New to surrogacy - need advice


#1

Hi. I’m new to the idea of surrogacy, and was hoping someone could point me in the right direction. I went through many rounds of IVF before finally getting pregnant 2 years ago with donor eggs. The pregnancy was pretty miserable, and after being put on bed rest and having a cerclage put in, I developed a bad infection and had an emergency c-section at 24-weeks.

After that experience, I’m not very anxious to try pregnancy again, but we really want a sibling for our daughter. We have 2 frozen embryos and were considering a gestational surrogate (I hope I have the terminology right). Questions:

  1. Where is the best place to look for a surrogate? Should I go through an agency?

  2. Has anyone used a surrogate in India? How did it go? And how do you go about finding a safe, reputable company?

Thanks for any info!


#2

Our son was born in November through gestational surrogacy in India. We wrier incredibly satisfied with the entire process. Let me know if you’d like me to answer specific questions.


#3

Hi NotNOTpregnant,

I just sent you a PM :slight_smile:

Best regards,
Lina


#4

Yes, I have a million questions so thank you for responding! I’ll start with this – where do I start. :slight_smile:

Did you go through an agency? How did you find the surrogate? Did you use frozen embryos? Were there any problems along the way?

Also, congratulations!


#5

Here is the message I sent to another woman on this forum, answering some of her specific questions.

Was it done through an agency in the US?
No. We worked with the clinic in Mumbai directly. It’s called Surrogacy India in Mumbai. I did my own research, reading blogs and speaking to other parents. I also had a friend who used Surrogacy India in Mumbai and she had twins (she got lucky on her first shot!)

What legal paperwork was involved?
You need to apply for a visa.
We signed a contract with our surrogate, drafted by our clinic’s lawyer.
Immigration paperwork to receive your baby’s passport.
There is a process in India to take your baby home. Our clinic helped us through this. Lot of papers to collect and submit, but rather easy.

What was the process like?
Quite easy once we switched from our first clinic to our second. Our specific clinic was very kind and attentive to so many details that relieved a lot of my stress. The medical care is very good, but cultural differences abound, so it can be challenging.

How long did it take (overall)?
Just under three years. 3 Fresh cycles, 2 FET, one miscarriage, one baby boy. I did everything in India, but I think some people have shipped frozen embryos–not sure.

What was the total cost?
$75,000 approx. for all three years of treatments. This includes airfare (for three of us–my daughter included), visas, hotels, everything.

Did you pay the entire amount beforehand?
What happens if the pregnancy is unsuccessful?
With our first clinic, we paid a lot upfront and lost a lot of money when our surrogate miscarried. Our second clinic had a payment schedule every 6 weeks or so, so if you lost the pregnancy at any point, you would not lose the entire fee.

I can’t think of specific problems we had aside from negatives for two years. There’s stress involved in the travel, for sure, and being away from home wasn’t easy for me. On the other hand, my husband and daughter loved visiting India and since they were so optimistic that our baby would come one day, they enjoyed the process.


#6

Thanks for all the great info! I’m going to look into whether they can transport the embryos to India. I’ve been there a couple of times, and that’s a long flight to keep them frozen!

So it looks like you did 5 attempts total? Can you tell me how long it was from originally settling on a surrogate to the first transfer?


#7

For our frozen transfers, it was no more than 6 weeks between choosing a surrogate and transfer.


#8

How did things go with getting a passport for the baby and bringing him or her home? It can be very tricky to use a surrogate abroad, very hard to bring the baby home. All the more so if you also use donor egg.


#9

It was very easy for us. We needed to do a DNA test, so that took some time to process (about a week), but once the consulate had the test results emailed to them, they issued an emergency passport in 24 hours. I don’t know specifically about donor eggs, but many gay men bring home babies from India and that process does not take any longer than ours did.


#10

[quote=theburmese]Hi. I’m new to the idea of surrogacy, and was hoping someone could point me in the right direction. I went through many rounds of IVF before finally getting pregnant 2 years ago with donor eggs. …
2. Has anyone used a surrogate in India? How did it go? And how do you go about finding a safe, reputable company?[/quote]

It can be very complicated, legally speaking, to bring a baby home from India (or any other country) when you use a surrogate, especially when you used donor eggs to conceive the baby. Sometimes it’s fairly simple and quick, and sometimes it’s more complicated, and sometimes it’s hellaciously complicated–and you won’t know in advance how it will be for you. US law currently is very backwards, and does not recognize that baby as being (1) your (the mother’s) baby or (2) a US citizen. If your husband is a US citizen and his sperm were used, and you can prove that by doing genetic testing on the baby to show he is the father, then the baby will be recognized as his (but still not necessarily as yours) and as a US citizen.

What that means in practical terms is that you will have to stay in India for at least several weeks after the birth, and possibly months, to complete the process of having your baby recognized as (1) your baby and (2) a US citizen (i.e., genetically related to your husband). That process will involve having genetic testing done and then, assuming it shows your US citizen husband is the father, doing more paperwork (which is required for a US citizen father to transmit citizenship to a baby born to a woman who is not his wife–i.e. the surrogate), and then waiting for the baby’s passport to be processed.

Here are some links about citizenship issues when having a baby abroad (through surrogacy or otherwise). These are straight from the US State Department, which is who handles these things, so it could not be more official:

Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by a Child Born Abroad - note that the section in there that applies to surrogacy may be, depending on how the consulate wants to handle it, is birth abroad out of wedlock to a US citizen father–in other words they may not initially consider the child to be yours, just your husband’s, so you guys would have to do all the things listed under that section in order to get the baby a passport to come home.

Surrogacy, ART and DNA Testing | Embassy of the United States - this is straight from the US Embassy in New Delhi, about surrogacy in India. This warns you of some potential problems and then tells you, [B]step by step, exactly what you would need to do for it to go smoothly[/B].

Important Information for U.S. Citizens Considering the Use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Abroad

The other problem is having your embryos shipped to India safely, legally and cost effectively. That’s really two problems:
(1) getting them there–that’s a long trip and if something goes wrong with the tank they’re in, they will die; and
(2) being sure that the embryos your surrogate is being implanted with are the embryos you sent.
Mixups can happen, all the more so when things get complicated (such as shipping embryos internationally), and regrettably, some Indian clinics have been known to be a little cavalier with people’s gametes–literally, for instance, swapping out a patient’s eggs or sperm for donor eggs or sperm if they don’t think the patient’s ones will work, WITHOUT telling the patient. If the embryos that they implant in the surrogate are NOT yours, then the baby will NOT be genetically related to your husband and it may therefore not be possible to bring the baby home.

And even if it is your embryo, and your husband is a US citizen who has lived in the US long enough to transmit his US citizenship to a baby born abroad (see the links above for details on that), and the baby gets a US passport easily, I don’t know whether you would be able to bring the baby home by yourself; your husband might need to travel with the baby, since he would be its father but it is possible that until you get the baby back home you will not be recognized, for purposes of crossing the US border, as the baby’s mother. I’m not sure how that works but it’s something to look into.

I hope this doesn’t freak you out too much. It’s scary, but I just figure it’s better to know how all this works FIRST, before you go into it, so that you can weigh the pros and cons of your various options. One of the main things to compare is the true cost, since although the actual surrogacy part is much cheaper in India, there are all these extra costs:

  • The cost of shipping the embryos

  • Both of you having to fly to India, possibly more than once

  • At least one of you having to stay in India with the baby for several weeks, and possibly months, while the paperwork and genetic testing is done. Can you take that much time off work? Can you afford months of hotel and restaurant bills in India? Can you find good infant formula and safe water to mix with it, and if not, can you afford to have some shipped there from the States? If, say, your husband has to go home for work but also has to be the one who flies home with the baby, can you afford, in terms of ticket costs and time off work, to have him fly back and forth to India again?

  • The cost of genetic testing and legal fees.

  • Unanticipated costs: what if you or the baby gets sick during those weeks or months after birth that you’re living in India? Is there a good hospital nearby? How much does it cost? If you get sick and your husband’s back in the States working, who will take care of the baby?

And so on. I wish you guys all the luck in the world, whatever you decide to do!


#11

Thanks for the helpful info Trixicat. All good points and things I hadn’t thought about. The passport and not being considered the baby’s actual mother really worries me. I’ve traveled to India a few times for work and although I really like it there, the possibility of being stuck there for weeks/months concerns me. I don’t want to be separated from my daughter for very long (she’s 20-months), but I also wouldn’t want to take her there for an unknown amount of time.


#12

If you decide to use a surrogate in the US, I’d recommend you go through an agency the first time. The process is overwhelming and it’s good to have an agency making sure everything is being taken care of along the way. As to finding an agency, start by searching on Google and surrogacy forums, such as surromomsonline and allaboutsurrogacy. The right fit between agency and parent is important, do not rush the process of researching them and finding the one for you. Good luck


#13

[QUOTE=“theburmese, post: 63601, member: 60670”]Hi. I’m new to the idea of surrogacy, and was hoping someone could point me in the right direction. I went through many rounds of IVF before finally getting pregnant 2 years ago with donor eggs. The pregnancy was pretty miserable, and after being put on bed rest and having a cerclage put in, I developed a bad infection and had an emergency c-section at 24-weeks.

After that experience, I’m not very anxious to try pregnancy again, but we really want a sibling for our daughter. We have 2 frozen embryos and were considering a gestational surrogate (I hope I have the terminology right). Questions:

  1. Where is the best place to look for a surrogate? Should I go through an agency?

  2. Has anyone used a surrogate in India? How did it go? And how do you go about finding a safe, reputable company?

Thanks for any info![/QUOTE]
Hi, theburmese! I’m pleased to have some thoughts for you. We’re in the case of DE IVF actually, but a good friend of mine has a 2 yo son from surrogacy in Ukrainian Biotexcom clinic. Here how it went for them.
The very first thing is that a couple must be officially married in time the first appointment is conducted. They had to show the papers proving that she couldn’t get pregnant. Then they flew to Ukraine, where were met and offered the hotel (for the clinic’s expense!). The next morning they were driven to the clinic where all the necessary testing was done. That very day they also visited their doctor. And there was no language barrier as an interpreter was by their side every minute. So they had a great chance to clarify every single question. After that all the papers were signed and the first sum or money was paid.
The second appointment was conducted in order to get sperm and retrieve eggs. They used their own eggs too. That day her eggs were fertilized with her husband’s sperm. On the fifth day after that the embryo was transferred to surrogate mother.
By the way, traditional surrogacy is banned in Ukraine.:cool:
Then they had a two week wait for the pregnancy test. Thanks to God it was positive and their surrogate had the first scan approximately in a month. That was their first time they saw her real!!
After that every month the surrogate was to come for being scanned. And my friend received every single photo and video from the procedure with translation. On week 32-34 their surrogate came to Kiev and they all waited for the childbirth at the place. Their baby boy was born by planned Caesarean, so they had to stay longer than three days in the clinic. :oops:
Then the surrogate signed the papers of her baby refusal and the deal was almost done. After all the papers in the embassy were ready they flew home.
Hope this story helps. Good luck!!:wink:


#14

I have also had an experience with BioTexCom. I will not repeat what SamanthaSun said, I just want to add that program coordinator helps with all documents and there is nothing to worry about. Everything goes pretty fast. As soon as we contacted their manager, they responded immediately and provided us with all information. In a couple of days we received a letter from the clinic with the questions to clarify the required info about my medical history. Also they needed our marriage certificate. After they got all required info we appointed date of our meeting with the doctor. They found surrogate mother for us in 2 months. I think it was really short period of time, especially if to compare with Great Britain, where searching could take a year or even more.


#15

Yes, that was almost the same for my friend. I mean the process being fast. If I’m not mistaken they found surrogate mother for them in 2.2 months. This was really fast as I remember my asking her about the process and she was able to say sth new each time which made me really surprised :cool:
Maybe this was also a great hint for us to choose this very one.
We’ve already had our 1st app. Booked 5 att de ivf program. By this time we’re fully satisfied with them.
Have a nice weekend, lovelies x