So I had been researching and reading about surrogacy and various clinics out there for some time. Generally I don't trust Google and everything that I read online. I prefer having references and talking with real people who have become parents through surrogacy. So last year joining the support group in New York and meeting other parents was very helpful. From the very beginning of my research I was leaning towards Indian surrogacy for various reasons:
- Average cost of surrogacy in India is about 1/3 of domestic surrogacy.
- The fact that my partner is of Indian origin was a big factor to go to India as I thought he is quite familiar with the culture. Also we will have great options with Indian egg donors as I wanted our child to have Indian roots.
- Medicine in India is quite advanced. I had heard how the medical tourism is thriving there, and India is becoming the surrogacy capital of the world.
So I reached out to a few domestic and Indian agencies asking for information and also made contacts with other IPs who had gone through surrogacy in India. At the beginning the journey seemed quite overwhelming. Not only having to rely on two complete strangers (egg donor and surrogate), but also there are many other parties involved: The agency, lawyers, doctors, nurses, social workers, insurance component, the legal aspect, etc etc. At times my head was exploding, but I tried not to think too much about the process and instead focus on the end result and the dream!
Then in May I found out through Facebook that one of my tennis friends and his partner just had babies through SCI (Surrogacy Center India) which is based in New Delhi. I immediately reached out to them and they had amazing things to say about their experience with SCI. So I contacted the agency and started the communication with Meg and Margarida, two most wonderful ladies from Australia who act as foreign client liaison for SCI. They were amazing at answering all my questions. I was so impressed with their great communication, something that was lacking in other agencies. For the most part I was getting replies to my emails within hours. Also I joined their online forum where other IPs discuss their journey. Pretty much everyone had wonderful things to say about Dr Shivani and her staff. I knew right away that if we take the surrogacy path, SCI would be our top choice.
Unfortunately my partner at the beginning wasn't too comfortable with surrogacy and he insisted we should try adoption first. I knew if I were single, I would have proceeded with SCI right away. However being in a relationship for 15 years, I wanted to take a journey that we both can agree on. So in next few months, we put the idea of surrogacy on hold and focused on adoption and the related paperwork.
It was around mid October when my partner had a change of heart and agreed to pursue surrogacy in India. So I reached out to SCI right away and set up an Skype session with Meg and she was so patient in answering all my remaining questions. We also met up with two other wonderful couples in our area who had babies through SCI and they all had positive experience.
Next step, SCI provided us a large number of their egg donor profiles. Choosing the egg donor was fun yet challenging as we couldn't agree on everything! We limited our favorites to 20 and later, per SCI recommendation, we had to pick our top 5 choices. We could both agree on our top choice but the other ones were compromise. Thankfully our top donor was available in February. Even though our other choices were available sooner, we decided to wait for our top choice. I will never forget we were choosing our egg donor in the middle of hurricane Sandy super storm that hit the Northeast last Fall!
So it was early November when we did all the paperwork and sent our registration forms and booked our egg donor for the first week in February. Then we had to wait 3 long months to start the journey in New Delhi.