Top Fertility Clinics in India
Well, I hate to be all about appearances, but I can’t help myself for feeling a sigh of relief that this is a place that would appeal to a westerner. So much of what we’ve seen feels so Indian – which isn’t a bad thing, but when thinking of medical procedures I can’t help that I want to feel something that feels a little familiar.
Even the exterior of Dr. Bakshi’s office is clean, modern and inviting . The interior too, was equally, clean, well decorated and had a friendly, inviting feel. Over the reception desk was a monitor, showing a series of happy families courtesy of Dr. Bakshi. The office too was a testament to her success-filled with wannabe-parents (although I’m not sure if any were GSs or not.) One proud mother – a returning client from England was quick to rave about her and show off the product of their labors (literally!) There was even a board plastered with January birth pictures (remember, we haven’t even finished the month yet! There are still babies to come). We were led in to meet Dr. Bakshi , her son, and one of the doctor’s on her staff – her radiologist, Dr. Vikas Bajaj. They were so interested in what we were doing, but we kept turning the focus on to them.
I could definitely see recommending her clinic, so I was very curious to learn more about her egg donors and GSs. Her assistant was quick to show me what the profiles of the donors would be like. I think clients coming from abroad would be happy with the selection. There were many beautiful donors to choose from (light-skinned Indians) and clients usually receive about 5 profiles to start with, more if they want more choices. This clinic understands what international clients are looking for and is going out of their way to give it to them, packaged in a way that they’d like – not unlike US egg donor agencies. The pictures were professional, including some donors who had modeling shot. The exam room, retrieval room and post-retrieval and transfer room were modern and clean.
One issue that a Global IVF reader brought up to me was transparency of lab testing. Could lab tests be trusted if done and processed at the clinic – how would you know the results were accurate? So, I asked Dr. Bakshi about it. She told me that she did not run her own tests, that like in the US the lab was outsourced – done outside of the clinic in a non-affiliated lab. They used a licensed laboratory that was the most reputable. Like some of the other clinics, she was not averse to having two GSs going at the same time if a client had already had failures. She was anxious for all of her clients to have success and she wanted to do all she could to make it happen for them. She too, was saddened by the new guidelines, but unlike the Guptas felt a bit more optimistic that in the next 4 to 6 months there might be an alignment of the homeland and medical guidelines and they could work with gay clients again. Her feeling “gay relationships make for great parents!”
Cost of Egg Donor
With an Indian egg donor you are looking in the $30,000 range – but that might not include an unusual hospital costs, also a premium Indian egg donor will add an additional $2500 on. Caucasian donors are another story. There are US agencies that charge about $20,000 – $35,000 (still a relative bargain compared to doing surrogacy and egg donation in the US) but be aware of this additional cost if you don’t want an Indian egg donor) In general she aimed for 12 – 14 eggs with the Indian donor. And something else we found surprising – she said the Caucasian donors stimulate better than the Indian ones – in fact she often retrieved up to 20 eggs with the Caucasian donors! She often did 3-day embryo transfers, but also did blasts – transferring 3-4 if they were 3-day embryos, or two if they were blastocysts.
Dr. Bakshi also offers a guarantee program if using an Indian egg donor – 6 tries for $50,000. If no pregnancy there is an 80% refund. She also said that 90% of the people that enroll in the program have a baby within 18 months. Now those are great odds – and ones I haven’t found anywhere in the US. She has recently had some difficulty getting embryos shipped in (she isn’t the only clinic) but sperm is easy.
Picking your Surrogate
As for picking your surrogate – she said she sends profiles, but the best thing to do is let her, the doctor pick them. The way she likes to work is that on the day of transfer she may have up to five surrogates prepped and ready to go, then on the day of she picks the one with the best looking uterus. They all have been medically and psychologically cleared – but this way it ups your chances. And as I said before, she is not averse to putting embryos into two surrogates depending upon the quality of the embryos. She like the previous doctors follows the surrogates through to the birth of the baby. And of course, the IPs can be there for the birth. There isn’t too much contact with the GSs but if the IPs desire it it can easily be arranged.
Next to the surrogate housing – just a few blocks from her office. Here, we entered a posh building in the middle of a nice part of Delhi. This house was clean and stylish (no surprise since Dr. Bakshi obviously has good taste.) A large chart showing the healthy meals for the week was on display Here, some rooms had one to three beds, it isn’t uncommon for two GSs sharing one large bed. All of the sudden the women piled into the living room – it was time for a favorite TV show (I think it was India’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire the one featured in Slum Dog Millionaire – but I could just be imagining it.)
Now, a quick trip back to the hotel (did we mention that there is a security check at every hotel – including a body search?), change for dinner and then Dr. Bakshi’s driver sent a car to take us to her home. The drive was a little under an hour and it was dark by time we arrived. We noted that all of the homes were surrounded by large walls and each had a security guard. The home itself was lovely. Dr Bakshi’s son, her partner – Dr Seema Bajaj, her partner’s husband (who we had met earlier in the day) were there. We were treated to lovely Indian hor’d’oeuvres, a delicious meal with wine, and lively conversations about the US vs. Indian surrogacy and how to help let patients know about Indian and her wonderful clinic in particular. We all parted friends, and hoped to see them all again in the future.