After having been home for a while we started to be pleasantly bombarded with enquiries from local couples looking to see if this was indeed real. We spent our weekends proudly showing off our baby, meeting perfect strangers for coffee, brunch, and inviting them into our home. It was a true pleasure to share our success with these hopeful infertiles. We were more than happy to give a glowing recommendation of the clinic and Dr Shivani, after all we had been through, it was a pleasure. Besides these couples seeing our success and checking out if it was indeed real, the constant end to our visits was always the question “was it hard to get the baby out of the country?”
This leads me into this week’s blog post, as I think it is important to share our knowledge based on our experience. As Canadians, we knew that it would take approximately four weeks to take all the necessary steps to bring our baby home. Knowing an approximate timeline in advance of baby pick up is critical! We highly suggest that you reach out to others from your own country to find out how their experience was, how long it took, and what would they recommend changing to improve or expedite the process. We often read blog posts and forum updates of new parents who are frustrated with the going home process, and this is unfortunate. Because the joy of the experience is lost if it is spent in a flurry of frustration and anger. When in India, you are on Indian time. The critical services that you will require may not work at the speed you expect; there are also a million public holidays in India which can also slow down the exit process, and also remember that holidays at home can put a damper on your ideal time line. BUT if you are prepared for this, and plan for this, the experience can and will be wonderful. Your clinic or doctor’s team should have an exit package ready for you. When you receive it, review it carefully; look for correct spelling of names, correct dates, and check for accuracy as best you can. Your clinic will put their best effort into preparing it, and will be accommodating in fixing any errors, this may just take a day or two extra. If your clinic offers a lawyer or liaison at a charge, we recommend you use it. Pay the cost and enjoy the experience. Dr Shivani offered up an immigration liaison, and although the cost was not cheap, the process was a breeze and we would not change a thing about it! There were additional costs to consider as well at the end so be prepared! We ended up paying for our surrogate’s c-section and her hospital stay, as expected. Also, we paid for Cailyn’s hospital stay, photos for our DNA procedure, handling fees at all government offices etc. Our full cost breakdown can be found here: http://surrogacy.ca/intendedparents/markkerrie.html. Picking up your baby should be a joyful experience, and I know that babies born early requiring NICU services add an extra challenge to this and also a financial burden. We all know going into this program that there are potential costs at the end and we would be stupid to firstly have not asked for a price list and secondly, have not prepared ourselves for these costs. The final cost that may impact your budget is changing your flights home. More than likely you will have to change your return flight, and also get your baby a ticket. For us, we were able to change our flight home saving us 5 extra days in India, and adding on our baby at a cost of $1000.00, worth every penny! Best advice is to be prepared to go with the flow, know that the monsoon rains may make you three hours late for a government appointment and most importantly, learn to laugh at the absurdity of the chaos! You will get home and when you do, the stress of the exit process is soon forgotten!