here’s another blog to share, this is a bit of a different perspective from a same sex couple who has done surrogacy in both India and USA. so there may be some interesting tidbits for folks:
so, in reality, i wasn’t even close to being better at last post, my body faked me out and i thought i felt better, but i wasn’t. now i am feeling quite a bit better and am going to be able to start doing what needs to be done to get ready for the trip. i can’t believe we fly out in 2.5 days, it’s come up so fast!!!
our first appointment with the clinic is booked for the first day we arrive, so i can get the first ultrasound and i would imagine the first shots.
we are very excited and nervous; i guess this visit to India is going to finally answer whether we can have a baby or not…. so the next few weeks are key.
good luck to all the other couples out there who are going through the same thing at the same time. i know of at least four others on very similar timing, and whether we ever meet any of you or not, it’s nice to know there are others in a similar boat, on a similar journey. if you are reading this in the future and are about to go through this journey, i would recommend you do whatever you can to talk to others who are going through it to, it’s just comforting is all.
anyways, lots of preparation work to do, so signing off for now.
i have been sooooo sick the last 48 hours or so, i guess i had some sort of a stomach bug, and it’s been so bad i haven’t been able to read, watch tv, do anything much on the computer (the screen movement makes me nauseated). doing simple tasks has made me so weak i have actually laid down on the floor… pathetic i tell you!!!
i think i have turned a corner though, i am feeling a bit better, though still really weak, as i didn’t eat anything that whole time except two bananas and some gatorade. i think i will try some chicken noodle soup today, get my strength back.
i cannot tell you how happy i am that this happened now instead of on travel day, because i can honestly tell you that i was so sick i would have cancelled the trip; there is NO WAY i could have traveled that way. none, zero, zippo, zilch. ok, maybe if they had a bed on the plane that was right next to the bathroom… but even that would have been pushing it.
oh well, moving forward! five days til we are in the air. let’s just cross our fingers that hubby doesn’t get it… send those vibes again for him folks, they seem to have been very successful so far whenever i have asked!
we are flying out a week today. this time our flight is almost identical, EXCEPT the ridiculous 7.5 hour layover in Seattle… this time we don’t have that, so it’s going to be much better.
i am hoping i can sleep on the plane this time; i won’t be pulling an all-nighter the night before, as it clearly did not help with the sleeping. i will try to get a normal night sleep so that at least i am well-rested at the start of the journey, unlike last time.
how does one pack for a three week trip? it’s been awhile. we are so bad at packing, we always pack too much, but i can’t imagine packing too much for three weeks. i guess we just have to focus on only bringing stuff we know we will wear. i hate having a item still folded nicely when i return home, knowing i didn’t even pull that thing out of my suitcase the whole time. waste of space!
the hotel has a laundry service, so maybe we will just use that so we can pack less.
i am already thinking of missing my cats. it’s been a long time since the older boys have missed us for three weeks, and the younger boy never has had us go away for very long at all, and since he was abandoned outside before we found him, i hope he doesn’t think we are leaving him as well. at least they have a familiar face to look in on them a few times a day and keep them to their routine. thankful for good friends during this journey…. that’s for sure!!!
gathering together the loose ends of stuff we need to take with us, will start making a packing list tonight, and we both have the weekend and Monday off before we leave, so we will have some time to get organized and spend quality time with “the boys”.
oh yeah, i also found out we didn’t ever get our third shot of Twinrix, so we will have to go get it on Thursday. another expense, but better than having hepatitis…
we got our mosquito spray with DEET and our anti-malaria pills… sunscreen is probably readily available over there… or maybe it will just rain the whole time… what else? what else? i guess that’s what the list will be for… making sure we have thought of everything.
signing off for now!
i just wanted to note the fact that we will be in Mumbai during this year’s monsoon season. apparently they start almost like clockwork, and this year they started a few days early, just a few days ago. judging how hot it was when we were there early in May, and also by the various blog posts i have found describing the first rains this year, new life is springing forth everywhere and people’s moods have changed with the freshness. apparently people do get grumpy because the rains cause train delays and traffic jams, but it’s a better temperature and it’s not so dusty and overwhelmingly hot. i have got my phone set to show me the weather in a few places, including Mumbai, and i have happily noticed that thunder and lightening storms are often predicted (three days this week!!!!). living in the Lower Mainland we rarely get any of these, and i am EXTREMELY excited about this!
anyone who knows me, knows i love the rain, and especially when it’s warm outside and i get ridiculously excited about storms. i ensured that we got hubby a rain coat and that both of us will bring some sort of plastic shoes.
8 days today is our planned trip, and judging by how i am feeling today, this is just the start of my excitement.
i will let you all know when i have our visas in hand.
so i am going to submit our applications again this morning. i so hope it’s all in order, because our trip is booked for us to leave on June 18th, so that doesn’t leave much time. i am preparing myself for a constant state of anxiety while waiting…. sigh.
let the good vibage commence!!
ok folks, the BLS office (visa submission office) said that our packages were nearly perfect. the only two things that were missing were a list of the costs associated with the surrogacy (which is no problem to provide) and then hubby and i were missing one other piece of important information, but it’s not going to be relevant to any of you, so i won’t mention it. this will prove a little harder to get, but i am HOPING to have it in the next two days, so i can resubmit on Thursday or Friday.
apparently it takes “a fortnight” to process, which is two weeks, so we are really cutting it close here, because we really need to leave in three weeks, or wait til a new cycle.
i am going to need all your good vibes sent our way in the next few days, and then also in the weeks for processing. i am happy to trade good vibes for others of you who need vibage for your surrogacy or any other ole thing… just let me know!!!
finally we have gathered all the stuff we need for the medical visa application packages, and we are ready to submit them tomorrow. what a lot of stuff. i wanted to share the list of what we included, because the checklist in the “Useful Information” section on the right is only for a general medical visa (could be for any medical procedure), and the medical visa for surrogacy is much more complicated. so here’s the list, NOT in order:
- the CHECKLIST – you have to sign it when you drop off the package, because they review your package with you to make sure you have everything, or they will write down what is missing (hopefully nothing)
- application form – signed with an appropriately sized picture pasted to it
- surrogacy letter for perspective parents – from the High Commission of Canada (or your country’s) in New Delhi
- surrogacy contract – signed by all parties and notarized
- letter stating we will support the child(ren) after born
- we included the notice of assessment from our 2012 tax returns to show our income
- proof you will be able to pay for the surrogacy and related expenses (bank account print out)
- letter from our doctor in Canada explaining why we need surrogacy
- letter from clinic in India explaining when we need to be in India for surrogacy and where the procedures will be performed and how long we need to be there
- information to show the clinic is an ART clinic registered by the Indian Council of Medical Research
- marriage certificate (holy crap, i thought i knew EXACTLY where our certificate was – in a file folder called “wedding” in the filing cabinet – so i didn’t worry about it. then this afternoon i looked and it wasn’t there, so we had to tear through every single paper in our house. eventually, we found an old box full of paper, and hubby said “oh, that just looks like garbage”, but i had been through everything else. sure enough, there it was, in the exact blue plastic sleeve i had in my mind’s eye…. if we hadn’t found it, it takes something like $150 and 7 business days to get a replacement… close call!!! now it’s in the “wedding” folder in the filing cabinet, where it belongs.)
so, hopefully that’s everything. i will let you all know how it goes tomorrow morning. fingers crossed, ‘kay?
***ADDED JUNE 4th*** – please ensure you include information or proof from your clinic that they are a registered ART clinic. while we just included this info in amongst the information in the letter of intent to support the babies that are the result of this surrogacy, I would recommend that you get a letter directly from your clinic, or at the very least, print the 20 page list of ART clinics (in the Useful Information section of this blog) and highlight your clinic. it will just be more clear than what i provided, and while the gentleman i spoke to at our consulate office was lovely, you might not be as lucky, so have your package as straight forward as possible.
so we went to the travel clinic this afternoon, as we were pretty sure we would need anti-malaria medication for the trip and our GP said she didn’t normally prescribe it because it’s best to be prescribed by someone who specializes in knowing what is needed for each country.
it was a good appointment, we were able to book as a couple, and they were open late. i am all for offices that are open outside of regular business hours because we are already having to take so much time off work for various appointments and for the trips themselves. the nurse practitioner who interviewed us about our trip and also the nurse who administered the shots were very knowledgeable. here is a list of things we talked about and vaccinations we received today:
- hepatitis A and B – we had Twinrix in 2011, so were all good
- tetanus – hubby was up to date here, not me though – covered by provincial medical plan
- typhoid shot for each of us
- hubby got Dukoral to take before the trip, which covers traveler’s diarrhea (e-coli and cholera); due to some pre-exisiting intestinal issues, she did not recommend this for me
- anti-malaria pills – there were two options here – one was about $1/day each, but you take it for the whole trip and then a month afterwards and it has lots of common side effects like nausea, and the second was $5/day, but you only take it for the trip and then a week, and has no side effects – we opted for the ones with no side effects, as we don’t want to be nauseated on the trip if necessary – so this will be the most costly thing at around $150 each
- a set of antibiotics each, just to carry in case (not sure how much this will cost, as we haven’t had the prescriptions filled)
- we both got a booster of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, as apparently folks born after a certain year (some year in the 50s i think) are recommended to get a booster dose because the “new” vaccine isn’t as effective as the old from before that time) – covered by provincial medical plan
- all of these things are good for varying amounts of time, between a few months to life, so i highly recommend seeing a travel clinic if you have any doubts as to whether you are up to date
- we were provided with a list of things we should think about taking with us, that may or may not be readily available there; from tylenol to anti-nausea pills to epi-pens for allergies, bandaids, etc.
- a whack of information about various diseases that are found in India, including info about mosquitoes. it is recommended that we use heavy DEET mosquito repellent while we are there, as there are Dengue fever mosquitoes during the day, and Malaria mosquitoes at night. unfortunately, there is no vaccine or cure for Dengue fever, so that’s what the repellent is for, better safe than sorry.
- because we are only going to be in the urban areas, there were things we likely didn’t need, but i can’t fill you in on those. if you are planning on rural travel, it would definitely be best to talk to a travel clinic nurse.
here is the clinic we went to and the hours and price list. there are likely all kinds of travel clinics in every city, and i would highly recommend going to one. this is the first time we have done so, even though we have done a fair bit of travelling, and it was very informative. we feel much safer now :p
hubby sometimes says i research too much, and likely he’s right in many cases. i chalk it up to some of the jobs i have had in the medical profession, including a trainer and a project manager. healthcare, training, and project management all lend themselves to attempting to be thorough and to research the hell out of anything of interest or importance.
regardless of the choices you make when it comes to surrogacy, it’s probably most important to research clinics, so you choose the one that will fit your philosophy and surrogacy plan the best. i think that loyal readers of this blog have seen that our journey has changed from the start to now, because my ideas of what i had hoped for in my mind’s eye were pretty lofty, and the limitations of what’s available do not make that situation particularly common.
when you start your own journey, you too will have an idea of how you want it to play out, and different aspects may diminish your choices. whether you are a single person or homosexual couple who is trying to find a clinic that will manipulate the new guidelines to make it work for you, a couple with a limited income, people from a country that doesn’t recognize surrogacy, a couple where one person can’t travel because of health concerns, or any number of factors that deem your situation individual, you may have to make choices and compromises away from your initial plan.
i guess it’s because of this that i just wanted to stress the importance of research, because there aren’t very many guides on this route. you can find some organizations that will help you, that have experience with surrogacy, and for a fee they will take care of all the details, and if you find this process intimidating, then that might be the right path for you. some clinics are probably better than others at hand-holding, or might have staff that are dedicated to assisting you to find accommodation, flights, help with paperwork, etc. each couple will figure out their necessary level of assistance required.
i guess the bottom line, is that it’s important to find a clinic that is going to suite your needs, no matter what they happen to be, and it’s key that they are a registered ART (assisted reproductive technology) clinic in India, because it’s now illegal to use a clinic that isn’t officially registered. therefore, i wanted to share the most recent list i could find of clinics that are registered, so before you even contact a clinic, you can check the list, then ask your selected clinic if they are still registered (because the list doesn’t have a date on it, and i have no clue when/if it will be updated or how long registration lasts or how often it needs to be renewed).
another reason i wanted to share this list with you, is because it may be a jumping on point for you, because when i started this journey, and my subsequent research, it was rumoured that there were over a thousand surrogacy clinics in India (which sounds scary as all get-out), but you can see from the list that there are only about 150 registered at the time of this post. in my discussions with other women who are undertaking surrogacy at this very moment, NONE of us are using the same clinic, and not many of them are using clinics i have ever heard of. this is not to say that my clinic is better or worse than theirs, my point is that all it really takes to make a clinic look good online are a fantastic website designer and a bunch of good reviews (and how can you know if these reviews are solicited or faked or paid or real and honest?). each of us has selected a different clinic, which means that each of these clinics had things that attracted clients.
so do your research, and by that i don’t mean just look online at the pretty, shiny websites. see if you can talk to friends of friends who have undertaken surrogacy either successfully or unsuccessfully, make connections online with forums, facebook groups, chat rooms, blogs, anyone who will talk to you about their experience. be a little bit skeptical of folks you don’t know who are just gushing about their clinic and experience, as no experience is perfect and flawless, and it’s a known fact that discounts have been given by some clinics so that the IPs will gush online about their experiences. try to connect with people who will just get down and dirty with the details, and who will share the good and the “bad”.