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!


  1. The most significant line in this post- "Everyone has to do what makes them most comfortable in a time when so many changes are occurring." The most important lesson I learned in the Land of No Rules is that when making decisions, you must gather as much information as possible, and then make the decision that seems instinctively best for YOU. Surrogacy, anywhere, is risky business,and while there are often people "in the business" who are all to eager to provide advice, chances are that as an IP (or an Auntie IP), you know far more than them about what is right for your family. Navigating this extraordinary family building option can be both scary and frustrating, but the second to last line says it all "at least I'll be with my beautiful nephews." A family has been created, and it will absolutely be worth the wait... even if that wait proves to be a little (or a lot) longer than expected. Huge hugs from MD!

  2. OMG I am praying that everything goes through. I can't believe they are jerking you around like this. Any new developments? I'm going to email you.

  3. I can't believe that they gave you guys so much trouble! i hope they gonna grant the visa soon. I'm feeling the pain as we will be facing the same situation very soon. Our babies are due in September!!

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