The India clinics is nice – there are 2 separate buildings, both located in South Delhi – which is apparently a nice area but to be honest, is so packed full of cars going this way and that and honking, that’s it hard to see past that. First we went to the administrative building. We sat with Dr. Shivani and had a great chat. She started her practice in 2008 and to give you an idea of how wildly successful international low cost surrogacy is for her right now, in December 2012 alone, she had 42 babies born! (take our word for it, that’s a lot!!) Generally she does 2 or 3 day embryo transfers and puts four embryos back… Yes, you’re right, that made our eyes pop open! 4 donor egg embryos?!!!! She explained that since she was doing 2/3 days transfers instead of blasts the success rates were lower… and thankfully their high order multiple rates (more than 2 babies) is relatively low. Still 4 embryos at a time is lot for us to easily accept… it feels a bit extreme. She said her odds are about 70% success (so 30% chance of a negative), with a 60% chance that it will be a singleton. Pretty high success rates, but remember like many locations around the globe, these are self-reported… which means it should be taken with a grain of salt.
We asked Dr. Shivani about the recent reports regarding how it is now illegal for same sex and single IPs to do surrogacy – she feels pretty confident that this will revert back to how it was. She said that there is a strong group of fertility doctors and India clinics who are fighting to have it switched back and that they have documents to show that there is legal precedence to do so. Well we certainly hope she is right – stay tuned, we will keep you up to date on the status.
Like most of the surrogacy India clinics, Dr Shivani uses an outside agency to recruit her surrogates, they look after the financial and legal aspects, Dr Shivani looks after the medical aspects. Most of her international Intended Parents come from England, Australia and the United States… the Intended Parents can choose the surrogate from various profiles, just like they can choose the Egg donor (and see pictures of her as well). Most of India’s surrogates do not speak English, however Dr. Shivani says that the IPs get updates and pictures – however, they cannot be in the room for their baby’s birth. That was a little disconcerting to us… and we wondered if that was the case with other India surrogacy clinics and doctors.. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know.
Dr. Shivani also said that the surrogates that work with her clinic get a good deal of psychological support – support meetings with a psychologist and counseling as needed. Since we know that’s an important aspect of surrogacy in the US, we were glad to hear that that was important to her as well.
Dr. Shivani exudes confidence … she’s definitely an in-charge type of person, but now she has hired 3 additional case managers to help with her ever-growing practice – 2 Australians to help with Australian IPs and one in the US to help with Americans clients looking to do low cost surrogacy and egg donation in India. All of the case managers are former Intended Parents who have had their babies with the help of Dr. Shivani’s program.
Well like I said, this is just the first stop of several visits to Indian surrogacy and egg donation clinics… there’s lots more to learn and that will help to get us a better overall feel for all that is going on here in the fertility world.
We still advocate that anyone looking to do international surrogacy and/or egg donation in India (or anywhere else for that matter) do their homework… and that means digging for the real stories. Picture perfect experiences can and do happen, but not all the time. Every fertility clinic, surrogacy agency and fertility doctor has had problems and for us, it’s how honestly they handle those problems that tell the complete story.
Still, it was awfully nice to see those newborn babies with their very happy intended parents in Dr. Shivani’s waiting room… We wish them well as they start the really important part of their journey… parenthood.