Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mourning the loss of surrogacy options in Thailand, Starting to embrace and celebrate Surrogacy in Mexico

It's been a crazy 6 weeks for both CSS and for the international surrogacy community.   The changes in Thailand send me over for an unscheduled trip as I had 8 newborn babies "stuck" while the various Embassies negotiated with the Thai government to discover the appropriate ways for Intended Parents in the process to be allowed to exit.   It was amazingly stressful and scary as my clients were the first to be turned away at the airport (I was literally watching through the glass at immigration while the first client was turned away).   I can't accurately describe what that feels like aside from TERRIFYING.   I feel such a level of personal responsibility for each of my Intended Parents and their babies, so having this unfold right before me was surreal.  I immediately called the US Embassy in a panic (we weren't sure if the officials were going to attempt to keep the babies or the father, or what) and was told by the person answering the phone that anyone who could help me was "out to lunch".  Yes, I have a client being interrogated by the Thai police and immigration, and I was told that everyone was at lunch, and they'd call me back later.   Imagine my reaction to those words!  I am usually unflappable, but admittedly was quickly dropping my basket - the cheese had totally slid off of my cracker.  We all think that our Embassies are the places that we run for help when we're in a foreign country, and it was a rude awakening to discover that often their hands are really tied and there's not much they can actually do for us at the start of a "crisis".   Later, of course, when we went to the right people at the Embassy, the help was there for us, but it did take some time and some hard work on the part of the Ambassador, and the head of ACS in Bangkok, Paul,  to get things resolved.   Also, Trudy from the Australian Embassy was fantastic.  But, none of us could do anything but push the various Thai officials to make a decision on how to let everyone go.  We spent a lot of time with all the babies in our "war room" at one of the hotels, everyone trying different strategies to get out of the country to no avail.   The Thai government wasn't prepared for all of this firestorm.  Thai culture is quiet and respectful - a very proud culture.   I do not think that when all of this started, anyone understood the true number of people who were directly impacted by scandal and the resulting changes.   Well, now we know.

 I was so glad that I was able to be there on the ground to provide support, despite rumors circulating that the Thai military was going to be hunting down any "agents" involved in surrogacy. (Found out they were really looking for the agents who provided surrogates, that's NOT what I do, I facilitate and educate).   We were all hiding from media too - the first thing that the Thai gov't wanted was for the press to settle down and let everyone figure out the real facts and let us get on about the business of getting everyone home.   I had long meetings with the US Embassy, attorneys, and basically anyone who would have an idea on what we should do next.    I was not going to leave without exhausting the options, and each of my clients were just amazing despite the high emotions and fear that we all felt.    The bonus - I got lots of good baby time, and even got to have a newborn roomie for a few nights so that daddies could get a little sleep.   Something about cuddling with a newborn in the middle of chaos brings a level of peace that no amount of Xanax can provide.   I'll treasure those middle of the night moments with Little Miss Clare for the rest of my life.

Of course, the end of the story from our angle is that all Dads and babies got home within the normal time frame.   We have exit regulations in place, which are the same that I've always had for my clients.   I'm not anticipating problems with exits moving forward for those of my clients still pregnant in Bangkok.    All pregnant surrogates are safe and receiving appropriate ongoing care.   This does not mean that surrogacy in Thailand is open for business.  The current Military Government has made it clear that they do NOT support commercial surrogacy.  These exit regulations are really only going to be granted for an amount of time that gets those currently pregnant out of the country.

This whole thing is so unfortunate for the surrogacy community and I feel that the Thai government is making a huge mistake in eliminating this option for people.  Thailand is a PERFECT place for a REGULATED surrogacy option.   Thailand is medically one of the best countries - the doctors are educated, the hospitals FANTASTIC, the lodgings affordable, and the women who are surrogates are amazingly caring and grateful for the opportunity to help people have their families.    How can it be wrong for a grown woman to opt to use her body to help people have families?   Regardless of if she is compensated or not?   Yes, there are problems that arise when surrogacy is left unregulated, but I truly feel that it would be possible for Thailand to really become a world leading pioneer in how to undertake surrogacy correctly.  They could set the example for the rest of the world, frankly.  It's a win win for the economy, and for the women of Bangkok.   If we set appropriate rules and regulations and oversight on things like surrogate compensation, standards of care, appropriate embryo transfer numbers, compensation for egg donors, and guidelines for how many times a donor can safely cycle, which doctors and clinics can operate as surrogacy centers, insist on financial transparency and have inspections of these places on a regular basis, there is zero reason that this needs to be totally shut down as an option for people.   Also, it is important that we do insist on background checks for Intended Parents.   I think that we've all learned that through the horrid stories that were running the Australian news for so long.    Australian media sure likes to beat a dead horse to many degrees of Hell.  I have to say, we had all the "bad surrogacy myths" hit the news all at once.   It was a nightmare to watch unfold.

So, a few days after my return from what clients and I are dubbing "Argo Bangkok", I traveled to Mexico City to meet with doctors and clinics there.   Everyone knows that I was hesitant about entering Mexico for surrogacy, I've been pretty honest about that.  First thing that everyone needs to understand - ALTRUISTIC Surrogacy is legal in Mexico - and ONLY in TABASCO.   You must have appropriate legal documents from the start.   The cost in Mexico for surrogacy is higher than my programs in Delhi and the one I had in Bangkok, and legal costs are one of the main reasons.   Also, medical costs in Mexico are slightly higher, and surrogates are compensated a little more as well due to cost of living being higher.   There are several things that anyone looking for International surrogacy options need to consider.  I'm going to do a bullet point on that in the coming days.

Please let me know if you are considering options outside of Thailand.  I am still only able to take on a certain number of IPs per month or group, and I am hoping to enjoy the same successful results in Mexico that I have in India and Thailand.   Surrogacy in Mexico will NOT last forever.  So, if you are seriously considering this option, do it quickly, but BE SMART.   The big agents are setting up in Cancun, and I know that there will be resulting negative media.   People feel so desperate to have children that they will overlook so many things just for the chance - this kind of rash decision making is the true downfall for the industry as a whole.   Don't go for bottom barrel pricing, that means that there are corners being cut that you can't afford to cut.  Look for established IVF practices, transparent financial dealings (again, do NOT pay a 3rd party for fees that should be paid directly to clinics and doctors), make sure that your surrogate is housed the entire time in Tabasco.   THIS is a MUST in my opinion - this moving surrogates around from place to place, particularly those with higher risk multiple pregnancies is a recipe for disaster.  If your baby is born outside of Tabasco because of complications, you will be truly devastated at a time that you should be celebrating.   Sure, I'd love to visit Cancun, who wouldn't, but this is NOT a vacation.  This is having a baby in a foreign country that has very specific rules and regulations.    BE SAFE.  BE SMART.  HAVE BABIES.

ps.  more coming later this week on what to look for in Mexico Surrogacy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Successes continue with All IVF and Complete Surrogacy Solutions! Babies, pregnancies, and lots of love!

It's been a while since the last update on happenings at Complete Surrogacy Solutions and we have much news to share.   First, I attended and spoke at the Surrogacy Australia Conference in Melbourne in May and got to see many of my clients, past and present, and visit with my Aunt and Uncle and some wonderful friends who were with me for baby pick up of my twin nephews in India LAST April.   Australians are awesome and I feel lucky to have so many great friends and clients there.

The most amazing news is that we had our first twin birth on May 30th for an American client from Texas.  Miss P, our beautiful surrogate was amazing!  Scott and the twin boys are doing well, and they got to go home in under one month from birth!   The hospital and staff was incredible!  The exit process was smooth, and given that I understand the importance of organization and the necessary items that the US Embassy requires, both the ACS appointment and the DNA testing went off without a hitch!   We use an awesome DNA lab who has very fast turn around.

Kim, Scott, and brother Jessie leaving BNH hospital with twins Damian and Elliot born May 30, surrogacy Thailand

Next, June group - CSS had 10 people cycling for the Group cycle and for those using young Thai donors, all became pregnant on fresh transfer - more twins coming, and we had many pregnant using donors from Carrie at Eggspecting.com.  For fresh transfers with all IVF, a young Thai donor, and Dr. Pisit, we still stand at 100 percent on fresh cycle, and we're 90% successful on fresh cycle with Carrie's donors.   I still can't believe the great numbers we're seeing - Dr. P must be adding something special to his embryology lab.   I tend to think it's both a combo of skill and the positive energy that surrounds the clinic.

On to July, we have many babies coming this month!   We've had 2 sets of twins so far for daddies from Australia, and we've got more coming tomorrow (see blog Clare and Luke http://clarelukeproject.blogspot.com)  and then more at the end of the month!  Babies everywhere!  All are healthy and strong and were carried to 36 weeks, even Miss Phairin who scared me with active pre-term labor about 2 hours after I arrived in Bangkok in May! (The preterm labor was intense, but we were extremely lucky that the hospital was able to stop the labor, and then after a few days released the surrogate to bedrest under my care.   She stayed in the hotel room next to me for two weeks, then went to stay at surrogate housing for the remainder of her pregnancy).

In the middle of all of this, my family moved back to Miami, Florida.   Complete Surrogacy Solutions will be opening a new office here in the fall.  It's great to be back in the place where we can thrive and are so very happy.

Our clients in India with Dr. Bakshi are doing super well.  We have many babies coming from India as well. The "all inclusive" package that Dr. Bakshi allowed me to create is providing both success and peace of mind.

Our September group is almost full, we have 2 slots left, and we're starting on the November group with 3 clients already signed for that group.   It's a very exciting time for me, for my clients, and for the LGBT community to be able to have this opportunity for success with International Surrogacy.   I am proud to be part of this, it continues to amaze me every single day.

By the way, here's a snap of my darling nephews born through Surrogacy in India - I can't believe how big and how amazingly adorable they are!   The past year has been such a whirlwind!

Aidan and Jayden Born April 2014 through surrogacy in India
Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you!  www.completesurrogacysolutions.com

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Another month, Another journey, Another group of blessings and a first birthday!

Happy First Birthday to my ADORABLE nephews born through surrogacy in India one year ago!  Aidan and Jayden continue to be real reminders of the miracle of surrogacy.   They have brought such joy to our family, and especially to my sister, J. and her husband, M.

First Easter - A&J through Surrogacy in India

Next, I spent the month of April back in Bangkok with pregnant clients, new clients, egg donors and surrogates.  It was very busy, very emotional, and very productive.   Complete Surrogacy Solutions is expecting 15 babies this summer with Intended Parents from Australia and the United States.   Our first set of twins are due in a couple of weeks in Bangkok, but given some pre-term contractions this past week, I'm thinking we might have some little ones fairly soon.  I'm thrilled with the care that Miss P. obtained from BNH hospital, and it's so nice to actually have real itemized invoices for her care.  The financial transparency continues to be a tremendous relief for both IPs and for me.  I've posted a couple of photos from April's trip.

                                              With one of our GORGEOUS Thai Egg Donors

                                With a very special surrogate, Miss Pa who is expecting twins very soon

                           With our Thai Surrogate, Miss Ph, expecting twins, and Australian Daddies to be

We just had our first results from the April group cycle, and they were again positive.   We are awaiting 8 more Beta results in the next week.   I have everything crossed for positives for everyone.   Sometimes it feels hard to breathe!   We also have some wonderful news continuing out of Delhi and Dr. Bakshi!   Ongoing strong pregnancies and new cycles starting.  While the news overall from India on the debate of continuation of surrogacy for foreigners weighs on heavily on my mind, I do hope that they stay open. India is still a very strong place for surrogacy success and I still believe and support the program there.   The industry did much for the economy - from the surrogates themselves to drivers, to office staff, to tourism.  It was a winning situation, and it is a shame that the gov't just can't seem to decide which direction to head.   People are now considering Nepal because India is shutting down.   Nepal is going to be the final frontier.   It is not going to be an easy process there - true third world conditions are often tough to navigate until infrastructure is developed by the clinics.  I do understand the feeling of desperation when trying to have a family.   I'm giving Nepal some time before I will even consider suggesting it, and it would have to be with my doctor in India.  Some sort of governmental guidance is hopeful there, I do think they might be one place eager to have all of us.  I will consider Mexico first, personally, and I'm still not 100 percent sold there either.  But, I do try to keep a somewhat open mind so that I can always have options for what is coming.

The next two months will be very busy.  I am heading to Melbourne for the Surrogacy Australia conference, then flying straight back to Bangkok for the entire month of June for a full June group cycle, for the birth of our first twins, to assist their father with all exit procedures.  During this trip, I fly to Delhi to visit with Dr. Bakshi and our pregnant surrogates there.   David will also join me for a couple of weeks at the end of June, which will be nice for both of us - we don't have much time together these days, I am totally consumed with work.

One of the biggest news items for me personally, we are moving back to MIAMI!  And, we will be in partnership with a US Surrogacy Agency and will be opening a true Miami office.   All of this move will happen while I'm in Australia and Bangkok... 

The bottom line, this industry can change the lives of Intended Parents in tremendous ways.  But, it has done something wonderful for me as well.   It has completed me in a way that I truly needed.  My entire family is honored to be involved in this, even my children, - we all live, eat, and breathe this.   We are blessed.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Complete Surrogacy Solutions and Families Through Surrogacy

I will be attending and speaking at the Families Through Surrogacy event on Saturday in San Francisco.  This educational event will cover a variety of topics surrounding the surrogacy process, both domestic and international.


In addition, Carrie Bloedorn, www.eggspecting.com, and I are hosting a private event on Friday evening in connection with the organization Gay Future Dads - www.gayfuturedads.org. If you would like an invitation, please email Kim at completesurrogacysolutions@gmail.com.

We are excited to be sharing our experiences and options for surrogacy in India and Thailand.  Our April group is quite large, and we are now working on our June group cycle.   This is a great opportunity to save on the great services that Carrie and her egg donor's provide, as well as having a built in support group of other Intended Parents.   In addition, CSS and All IVF have many beautiful Thai donors from which to select.

For more information, please feel free to contact me.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Families Through Surrogacy Event - March 15th in San Francisco

Kim will be speaking at the Families Through Surrogacy event to be held on March 15th.  This is an opportunity for those interested in surrogacy, both domestically and internationally, to learn from experts and from Intended Parents both in the surrogacy process currently, and those who are parents through surrogacy.   We will be discussing all aspects of the process, with the goal of promoting the Educated Intended Parent.  http://www.familiesthrusurrogacy.com/global-conferences/us-conference#conf-schedule-us

In addition, Complete Surrogacy Solutions and Eggspecting, Inc. will be holding an information session on Sunday hosted by the group, www.gayfuturedads.org. Location and time to be announced shortly!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Complete Surrogacy Solutions to offer surrogacy options in the US!

Coming soon!!!   Exciting times ahead.   We want to be able to offer the best options in a few select locations/countries for our Intended Parents, and US surrogacy is an option for many people.   We will be following if and how Obamacare may or may not assist with the medical costs for the surrogate and infant.   This will become more clear in the months ahead.

We also are working on our legal resources in the UK, US and Australia.  We're focusing on legal aspects of second parent rights in Thailand for all interested in establishing those rights, given that the birth mother in Thailand is on the birth certificate and retains some rights under Thai law.   As with an "open adoption", there is some risk in this scenario, though likely mitigated and manageable.  It's a big job, and rules do vary from country to country. And it takes TIME. Remember these things don't happen overnight, and we want all of our clients to have full understanding of the laws in each country.

Clearly, this is not a 9-5 job, we find ourselves thinking of surrogacy and nothing but surrogacy and babies 24 hours a day.   I (Kim) even dream about babies - babies in hammocks, babies in carriers, babies on airplanes - they're everywhere!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Surrogacy in Thailand - the boom is now!

The last few weeks have been quite a blur of activity in Thailand for those pursuing surrogacy.  The Israeli government's delay of entry for babies born created quite a stir in the International community.   As of right now, for the US Australia and the UK, it's business as usual.   The rules have always been the rules.  Everyone needs to understand that there might be some delays along the way, and to be sure to have the proper documents prepared and ready for the exit process.  Over document whenever you can.

All of my clients are prepared, and the last few weeks have been crazy with inquiries coming in to CSS from all over the world.  Unfortunately, some countries we just can't work with because of the laws in the home country which outright ban commercial surrogacy arrangements.

We are filling up quickly for our April cycle, and the June cycle is starting strong as well.  We also have lots of individual cycles starting in both India and Bangkok.

I'm asked "where next?" should surrogacy be banned in Thailand as in India for singles.   I wish I could have a good answer, because the other alternatives I'm seeing just do not make safe sense.   We have to remember that we are dealing with human lives, not material objects.  We have to keep rational thought about where it is medically safe for both the surrogate and the baby she carries.   Consider things like high level NICUs in case of prematurity, or complex medical situations for the surrogate herself -  some countries and areas are prohibitive to what constitutes a safe medical environment.  Don't take the cheapest easiest route in this, it usually leads to more money out of pocket.  Research and imagine yourself seeking medical treatment in the area in which you are considering surrogacy.  If you wouldn't feel safe having basic procedures done in a certain area, how can it be okay for a woman to give birth to your child there?
Just my thoughts as we forge ahead and look around for safe options for surrogacy.   I know that I have my own limits on where I'll lead people.  Some others just don't.  This is a big big picture journey.  Not a trip to Ikea.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Future hope for infertility? Womb transplants explored

Very interesting idea!   While this seems extreme to some, many of us know we'll do just about anything to have a baby, and to have it in the way we chose.   Thoughts?


Nine Swedish women receive womb transplants

womb transplant operation

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Australian Medical Taxes - phase out began this year

Each country is different in its handling of allowable medical expenses for tax deductions.   I've been alerted by a friend in Australia who is a tax expert that medical deductions are being phased out by the government, with changes taking effect as of July 1, 2013.

Consult an accountant who is up to speed on all of the latest changes.  You don't want a new baby AND an audit!  The stress will drive you to drink!



In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
Benjamin Franklin 

Kim Hendrix
Complete Surrogacy Solutions

Monday, January 6, 2014

Tax time - surrogacy and taxes!

Just started on the pile of business receipts and all of the related tax stuff.  I did some research today on what is allowable under medical as deductions for surrogacy for US clients.  Basically, you can't deduct surrogate compensation, surrogate medical costs, donor costs, agency fees, etc.  You can deduct any medical care that you received as part of the treatment, including semen transport, IVF related costs that you or your married spouse incurred, travel, and newborn care.   Anything that you, your spouse or your born children incurred for care and expenses, write it off!   I of course, am not a tax expert, but thought this might be on the minds of a few people out there.   Also, if you've completed a second parent adoption, don't forget the tax credit!   Surrogacy is a grey area tax wise in the US - but I would certainly ask your accountant to be creative!  Keep those receipts.

I was getting various reports on Aussie taxes - so I looked up the table of allowable medical expenses and found the attached.  Obviously, consult your accountant if you have questions regarding this.  Seems everyone in every country needs a tax accountant these days to keep abreast of changes!




Please let me know if you've found anything that others might be able to include.

Complete Surrogacy Solutions

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year - New starts!

Happy 2014!  2013 will be remembered by me as the craziest, most interesting, BEST year of my life.  I've learned so much, met so many amazing people who are on this unique path to parenthood, traveled to some amazing places, and held some very special babies.   Discovering my dream job at 42 was life changing, and I look forward to this next year as we forge ahead with surrogacy in India and Thailand.   It is thrilling!   Obtaining a 100% success rate for ongoing pregnancies with surrogates in Thailand has me extra excited.  Of course, this can't be expected with every single cycle - this is not a promise, but it sure does give me hope for the future with All IVF and Dr. Pisit.

To those who have already been successful, let's cheer on those who are just starting their journeys.  To those who are just starting, welcome to the ride of your lives!

Complete Surrogacy Solutions, along with Eggspecting, Inc. has several group cycles planned for the first half of the year.  We are full for our February group cycle, and are now gearing up for April and June cycles.   Of course, we do offer individual cycles as well, but if you're considering utilizing an American or European egg donor, the group cycles offer some great savings.

CSS also works directly with Dr. Pisit and Dr. Bakshi for cycles utilizing Thai and Indian egg donors who have proven to provide excellent outcomes.

We strive to provide up to date information on legislation and changes to the rules in each country.  CSS also can provide referrals to two top notch American Surrogacy programs.   We offer one stop surrogacy solutions with Intended parents from several countries.  It is an honor to be part of this special time in your lives.  We are here to help!

Happiest blessings for this new year!  Remember, surrogacy is HOPE.


Complete Surrogacy Solutions