i wanted to process our appointment for a few days before writing (holy crap, i can’t believe it’s only been a few days since our appointment, it seems like it’s been weeks, so surreal), so here’s how it went down.
we got to the clinic and it was around back and upstairs of a building with shops in the front. it wasn’t hard to find, because we had taken a hotel car, rather than a taxi, and i think the drivers have to do a very good job of finding places for the guests, so it really wasn’t a big problem. the clinic was on a main street too, which helps. so we pulled in and went around to the back and up the elevator to the third floor. we had seen a video of the clinic, so knew somewhat what to expect, but one thing i have to say, is judging by videos i have seen come out of India with regards to airports, hotels, the clinic, whatever, it seems like they have fabulous cinematographers there, because the videos all seem so opulent, and the reality not so much. so the clinic was smaller than i thought, but it’s spread over a few floors, which i didn’t realize, but it was clean and bustling, and most importantly, there was a couple there with a wee, tiny, success story. we figure they were from somewhere in Europe, because they were speaking what sounded like it may have been German or something similar, and they were both blond and European looking :P. they had the most gorgeous little newborn with them, snuggled down in a car seat/carrier thingy. my husband said “oh, i see you’ve had a success!” but they didn’t understand. there were several staff members at the clinic, organizing things, taking care of business.
(so here’s where i struggled with whether to include this part or not, and have decided to only do so because this is anonymous and nobody knows which clinic we are using, other than close friends and family. if i remember way back to when i started the blog, i said i wanted to just record our experience from start to finish, so that others could use it as a guide for steps to take and things to expect, so i am going to stick by that, keeping in mind that i am not identifying our clinic to anyone at this point, and may never do so. i guess this kind of thing can happen anywhere, to anyone, and it all turned out fine in the end, but it was a little strange at the time.)
i let them know we were here to see our doctor, and suddenly there was a blank look on the receptionist’s face. she went off and checked things out, and it turns out that there had been some sort of a mix-up and our doctor thought we were coming the following week. this kind of blew my mind, based on the stream of emails we had had building up to the appointment, me stating that i was getting excited to meet them, that our flight was “tomorrow” when we didn’t yet have a surrogate profile yet, confirming the address to meet them “on May 3rd”, etc. i think i then had a blank look on my face, but the receptionist took it in stride and said that another doctor would see us.
the doctor who saw us was lovely and knowledgeable and obviously had lots of experience in the field. she explained things to us and gave us all the paperwork, catching herself up as we went. she made a very good impression on us, and was very open with answering our questions and providing information, we were very pleased with her.
one of the issues that freaked us out was that because of the mix-up, the surrogate wasn’t there, and they were trying desperately to reach her, because we all have to be together to sign the contract, this is really the whole point of this first trip. as luck would have it, she was in town (not sure if she lives in Mumbai normally or not), and was supposed to come to the clinic anyways that day so she would be able to meet us after all (thankfully, because we were flying out that night). we were sent away to have lunch for a bit and explore, and come back in a few hours to complete the paperwork and meet the surrogate and her husband.
this is the point where we did our wee bit of exploration in the tiny van taxi and looked for the other close-by hotel. this is also when we saw the small beggar children, so i won’t go over that again.
when we returned to the clinic, we went into the interview room, and the surrogate, her husband, and her daughter came in. (i am going to devote another post to them, so won’t describe now.
we all signed the paperwork, and the clinic staff took pictures of all of us together, signing, in the same room, as proof that we were all together at the same time and were entering into the agreement with full knowledge of each other.
we had a bit of a conversation, via translation, and we were done. it was over very quickly, and i dunno, it was very much like a business meeting (which is exactly what it was). i think it was uncomfortable for all of us, except the staff, who do this all the time, which is why i have had to take a few days to process it. when you read about it online, or are in touch with others who have gone through surrogacy, you hear all different kinds of experiences, and i think your mind kind of chooses one that you would ideally like your situation to be similar to, and then i think you might come to expect that, so when it’s not like that, it takes time to process. i suppose even if it is like your ideal, you still need to process, but when it’s not, you have to bridge the gap and change your mind-set to align with what the experience was actually like and how the experience will likely be going forward. for me, i had seen and heard many stories of people with relationships with their surrogates, videos of smiling surrogates gushing about how they were helping a childless family and felt so happy about it, and even people who had somehow chosen their own surrogate and had frequent contact with her. i had also seen many stories and documentaries where the surrogacy is a very clear business transaction, with very little contact, and very little personal knowledge between surrogate and IPs. in both extremes, i have seen successful stories and not so successful stories, so there is really no way to say which is best; it’s personal i guess and each couple/person feels their own way about it. for me, at the beginning i had hoped that there would be something more personal, and i suppose i can’t really judge from this one meeting, but it did seem very impersonal to me. it was explained to me though, that this is much more emotionally healthy for the surrogates, who have so much to lose emotionally, when they carry a baby for all that time and have to hand it over to the IPs, it’s probably best to be able to compartmentalize that experience. these fantasies of keeping in touch, providing our child with some info about their surrogate mother in the future, perhaps a trip in their teens; these are all pretty unrealistic, considering the language barrier, the literacy barrier, the fact that most surrogates wouldn’t even have a phone or be able to read a letter if sent, even if it was in their own language.
so, not much else to say here, but this is our experience. if you are planning on surrogacy, and passionately want to have a close relationship with your surrogate, or any of the things i have previously described, you will probably have to search far and wide to find this sort of arrangement. it’s far less common than what we experienced so far, which i think is the norm. what i am passionate about, is parenting in the future, and knowing that our surrogate gets financial benefits that can lift her above what is clearly a very poverty stricken life. those are the things i need to be confident about, and other stuff can be secondary.
that was a bit of a ramble, i guess i am still processing as i write…. so maybe there will be more to come, but i think this post is long enough for now, and enough writing for tonight, so tomorrow i will write about the surrogate and her family.