Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why India?

U.S.= Only for the Wealthy?
In the U.S. the cost of Gestational Surrogacy can be daunting. In the U.S. Intended Parents must cover the costs of a Agency Fess (unless they use an Independent Surrogate or are blessed enough to have a family member or friend carry for them) Surrogate Fees, Fresh IVF cycle or Frozen Embryo Transfer, Medical Expenses, Travel Expenses, Legal Fees, Maternity Clothing and have extra money in escrow in case there are any complications that arise from the birth. Total Price Tag: Anywhere upwards of $70,000 +

My grandparents are from Panama and I have Panamanian blood, so naturally when I found out that Panama was joining the commercial Surrogacy route through Planet Hospital I was excited to do some research. The Planet Hospital program in Panama is through Dr. Mario Vega who is the Medical Director of the Punta Pacifica Reproductive Center. Pros: I am part Panamanian, I speak Spanish, Panama is only a 2 hour flight from the U.S., Dr. Vega is highly educated and did a Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship in New York. Cons: The Surrogacy program in Panama is brand spanking new and I am not feeling being anybodies guinea pig, and finally the cost through Planet Hospital is $36, 500 for me since I am using my own eggs.

Thailand is currently trying to give India a run for it's money in the world of commercial Surrogacy. The prices seem comparable to that of India so I thought it was worth doing some research as any consumer should do to become informed. Pros: Thailand is a beautiful country, plane tickets are slightly cheaper than flying to India, Surrogates in Thailand tend to be very healthy because of their diet. Cons: Surrogacy in Thailand is not that established, the legal issues of Surrogates are not that clear, many potential Intended Parents in forums I came across have complained about agencies/brokers trying to take advantage of them, I could only find information on one doctor with great reviews for IVF and two hospitals that are known for specializing in Surrogacy.

The Ever Growing World of Pro Surrogacy in India
Commercial Gestational Surrogacy became legalized in India in 2002. The cost comes to about $25,000, roughly a third of the typical price in the United States. That includes the medical procedures; payment to the surrogate mother, which is often, but not always, done through the clinic; plus air tickets and hotels for two trips to India (one for the fertilization and a second to collect the baby). Pros: India is known for having skilled medical professionals. The Indian clinics are making it even more convenient for International Intended Parents knowing that at times the lifestyles of other cultures can be quite hectic. You can start your IVF cycles in the U.S. with your own fertility doctor so your stay in India is minimal. If your husband can't be there you can ship or carry his sperm to India or if you guys have frozen embryos you can ship those to India as well. Surrogacy Law is governed by contracts and under guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research, surrogate mothers sign away their rights to any children. A surrogate’s name is not even on the birth certificate. Surrogates help foreign couples achieve the possibility of having a child biologically related to both or one of the Intended Parents and the Surrogates are able to earn an income to provide a better way of life for their families. Cons: Once the baby or babies are born, the process to bring them back to the United States in our case and getting their U.S. can be quite overwhelming. On top of getting a Passport and an Exit Visa for your baby you have to fill out various forms at the U.S. Consulate and this process can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.


  1. I think you'll find in any country you have to apply for citizenship, passports and exit visas for baby, just the same as you have to in India. USA procedures are tried and tested and relatively smooth.

    We looked at Thailand too, but the big con there was the surrogate's name goes on the BC - and that BC is something baby will have for life. I didn't want that. It also could leave IPs open to exploitation by the SM/clinic - if SM wanted to keep baby, she would have full legal rights to do so, whether she's signed away those rights or not, you'd have to go to court to get baby and Sm would have better legal rights than genetic mum and dad, not being thai citizens.

    Be aware that the legal contracts in India have never been tested in a court of law. The IMRC Guidelines are simply that, guidelines only. There is no surrogacy law in India at present.

  2. Cocoa, from our experience (of a successful-on-the-first-try pregnancy), I'd estimate the cost to be closer to low-30K rather than 25, when you figure in all the travel costs and cost of staying in India for 2-3 weeks after the birth. The US paperwork is annoying but extremely straightforward; the Indian process will leave you scratching your head or crying in frustration. Nonetheless, it is a well-trod, proven path for US citizens.

    Loved your biblical post, BTW. I have a blog post on the same topic on my baby masala blog, proving we have some ideas in common!

  3. We ultimately decided to go with India but we did quite a bit of research as well. The world of surrogacy definitely continues to grow and in addition to India, US, and Panama there is also Ukraine/Russia, Argentina, and South Africa that I found while researching. Good luck in your decision.

  4. Thanks Amani for the insight and clarification about the guidelines :)

  5. Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for the estimates (I am glad some of these expenses can be paid on a timeline) and I have read your blog and love it. I agree we have some of the same ideas in common LOL.

  6. Hey Paul,

    I knew about the Ukraine, but I never knew about Argentina or South Africa (thought it was mainly for IVF and Egg Donation through agencies like Nurture run by Tertia). Thanks so much for the Well Wishes ;)

  7. The time when an egg is produced from your ovary is called OVULATION. Ovulation usually occurs each month, and at the same time the lining of your womb becomes engorged with blood ready to receive and nourish the expectant embryo, also your bodies hormones begin to rise in preparation of supporting a pregnancy. This is normally in the middle of your monthly cycle (around day 14 if you have a 28 day cycle). Your egg will live for about 12-24 hours after ovulation.
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