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.