Monday, January 25, 2010

Surrogacy in India - New Problems Arise

We at Agency for Surrogacy Solutions, Inc are well aware of what a surrogacy journey costs in the United States. After all, both Kathryn and I are former IPs, and I have started on another surrogacy journey. There's no getting around that it is very expensive, even more so for International IPs coming to the States. There's been so much talk and press about surrogacy in India and while it sounds good -- especially the cost - we need to be aware that it is still a relatively 'new' thing in India. That is why we continue to see issues like the one below come up. That is the beauty of doing surrogacy here in the States (of course as long as it is in a surro-friendly state.) The laws have been tried and tested and in place for a long time. It's highly unlikely that YOU will be come the test case. But in India, that promise cannot be made... so if you're ready to take those chances and you go in with your eyes open, then perhaps India is the right choice for you. I know, for me, it is not. I want my name to go directly on my child's birth certificate - I don't want to have to adopt my own child.

India Fertility Industry Hit with Another Blow & Americans Giving Birth Overseas Using an Egg Donor
Tuesday 26 Jan 2010 By Theresa M. Erickson
In an article that was just posted in India, controvery continues to follow India and its fertility industry. In this article entitled rightly so, “In the Womb of Controversy,” the writer states the following:

“As high drama is being played out in Indian courts over surrogacy issues, the US consulate in Chennai, perhaps worried about the rash of litigations has decided to tighten its visa processing norms, particularly for couples coming to the city for fertility treatment and assisted reproduction.

About a month ago, Vimala (name changed), a US citizen, returning home after delivering a healthy baby boy, was put through a grilling at the US consulate in Chennai when she went to obtain a passport for her new-born. On learning that she had conceived the child with the help of donor eggs (through assisted reproduction by transfer of eggs or oocytes donated by another woman), the consulate declined to recognise her as the biological mother.

“The father’s name and mother’s name are mentioned in the consular report of birth. This certificate is issued to recognise a US citizen child born outside the country. But the certificate for my son does not list me as the mother. I had to go through a lawyer to process adoption in the US and get the certificate amended to incorporate my name,” Vimala said in a communication to her doctor.
The incident triggered protests among a section of fertility experts in Chennai and kicked off a debate on personal privacy and patient confidentiality and the need for laws. “The laws in India and those of countries from where patients come for treatment should be made clear. Our guidelines state that a surrogate mother gives a written undertaking relinquishing all rights over the child, and the same applies to an egg donor as well,” pointed out Dr Priya Selvaraj of the Chennai-based GG hospital.

Dr Falguni Bavishi of the Ahmedabad-based Bavishi Fertility Institute insisted that none of her patients, five so far from the US and who delivered through donor eggs, faced ‘harassment’ at the consulate. “We made it clear to the consulate that the delivery was through egg donation,” she said.

With the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2008 still in the cans, India’s stand on issues relating to surrogacy remains a set of guidelines on paper. Said Dr PM Bhargava, the chief architect of the Bill and former member of National Knowledge Commission: “The draft bill clearly says that if anyone from outside the country wishes to have a child using ART procedure, they have to produce evidence that they can take back the child without problems.”

According to Bhargava, one of the architects of the Bill, issues relating to surrogacy have been addressed in the proposed legislation. “We had foreseen problems like this (the legal tussle between divorced Japanese parents and their daughter Manjhi Yamada, born from an Indian surrogate mother and the case of the German couple fighting for citizenship for their twins),” he said.

In the case of the German couple, the Supreme Court has suggested that adoption would be the only way out for their surrogate twins.

Authorities in Germany, which does not recognise surrogacy, were willing to consider their application for a temporary visa for the twins for initiation of adoption process.

US consulate officials declined to comment, merely citing the US Federal statutes governing acquisition of US citizenship by birth abroad to a US citizen parent. Section 7 FAM 1131.4-2 (Citizenship in Artificial and In Vitro Insemination Cases) states that “a child born abroad to a surrogate mother who is the blood mother (that is, who was the egg-donor) and whose father was a US citizen is treated for citizenship purposes as a child born out of wedlock”.

But with the ART bill gathering dust and India emerging as a major hub for transcultural surrogacy, the country could well see more cases like that of Jan Balaz and Susan Lohle, the German couple battling to save their surrogate twins from becoming stateless citizens. “
However, women using egg donors and giving birth overseas anywhere need to be aware of this issue, as I have seen it several times in Israel, as well as other countries. Currently, you will have to do an adoption once you return home to the US if you inform them that an egg donor was used. Be careful! And, again this is why it is important to do your research beforehand.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Video Shoot for Global

This weekend was exciting! Both Kathryn and I had the pleasure of being part of an extensive 'expert' video shoot for the new website If you haven't checked it out, please do! It's a great site, full of information for those IPs looking to travel overseas for any Assisted Reproduction services, and for those coming to the States for the same. It lists clinics, laws, costs, etc around the globe - and I know these days, many of us are thinking of going abroad for (most often) egg donation - and sometimes surrogacy. Our interviews of course focused on surrogacy and why we think the United States is still the best and safest place to go to do it. But we're certainly not blind to the fact that egg donation and surrogacy are becoming part of a much bigger, global picture - and that the costs in the United States for these services are sometimes too heavy a financial burden. That's why Global is such a valuable resource -- finally a one stop place to get all of the necessary information to make an educated decision about creating your family. Knowledge is empowerment!

Our segments will most likely be 'airing' on in the next few months -- we'll keep you posted!!

I know that is always looking for stories from IPs who have gone abroad for services or IPs who have come to the United States... there are blogs, articles, forums... so if you've got a story to share, or an upcoming fertility trip, please get in touch with them at so that your experiences might help others.

Have a great day!
Lauri de Brito

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ranting & Raving about Doctors on the Internet

The following link raises some interesting thoughts regarding rants and raves about doctors on the internet. I'm sure what will follow is the same consideration regarding services -- including surrogacy agencies, egg donation agencies, etc. I guess more 'food for thought' that we not just blindly trust what we read on the web, and before making a very important decision - like choosing a doctor or an agency - do your research. Here at Agency for Surrogacy Solutions, Inc - we want you to be an educated consumer.

Docs seek to stifle patients' rants on Web sites
Doctors worried about their reputations are trying to fight back against bad Web site reviews, requiring patients to sign contracts - critics call them "gag orders" - promising not to post comments to public sites. But the move may be backfiring.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Britains most prolific surrogate!

This story gives plenty of food for thought ... here is a woman who has given the gift of life, over and over again to so many infertile people. In the press and online, many are questioning that she has done it too many times -- at the risk of her own health and potentially now of any future baby(ies). My greater concern is the fact that she has NEVER had/raised a child of her own -- yet acted as a traditional surrogate all these times prior to this current gestational situation. How did that happen? Another reason why I think the US is a much safer bet for surrogacy... no doctor (and no reputable agency for that matter) would ever work with a woman who does not have at least one child of her own. It freaks me out a bit to think that her first surrogacy was her very first pregnancy - and using her own eggs! I would have been terrified if I were the IM!! ......

Britain’s most prolific surrogate is pregnant again:

Jill Hawkins, from Brighton, has been implanted with two embryos from a professional couple in their early thirties.

Miss Hawkins said she was “absolutely ecstatic” after a home pregnancy test revealed at least one of the embryos has started to grow in her womb. It will be the first time she has carried a child not from her own eggs and she will find out later this month if she is expecting one baby or twins.

“There’s a good chance it could be a multiple pregnancy,” Miss Hawkins told the Daily Mail. “I hope it is. I have never had twins before so I’d love to have that experience.” Miss Hawkins, who has no children of her own, will hand over the baby – or babies – to the couple while still in the maternity ward.

Miss Hawkins, who will be paid around £12,000 in “expenses” for her pregnancy, had spent 18 months trying for an eighth baby, but without success. “My eggs have just packed up which is not unusual for a woman of my age,” she said. “I was worried that because my eggs aren’t as strong as they were that the rest of me might not be up to it either.

“But I’ve had scans and there’s nothing wrong with my womb so being a host should not be a problem. I love being pregnant. It’s a compulsion I suppose and I really miss it when I’m not pregnant.” All Miss Hawkins’ previous children she has given away have been conceived using her own eggs and sperm from the father which was artificially inseminated. Miss Hawkins, a legal secretary, is the most prolific surrogate mother living in Britain. Carole Horlock, from Stevenage in Hertfordshire, who has given birth to 12 surrogate babies, held the title before moving to France four years ago.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Happy New Year! Hoping that all of your dreams come true in 2010!
From all of us at Agency for Surrogacy Solutions!