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