By: Kerrie Olejarz
1. Make sure you have a legitimate medical reason for needing a surrogate. Reputable doctors will not take on clients who choose not to carry their own baby.
2.Find out your home country’s specific requirements for bringing baby home, as there is no point in starting this journey if your home country deems surrogacy illegal and punishable by law.
3.Contact the clinics you wish to work with and interview them. Ask, ask, ask questions and if you are not satisfied with an answer, ask again.
4.Ask about surrogate recruiting, medical testing, and psychological testing. Ask where the surrogate lives during the pregnancy; do they have help? will they get to see their family and children during this time? Ask about prenatal and antenatal care, ensure it is adequate or better.
5.Understand the schedule of fees. Ensure that you know the costs and ask for a price list detailing costs of charges outside the surrogate program fee schedule. Make sure you understand the payment frequency and how much compensation your surrogate will receive.
6.Find out the medical credentials of the doctor(s) associated with the clinic. Understand the size of the clinic team and how the responsibilities are divvied up.
7.Does the clinic assist with obtaining the birth certificate and managing through the embassy process for exit?
8.Ensure you give your potential clinic accurate information about yourselves. Will you need an egg donor and if so –Caucasian, Indian or other? Where do the non-Indian donors come from and how are the donors tested and screened? What are the donor costs and are the donor cycles shared with other couples? If you plan to self cycle, inquire about timing of cycles and how this could affect your travel plans. Also, if you opt to vaccinate, speak with the doctor in India about the benefits or possible repercussions of vaccinating around the time of self-cycle for both men and women.
9.What is required for enrollment into the clinic’s program, and is there a waiting list?
10.Is the clinic in a rural area or situated in a large city? How close is your Embassy to the clinic, and does the clinic have previous experience with your country’s Embassy?
11.If you have frozen embryos or sperm, is the clinic able to accept your frozen samples from home? Are there any potential hurdles with importing human tissue?
12.Will the clinic support and work with same-sex couples or single parents?
13.Does the clinic help you find acceptable accommodations, driver services, and all other things needed while in India?
14.Rely on blogs and forum sites for information on choosing clinics, personal experiences, and potential challenges associated with various clinics.
This is just a short list on things to consider when deciding to proceed with surrogacy in India. There are hundreds of questions to be asked and every couple/person will have their own set of questions and anxieties. We found that we leaned heavily on the experiences of others and gathered their opinions on the clinics they were working with. We have now worked with two clinics in India and they have very different business models and methodologies. Both have years’ of success so it just shows that there is not a perfect mold.
IVF and surrogacy are never guaranteed processes and because there are costs associated with them, the risk can feel enormous. Some clinics in India offer reduced fees on second and third tries with the same surrogate if needed. There are also Medical Tourism companies who can help navigate through the whole process for an additional cost which can give comfort to couples who would prefer to work with third party representation.
Whether you decide to pursue surrogacy at home or abroad, understand the details of your contract and the steps required to ensure your baby will come home with you after the birth. This will be a very exciting and stressful journey in your life and it is best to be prepared. Not all IVF cycles result in a positive outcome so be prepared for the heartache of getting a negative and navigating through these emotions and deciding what to do next.
After years of fertility issues and sometimes no answers, working with a surrogate will give you hope and possibly change your life. Surrogates take very good care of your baby and should be honored and respected.