prior to the implementation of the "new rules",  despite the fact that we applied for the Medical Visa ages ago with ALL required documentation, we were informed today by Travisa, that the medical visa has been denied again and they are requiring even further information.

We had to submit yet another letter, and more copies of existing visas and passports.   This after we applied ages ago for a "surrogacy/art" visa as advised by Travisa, we waited 3 weeks for that to be handled and denied, and then had to change to a "medical visa", which was submitted weeks ago, and we just got the information today that the medical visa has been denied yet again.   We have been waiting weeks for a response to the accurate application.   I'm told that across the board, there are delays with any type of visa coming in at the normal speed of around a week.

A couple of months ago when I started the visa process for Jaime and Mike, I was threatened by a Travisa employee in Houston, after asking about obtaining a tourist visa vs a medical visa as surrogacy was commissioned before the changes.  He drew a hard line with me and said that if we did not apply for a surrogacy/art visa that Travisa would pull the application and that we would be banned from obtaining a visa through them.   This surprised me as all of my other dealings with Travisa have been EXCELLENT, and the team currently handling our applications are fantastic.  This is not a slam on Travisa, rather on one certain employee who was overly zealous with me when I was asking important questions.    When Dave from Travisa called today, he said that this was the hardest call that he's ever had to make in the years he's been working for Travisa.  I have no doubt that he, and the rest of his team are pulling for us and working hard for us.  The point of this, had I just gone with my instinct and obtained the tourist visa, all would have been fine, and we could have just dealt with things at the FRRO.  I understand Travisa's point but I had not even submitted the application, so you know this was a total judgment call on on one person's behalf.   His supervisor heard what was happening and got on to calm me down before I lost my cool.  We had a nice chat about the changes in India and its impact on all of us.   Our case was immediately assigned to Aaron and Dave, a most excellent caring team who seem to understand and support what we are doing.

ALL NEW clients who are not yet pregnant, MUST apply for the medical visa prior to commissioning surrogacy and signing any contracts. However, I am unofficially advising anyone who is already in the process to stay with the travel visa if you are facing delivery within the next couple of months.  Particularly if you are single or have unique situations.  Note that this is unofficial advice based on our own experience.  Everyone has to do what makes them most comfortable in a time when so many changes are occurring.

I have my 10 year tourist visa, and as I'm not the biological connection to the babies, I am able to travel to care for them and get the ball rolling for their citizenship upon my touchdown in Delhi.  India is a place that I had planned to spend so much time as a tourist and advocate for surrogacy, so it made sense to have an open visa.

I am sure that SCI will fully assist us in this matter.  This is not the fault of  SCI, but one of the Indian government who clearly does not know which end is up right now.   They are sadly ruining a wonderful option for so many people, including those in their own country.  Surrogacy opens the doors for so many, not just those of us who are wanting families, but for the surrogates themselves, for doctors and those in their employ, to our drivers, to the hospitality and tourism industry, and so on.  It all trickles down in a productive way for a country starving for opportunity.   And frankly, the government is blowing it in their inability to conduct themselves professionally and with some sort of organization.  It's a sad state of affairs indeed.

Today has to have been the most frustrating day in this entire process.   I am hopeful that we can have some resolution prior to my flight on Tuesday.  Leaving the country with all of this hanging is tough, but at least I'll be with my beautiful nephews.  For that, I can't wait!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Long time no write! Hello to my new twin nephews!!!

So, I've not blogged in a very long time, for a variety of reasons but I can't resist anymore!

I am pleased to announce the arrival  Jayden Michael aka "Little J" and Aidan James who arrived Tuesday at 1:15 pm at 35 weeks.   Little J was 3.9 lbs and Big Aidan was 5.25 lbs!   Early arrival due to cord prolapse, however the embryonic sac was still intact, so no oxygen loss for Big A, whose cord was the one compromised.   Jaime and Mike are over the moon, and I am so thrilled for them.   Both babies are still in NICU on feeding tubes, but Dr. Gupta says that they should be ready to transition to bottle in a few days, in time for my arrival on Wednesday.   Mike and Jaime have asked me to request that anyone who is in India now for baby pick up to please take some more pics for us!!

David and Mike will be following shortly after me, so I'll have a few days with the babies as Auntie by myself, despite the fact that Mike is just dying to get over there.   I will savor every moment with them, and I'm sure after a few sleepless nights, I'll be over the little baby envy I've been feeling lately. We all had booked our tickets in advance, and I had just paid for the Hilton Garden Inn with Avios points just the night prior to their arrival, so I spent the day of their arrival contemplating the logistics of changing 3 flights and hotel reservations for Mike.  As we know that they are being well cared for and are safe in the hospital where they need to be, we decided to stay the course and keep our original travel dates.  Though it is HARD to do!  Jaime is unable to travel that distance due to an ongoing medical issue that makes her violently ill on planes, so there will be constant skyping going on!!!   It will be quite the moment when we arrive home to DC and hand the babies to her.  I get weepy just thinking about it!

A few hours after their arrival, I had a moment of release when I realized that they are both here, and both are healthy and fine.  A little mini breakdown, as I felt the tension and responsibility I've felt these months begin to abate.   However, we are still awaiting a medical visa.  Travisa Houston has informed me that the Indian Consulate is backed up, and that they've only received two visas of ANY type since the 26th.  I have my 10 year tourist visa, so I can go, but we need the medical visa for the exit process.   It has been in process for a long time now, and the Consulate in Houston is now aware that the babies have arrived and are pushing it forward.  So, not all of my tension is gone.  I should have gone with my initial instinct and gone with the tourist visa for everyone, but I did what was suggested at the time.  Now I am regretting it.

I spent the month of January in India learning about the industry, SCI, and had meetings with the US Embassy and the British Embassy, who wanted to meet with the crazy American aunt to discuss the changes that were taking place as I arrived in India.   It was an amazing, life changing trip.  I got to spend time with Mrs. R, Jaime and Mike's surrogate, got to go to an ultrasound appointment with her where I met the fantastic Dr. Jolly.   And Jolly he is.  An incredible and thorough doctor, and I immediately trusted him.  Spending time with Dr. Shivani and learning from her was very special, as was meeting Dr. Vishal and Dr. Deene, the embryologist extraordinaire.   Of course, Rahul was great and we did a quick side trip to Jaipur.

The recent changes in Visa regulations have hit everyone very hard.  I will discuss more about that, along with my feelings about the CBS report that aired a couple of weeks ago in a separate blog.  This blog is a happy blog about my nephews and the wonderful friends and new parents I met on my trip.   It felt like summer camp at times, I stayed at the Svelte for a few days (hated it) and then moved to the Hilton Garden Inn (loved it).  But all the new families and IPs would get together for dinner and cocktails, and the sharing of something so deeply personal like surrogacy was just incredible and I fell in love with everyone I met.  Traveling solo, I felt completely safe at all times.  In a future trip when I don't have the babies to care for, I will be branching out in my stays to find alternative places for IPs to stay.

I will be updating from India and will have photos of course!  Jaime and Mike have forbidden me from posting the nude newborn photos that we have, we all want to protect their modesty!  Let's just say that "Little J" has quite the lungs and his first photo is of him screaming his head open in what appears to be complete anger at being brought out of his warm cocoon.   Mrs. R. is resting comfortably and did an amazing amazing job.  I can't describe what it was like meeting her and feeling the babies moving around inside of her at the 22 week mark!  It was also nice to see that the other surrogates were happy and healthy and that they all seemed very glad to be pregnant for all of us.  It's important that they know how much we all think of them every single day.   They are the reason we are having babies, and having hope for families at all in some cases.  With a bit of luck, the regulations will once again change in the favor of single and gay families.  It might take time, but I am not giving up hope just yet.

More to come!  Again, anyone in India, PHOTOS PLEASE!!!!

Also, prayers and thoughts for Fred's surrogate who is in the hospital.  I know that she is receiving excellent care, and that Dr. Jolly caught what was going on in time to take care of things.   With rest and time, all will be fine.  I know it!

Auntie Kimmy