Thursday, September 11, 2014

The fourth trimester and our last post

It's been an incredibly long time since I last posted (over 5 months).

I have thought about writing a number of posts along that 5 months, but didn't, as there was a lot going on and we were pretty dissatisfied with our agency along the way.  In the end, they abondoned us and left us to work through the exit process and co-ordinate the surrogate mother ourselves through a combination of private interpreters and lawyers.  Newlife didn't even have the decency to contact our SM after she was discharged from the hospital post c-section to see if she was okay.  We only knew this as we remained in contact with her and regularly asked.  So much for Surrogate Mother care that they quite happily took a fee from us for.  A lot of the posts would have been fueled by emotion - so I am glad I didn't post.  I would strongly discourage people using Newlife in any other country the operate in (India/Georgia/Ukraine/Poland/Israel and apparently now Mexico) based on our treatment in the weeks following our son's birth.

And on that note, and first and foremost, our son arrived safe and sound, on schedule on 5th August 2014.  He was born at 4.49pm at a healthy 3.32kg.  He really is perfect and each time I think about our time at the hospital I get teary (which is not like me at all).  After 3 days he was released from hospital and we were thrust into parenthood; with G saying, "this morning we didn't have a baby and now we do.  It's weird". And it was.

Like all new parents, the first few days was a blur of what the hell have we done and what the hell do we do?  He hasn't pooed, he's only eaten 20mls, why is he so sleepy?  I was/am slower to adapt than G who was like a fish to water. My stress and anxiety levels reached epic proportions - beyond anything I had ever experienced before.  I thought I was ready to become a parent, and having waited so long to meet our boy - I thought I would be instantly in love and on to it.  Not so.  This thing didn't fit nice and neatly into a schedule and every time we left the apartment we had to ensure we had this and that and usually the kitchen sink.  He just eat and slept and didn't give anything back.  No smiles, not even a lovingly stare. I know you're all thing "yeah.... what's your point, surely you knew this before he was born".  And I did... but I was also thinking about this without the fog of sleep deprivation or having an dormant emotional bomb go off in my mind.

But we powered through like all new parents do and both agreed to leaving the apartment as a family once a day to not take the easy road and continue to push our boundaries.  We didn't want to get concerned or anxious everytime we had to go out because we now had a baby.  We like to travel and want our son to take on that value.  Sometimes that means pushing yourself our of your comfort zone and realise it's not as bad as you think it is going to be.  After 5 weeks in Bangkok, our bub had probably seen more of it that most adults have.  And the locals in Suanplu started to know him, with the owner of NAGA cafe (a regular dinner venue of ours) referred to him as "The Professor" due sharing the same name as Patrick Stuart in X-men).   It's all too easy to hide away from the world in those first few weeks and develop cabin fever.  We committed to not doing this and encouraged each other to go for a walk once a day and get drinks/beer or water to just get some fresh (humid) air and have a break, have a Thai massage or go shopping.  Usually, we went for coffee each day as a family and that worked quite well.

Hovering over the first few weeks of parenthood was the uncertainty created by the Thai Military around babies born via surrogacy.  For a few weeks we were faced with the stark realisation that G may need to live in Thailand for 3-6 months while we attempted to get a court order.  We began looking for longer term, cheaper accommodation that would meet our families needs.  The prospect of this happening added another level of stress and distress on top of trying cope with becoming a parent.

A ray of hope appeared about 3 weeks following bub's birth and we heard that the Australian embassy and a law firm had a established a process with the Military to allow parents of children born through surrogacy to leave provided certain documentation requirements were met.  We quickly sought to pull all of this documentation together and leave Thailand before the process changed or some other scandalous surrogacy story came out, causing the military to change their minds.

Thankfully, on 5th September (as originally scheduled and booked) we headed to the airport with all our documentation in hand and checked in for our flight.  After getting to immigration we were escorted to a secondary desk as the mother was not travelling with us.  We presented all of our documentation and after around 20 minutes of thorough checking and copying, passports were stamped and we were free to go! The level of relief was immense and all of a sudden, we realised we were actually going home.

We boarded our Thai airways flight bound for Australia and as the doors closed, we knew we were another step closer to home.  Thankfully, there were 200 spare seats on the plane, giving us plenty of room to spread out.  Bub was a perfect baby on the way home.  Slept through the whole way, only waking to feed at 2am Bangkok time (as he does most nights) and then went back to sleep until we arrived.  No issues with ears and we couldn't have been happier for him.

So here we are, back home in Oz and finally settling into parenthood at home.  Bub has seemed to have settled well back into his new room.... although he has started 'fussing' in the late afternoon/evening with and hour or so of crying.  Prior to this, he only really cried when his nappy was changed or when we put him to down to sleep for about 10 mins.  Based on my extensive google research, this is apparently normal and thankfully temporary.

With all the disruption and uncertainty in Thailand, it's very unlikely that there will be a sibling project.  I just need to know that I can cope with one child, let alone think about adding to the family.  The other problem we have is that we have 25 frozen blastocysts that we really don't know the whereabouts of now ALL IVF has been shut down.  Various facebook information and posts suggest that they are still at ALL IVF's lab in Bangkok and completely safe.  Once things settle down,we'll look into things to ensure we know where the embryos are.

And that concludes our surrogacy journey.  Thank you for following us for so long.  We started this blog back in February 2012 prior to signing up with SI in Mumbai.  2 and half years later, we have a happy and healthy baby boy and still can't believe our luck that with all the odds against us, we got to the destination in the end.  We wish you well on your respective journeys - which ever stage you are at, and hope you too realise your dream of becoming a parent through surrogacy.

Best wishes

Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's been a while

Tomorrow we reach 20 weeks pregnant.

It's not that I haven't wanted to post, it's just that we feel so cautious.

I was talking to one of my oldest friends last week and she was saying that we appear really happy.  I said we are ... but I have this constant lingering worry in the back of my mind.  She said, "Oh that.... that's normal.... welcome to parenthood".  Her first born has just reached 7 month.  My friend's father was in the room when we were talking about my feeling and he said... "Yep, welcome to parenthood.  That never goes away!".

Wait.... hang on a sec.  No-one warned us about this.  My friend's father said that you get used to it, but it's always there.

And that's how I feel.  We're overjoyed that we've reach this milestone and our SM is doing so well.  We found out that we're having a boy and that all his measurements put him bang, slap into the middle of the bell curve.  But I can't help worrying if things will keep going well, or if something bad is just around the corner. I'll admit that this is not consuming me, but like I said above ... more like a lingering feeling I can't shake.  I think as the pregnancy continues to progress we'll gain more confidence.  We'll just be glad once we're holding him.... I hope!

We've tried our best not to buy anything, but my constant desire to be organised is starting to override the chronological aspect of we're we are at in the pregnancy.  It hasn't helped that one of my best friends is as excited as we are and keeps buying things and sending me the latest social media "deals of the day" baby bargains!  We've now amassed a number of adorable baby outfits and as of this week, a month's worth of newborn nappies.  It certainly hasn't stopped me thinking about the nursery decoration though.

Right from the beginning, I wanted something bright, colourful and unisex.  The wardrobe in the soon to be nursery is made up of 3 doors that were previously painted a horrid shade of blue.  Prior to the pregnancy, I had already given 1 coat of white paint to cover the hideous colour.  But that wasn't enough and it would need another coat.  Once the news arrived that we were having a baby, I delayed any further decoration until we knew if bub was going to stick around.  Fortunately, he decided to hang on ... .literallly... at which point I thought I could put a baby themed mural on the doors.  The rug was acquired from my one of the social media "deals of the day".  This weekend saw the completion of the mural.  Here is a pic of it below.

The pram, cot, change table, baby monitor, night light and accessories are all on layby.... so providing everything keeps going well, the nursery will be finished in 4 weeks time.

We're currently awaiting our next scan scheduled for the 8th April.

Apart from that, not much else has really been happening.  We continue to go to work and do all the normal boring stuff, intermixed with the occasional delivery from Amazon with a selection of baby books and planning our "babymoon" to reminisce on life pre-baby.  Otherwise, we just continue to focus forward and plan the the baby shower which is locked in for Queen's birthday weekend (Saturday 7th June)

Until our next update.... take care.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

We haven't been here before

It's been an exciting few weeks and we hope it continues.

At the end of our 2 week wait, we finally received the news that our surrogate had a positive HCG test with a result of 242.2.  Last Tuesday, the test was repeated a second time (1 week after the first test) and we received advice that the SM was still pregnant, with the HCG number having increased to 1518.2.  Based on the HCG calculators all over the internet, the little nugget was doubling it's HCG every 63 hours - well with in the 48-72 hour expected time frame.

So Monday brings us to the 6 week pregnancy mark - and all things going well will see the first ultrasound being done on Tuesday to see if a heartbeat exists. The results of course will probably come through the next day on.... yes, you guessed it, Christmas day.

We've been reluctant to write anything over the last few weeks as we didn't want to tempt fate and tell the world only to write one of those dreadful posts saying that the pregnancy was no more.  But the community has been so supportive and a number of readers following our journey have wanted to know what happened.

So there it is.... we never thought we'd get to this point.  It's taken such a long time but things are good.  We realise there is a monumental distance to travel still and we're not out of the woods by any stretch .  But each day further is another step in the right direction.

Thanks for your ongoing support and hopefully we'll have a heartbeat on Wednesday.

We hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Well here we are again in the 2ww!

This is the 5th time we've been in the two week wait (2WW) - although more correctly it will be the 10 day wait this time.

We arrived back from Bangkok this morning after a very long, but largely uneventful flight.  I always hate overnighters.  I am one of those people that just can't sleep on planes - even with chemical intervention.

Our egg retrieval was scheduled for Monday the 25th of November.  To provide us with plenty of time, our flights were book for the 23rd - ensuring we built in plenty of time for any delays that may arise.  However, on Thursday the 21st the clinic sent us into a panic as the ED was showing signs the egg pick may be sooner than scheduled - perhaps on the 24th - with her 25 follicles (per the Thursday scan) suggesting the right time might be on Sunday.

Naturally, we started looking at changing flights or re booking new flights as if we had to be there on the morning of Sunday the 24th - our arrival on Saturday night (actually 1 am Sunday morning) would result in a very slim margin of error should our flights be delayed.  Particularly given we had to transit through Sydney and do the hellish domestic-to-international transfer with a 1 hour 45 minute window.  After getting a bit frantic and stressed, the news arrived late Friday afternoon that Egg Retrieval would be Monday 25th as scheduled.

We stayed at The Eastin Grand Hotel in Sathorn/Yanawa - joined by a pedestrian bridge at Surasak BTS station.  It was an exceptional hotel - and we're pretty hard to please.  Here's a pic of the infinity pool on the 14th floor.

Pool at the Eastin Grand Sathorn Bangkok
This hotel is one stop away from NewLife - but also has easy to access the All IVF clinic (where the "magic drop" happens) which is near Phloen Chit station.

On Monday morning we headed to All IVF.  Unlike our Indian experience, this was a far more organised, clean and sleek operation.  The staff were efficient but pleasant - and were very informed of what was going on.  Our details were on hand, they were expecting us and they had things moving along well. They seemed to be in control.  When we were in India last year - the only person who actually knew what was happening was Jay from SI.  I know in India the doctors had no clue what was going on or who they were "treating".  In India we never really knew what was happening next - but Thailand has been a completely different experience. 

So following our ED's retrieval on Monday, the numbers were as follows:

Astonishingly, 49 eggs were retrieved.  Of these
  • 3 were GV (germinal vesicle) stage (very immature)
  • 44 M2 (mature)
  • 2 MI (less mature)
The next day, we were advised that 41 eggs had fertilised.

That same day we went to the NewLife offices to meet with Stephanie and Na to finally put some faces to names - but also have the privilege of meeting our ED and SM.  Our ED was lovely, had a wicked sense of humour and was just a lovely girl.  The SM was somewhat more shy, but assured us she was very confident of getting pregnant and was so pleased to be doing this.  Let's hope she's right. Both were elated when we presented them with some gifts of perfume.  If anyone reading this is going to Thailand for Surrogacy, a gift of perfume (we gave them both CK) will be a guaranteed winner. Here are some pics:

GB and the ED

GB and our SM
By Thursday (Day 3) the embryos were still trucking along, with a total of 27 embryos exhibiting a combination of grades 1 & 2.  The other 14 were still growing with good grading, albeit at a slower rate.  On Saturday we were informed that of the 41 embryos - 27 had reached blastocyst stage - with the 2 best being transferred and 25 frozen.
We're trying to steer clear of google as studies around the probability of success against number of eggs retrieved throws up some interesting results.

This time we're just relying on the skill of the embryologists and the luck of the universe that this time will be the one.

After our Bangkok duties - we headed down to Hua Hin for some reflection and R&R for the remaining few days in Thailand.  I don't think we'd go back to Hua Hin (for the simple fact that there isn't a great deal to do there and the beaches there are nothing compared to Ko Samui and Phuket), but at only 2.5 hours from BKK it offered a nice way to spend our last few days before heading home.

Devasom Resort Hua Hin (actually Cha Am)

So - once again, we wait for the outcome of our latest transfer. 

Fingers crossed!!!

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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Which way now?

It's been 3 months now since our 4th and final Indian attempt.  The Indian bureaucracy machine is working as expected with the prospect on any resolution regarding unmarried couples access to Indian surrogacy a distant reality now.

Each day, we are glad of our move away from SI.  After our last attempt, we received no correspondence from them until we received this e-mail in early April:

Dear GB & LC,

Greetings of the day!

We have been referred about your blog through a couple and have gone through it. There are some points that we agree upon and have noted it and working on it and some point that we have a different perspective. We wanted to know how you would like to proceed as we have your frozen embryos. If you are confident that you would not like to proceed with us then we would request you to fill up the embryo and semen discard forms.

I think this e-mail sums up the clinic in a nutshell.  Reading between the lines:

1.  We've read the blog and don't care to provide any apology or comment about your claims because we have done nothing wrong
2.  Are you going to pay us more money to cycle again?
3.  If not, fill out the forms to dispose of your embryos/sperm so we no longer have to correspond with you.

At no time have we been contacted by either Dr Yash or Dr Sudhir to discuss our comments or claims.  Their ambivelence is deafening, arrogance obvious and disinterest in their client welfare very clear.  Again, it makes me wonder how SI treat their Surrogates if this is how they treat the "gravy train".

We're not prepared to go down the Thailand route just yet.  The influx of IPs that would have otherwise gone to India worries us about corners being cut and fly-by-the-night operators out to rip people off.  So we're considering domestic options of altrustic traditional or gestational surrogacy.  It might be a little more tricky and time consuming, but at least we'll know that if we do get pregnant the Surrogate will have access to the some of the world's best healthcare and we'll know with absolute assurance that she is not living in a share house or be away from her family.  I'm not saying whether this is good or bad, or if clinics in India are doing anything dodgy, but for our piece of mind it means a lot.

It's great to see that everyone that started blogs around the same time as us, now have 3-4 month old babies exceeding any expectations they ever had of being a parent.  Congratulations to all those that have come before us and endured this incredible and emotional journey.

I am sure our time will come and when it does, I'm sure all the trials and tribulations to get to final destination will become distant memories and parenthood will exceed our expectations too!   


Monday, February 4, 2013

More than four reasons not to use Surrogacy India

Four is sometimes associated with luck - such as a four leaf clover.  In Chinese culture, the number 4 is considered unlucky.  And then there is the four elements of existence - earth, air, fire and water.

Whatever the significance of that number, today we got the results of our fourth attempt (third FET).

Once again, we received a negative result.  We're generally okay.  As you would expect, it is disappointing.  But surprisingly, it is a massive relief.  Why?  Let me explain.

Although it is easy to blame the clinic for negative results in a moment of emotionally fuelled disappointment, I can no longer overlook the glaring incompetence of dealing with this ART clinic - and let's use that term fairly loosely.  And just to clarify; I'm not necessarily assigning blame here - but I honestly believe that ART pregnancy is a combination of luck, fertility and professional medical intervention and assistance.  I think there are plenty of other clinics in India that provide this service better than SI.

For months I have posted about our journey, alluding to our struggle with trying to get pregnant, but never fully conveying or explaining about how difficult it has been working with Surrogacy India (SI).  Most of you out there will have been on a steep learning curve when it comes to understanding what everything meant when you received e-mails from your clinics explaining a test result of x or the endometrial lining is y thick.  SI provided little to no explanation of anything.  Of course I asked the interweb, but when asking medical questions directed to SI about certain results, the response from their admin staff (the doctors pretty much don't talk to you at all after you've signed up) was utterly abhorrent, usually incorrect and frankly quite reckless when running a business providing medical services.  Although I am not a clinician, I work in health and the information provided to clients by SI is disgraceful.  I recognise that we are not talking about the same levels of health care as Australia, but describing our experience with SI to a number of friends going through IVF in OZ was met with utter disbelief and profound sorrow for us.  Perhaps I was being overly dramatic?

To paint a further picture of the integrity of SI, the evidence:

1.  Surrogacy India pretty much outsource all of their IVF, embryology and imaging.  The latter is not unusual or unexpected - but the former came as a surprise to us after SI claimed during our initial investigation of clinics that they performed IVF "in our lab in Mumbai".  The fact is, it is not their Lab at all.  They outsource this entirely.  And buried in their contract they outline that they would not take any responsibility for third parties "including, but not limited to, the IVF lab.......".  Obviously this sparked confusion for us - particularly when presented with the written confirmation that they did everything "in our lab in Mumbai" - and how they could say that they don't take responsibility for what we are paying them to do.  After no fewer than 20 e-mails with their qualified (severe sarcasm when saying that word) legal team, did we manage to resolve the issue with GB's contract to make them take responsibility for actions of the IVF lab.  After negotiating this term with GB's contract it was near impossible to get the same passage changed in my (LC's) contract as the admin staff that were working in the "legal team" that week, were unaware of GB's contract as well as being unfamiliar with general legal terms or contracts.  This quality service was charged at $1,800 USD per surrogate. Initially believing that they take care of the ART process and take responsibility for our genetic material, it became quite unsettling when we found out the truth.

2. On departing India, an Australian couple who had visited SI earlier that week had to leave the original copy of their SM/IP contract behind while SI tracked down the SMs husband to sign the contract.  They had subsequently done this and when we visited the SI offices they asked us to take the original copy back to Australia with us and post it to the couple once back in OZ.  Apart from being appalled by the absolute lack of confidentiality, we strongly declined and explained how inappropriate that was.  What came as more of a shock was when the same situation arose 5 days later when we went to leave (regarding the SM husband not having signed), they proposed sending it home with another Australian couple.  Needless to say, the contract arrived a week later FedEx'd from Mumbai after some very honest words were had with Dr Ajja before leaving.  They advised that they had done us "a favour" by not charging us for the courier service.

3.  On our second attempt, we innocently asked when the FET would take place.  The SI team had advised that the surrogate had finished her menses (at around the 3rd of the month) so I thought it would be around the 14/15th of that month.  To our shock we were told that it was going to be around the 21-23rd from the trusty receptionist (again no contact or QA from the doctors at SI).  Obviously this seemed strange, so we pursued it further and were then lectured about how the doctors know what they're doing at that have delivered XXX number of babies.  After becoming exasperated dealing with the SI admin team (they essentially don't answer questions properly), we decided to leave it - until 8 days later when we were told that the scan had been done for our SM's lining and the transfer would occur on the 16th of that month.  We then asked to speak to the doctor as we were very confused by now; and they simply refused to speak with us.  The result came back negative and we heard nothing further from SI team until we approached them for our 3rd transfer - to which we received an invoice before any further details would be discussed.  Again, no further medical contact since signing up.

4.  On our third attempt we chose a 25 year old surrogate, that defied the theory of relativity and was a few months off 27 when her HCG test was e-mailed to us.  The age on her initial blood test results and the Surrogate Mother profiles all showed 25 years of age - which was one of the key reasons we chose here; apart from the fact she had been an a successful surrogate before.  On her hCG results her date of birth showed that she was nearly 27.  The error was explained by SI as a "technical error".  Happy for anyone to explain what that means?

5. In addition to the incorrect DOB on the HCG report, we also discovered a different surrogate name on the test result than the SM we chose.  This was also explained as a "technical error" to which their solution was to change the name on the report.

6.  Experienced surrogate fee - SMs that have been an SM before.  This was another exhausting issue that remains unresolved.  SI have information on their google site that provides the following in respect of experienced surrogates:

"They [Surrogate Mothers] normally prefer to offer services at $2500 - $3000 more than a fresh first time surrogate.  This is not included in the package price quoted".  

This cost is passed onto the IPs with the clear wording that this extra fee is determined by the surrogate - which I thought would then be payable to the surrogateWhen I received the SM/IP agreement, this was missing from the SM payment schedule and despite numerous e-mails to their legal team (23 emails in fact), they would only put the following clause into the contract

"2.4  In case of experienced surrogate, an additional amount of USD 3000 shall be made by the Intended Parents".

I asked this to be changed to...

2.4  In case of experienced surrogate, an additional amount of USD 3000 shall be made
by the Intended Parents wholly payable to the surrogate.  This is in addition to the amounts outlined in clause 2.3 [the normal payment schedule]"

They wouldn't change this nor would they explain where the additional money went.  They did however, feel compelled to explain how many babies they had delivered and how transparent they were.  Despite the condescending tone of the e-mail, it was clear that the SM would never see a cent of this payment "they preferred" to offer their services at. When I pushed again, they advised that they would be sending my query to the accounts department to answer??? WTF?

7.  On attempt number 4 we received our FET report, which despite being performed on 21st of January 2013, showed 17th December 2012 on the transfer report.   SI's explanation was "Because of new circular came for single father surrogacy, to avoid controversy our IVF lab put December's date instead of putting 22-January"  Alongside this questionable practice (which was done for SI's benefit and not ours) you'll see another inconsistency of the transfer date by 1 day - but I had estimated this was probably due to another one of those pesky "technical errors".

There are many other instances where their responses/practices/behaviours have been pretty unpalatable.  I always tried to rationalise this as "India".  But after 10 months interacting with SI, I can't accept that this is India.  In fact, I think India would be unfairly represented by the actions of SI.  Although cathartic as it is to finally write all of this, it saddens me that we missed our overall objective of having a child and had to learn the hard way.

So maybe we're being overly critical or maybe we're being entirely reasonable after shelling out thousands of dollars and pouring our heart and soul into this process.  All we have to show for this is a trip to India, a hard life lesson and 307 emails from SI sitting in a gmail account.  I realise others who have gone through SI may have had an entirely different experience and I am pleased for them.  But I pity anyone who chooses to go with SI, particularly if they have read details of our experience.

I strongly question SI's integrity as in nearly every transfer we did with them, there were questionable practices apparent. I dread to think how they actually treat their Surrogates. So we close this chapter on our lives and chalk it up to a very expensive, emotional and financial experience.  I do intend, however, on passing the details of their behaviour on to SI's accreditation body (ICMR) to ensure that these practices are stamped out.

We move forward now with some trepidation about where to from here.  As we mentioned in our post 12 Month wrap up India's window of opportunity appears to have closed for the time being, really leaving the USA or Thailand as further options.  The USA is out purely on financial grounds - which leaves Thailand.  We both have very fond memories of time spent in Thailand (we've travelled there 5 times) and I would love to experience the hospitality shown to us a tourists in undertaking ART and Surrogacy.  But this time, we will be asking a lot more questions and going in eyes wide open.

Goodbye SI, it's been well, overwhelmingly disappointing.  To those considering Indian clinics, I would avoid SI like the plague.  Yes they have a history of babies, but don't believe for a second that this has anything to do with their professional intervention or credentials.  It's wholly reliant on the outsource IVF lab, which they're happy to take the credit for the pregnancies the lab achieves, but no responsibility for any actions by the lab that don't result in pregnancy.  

Thanks for readership and we'll appear again in the near future.