Sunday, September 15, 2013

A new direction

It has been some months since we last posted.

This was partly because we were unclear about which direction we were going and partly because we were a little disenchanted with the whole process of trying to have a baby.

Financially we were very hard hit by the failure of India.  All up there wasn't much change from $40k AUD. 

During the months waiting to see if anything would change in India, we decided to look at options domestically.  Having been lucky enough to have a close friend willing to be an egg donor here in Oz, we proceeded to get cost estimations from a number of Australian IVF clinics to see how much it would be to do "altruistic surrogacy".  If you think international IVF clinics are expensive, Australian clinics blow them out of the water.  Not to mention to the two tier pricing structure for infertile couples vs couples pursuing surrogacy!  And that's before taking into account any Medicare rebates, legislated counselling, legal fees and court costs.  Their profits also maximised by not allowing more than one embryo transfer at a time (not without significant reason to do multiple embryo transfer).  Nevertheless we continued to research with the final barrier being to find a willing surrogate.  This proved to be the most difficult part and eventual failure of us deciding to undertake surrogacy in Australia.  Despite the apparent "altruism" aspect of surrogacy in Australia (as commercial surrogacy in Australia is illegal in all states except the Northern Territory) our estimation of costs would have exceeded $60k.  Sadly, the only people making money out of surrogacy in Australia are the IVF specialists.  The selfless women doing all the hard work stood to gain very little - and in a number of cases, were actually out of pocket for doing someone else a "favour".

So we looked abroad again.  The US was still out on financial grounds as were a number of European countries only offering surrogacy services to married couples. So our final option - like most same sex couples - was now limited to Thailand.

In previous posts, we touched on concerns and our reluctance to go to Thailand mainly because of the influx of clients following the visa changes in India and the absence of IP protection afforded through legislation.  However, the visa situation in India has taught us that the situation around surrogacy can change quite quickly.  Given Thailand has a draft bill on the table, so to speak, we thought now is a good a time as any to move forward with our plans before we were pushed out of the market altogether.

We have chosen NewLife as our clinic.  They have a number of years' experience doing ART in India, Georgia and the Ukraine and a solid history of making IPs become parents.  So in November 2013 we, once again, embark on the surrogacy journey and head to Bangkok.  This time it will be in a country we're familiar with, a process we know all too well and have the benefit of hindsight to guide us on our way.  So far, the experience with NewLife has been entirely different than dealing with Surrogacy India.  The simple fact that we're not berated for asking questions and responses don't come from their receptionist is a good start.  The responsiveness is very good and their process and pricing structure appears far more transparent than SI's.  Here's hoping the next part of the journey goes just as well.

So here we go again.  Let's hope the second time around is far less disappointing than our first experience.

xx GBLC.