Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TURKISH AIRLINES AND MUMBAI IMMIGRATION!!!!!

We are safe and sound at The Leela in Mumbai, but our travel over on Turkish Airlines was one for the record.  Our flight left out of Dullas/Washington DC on time, and was to arrive in Istanbul Airport with about an 1/ 1/2 layover.  While in the air after about 3 hours we heard hollering and screaming behind us and what sounded like someone was being assaulted.  Turkish Airlines appears to have a high number of male stewards and they rushed to the middle of the plane to find out what was happening.  It appeared as if the matter was settled as they moved the passenger to another section of the plane, only to have the same reenactment take place a few hours later.  This time the man was screaming and walking up and down the aisles.  People were clearly scared and nervous, and I'm sure people were thinking about 9-11 all over again as I was.  Within 20 minutes a group of men converged and took the tug out, and restrained his hands and I believe  his feet.  Our pilot then let us know that we would be landing in France, which we did for two hours.  Upon our arrival in France, we were met with Police, Ambulance and media.  The man who did the assaulting was carried off of the plane by about 7 men, as they  kept him restrained.

Because of this incident, our flight to Mumbai was delayed by 6 hours.  When we finally took off for our final destination,  Mumbai on Turkish Air once again, we were hoping for a smooth flight.  Once we sat down we heard screaming and yelling once again, and that continued throughout the flight.  An Oxford educated attorney from Mumbai was talking loudly the whole flight, and people were yelling at him to shut up, and he would scream back at them.  When he was told that the police would be meeting him in Mumbai, he welcomed with the laughter the thought of that idea, knowing full well that money talks.  The staff on Turkish Air were none to friendly, and I can understand after seeing how a few of the passengers acted.  When it came time for breakfast, and we were given the menu with two options when it came time to eat all that was left was eggs, which I have allergies to.  When I asked if there was anything else, I was told firmly that this is it.  I was not even offered anything else.  As you can imagine, we will not be flying them again after we return home from this journey.

Once we arrived in Mumbai and went through it immigration, this set up another chain of events.  Colin filled out the paperwork for immigration and the address that he put on it was Anand.  This set off a red flag, as the immigration officials know the hot buttons for surrogacy and wanted to know why we didn't have medical visa's, but  finally after 30 minutes of meeting with other officials  he let us go.  For those intended parent's doing surrogacy in India, just put the name of your hotel on the form in the future.  If you are going to Anand, just say you are staying in Mumbai or some other larger city. The final cherry on the ice-cream before leaving immigration was an official looking man, stopping us and asking us to come into his run down office to inform us that we owed a tariff on our luggage.  The tariff would be $100 for him, and another $100 for his friend.  At this point, this sister had about enough for one day.  I started to give him 100 rupee's, than just said to him, that he was crazy and they were not getting $100, and I threw a $20 at him.  His friend turned around and said what about his, and I told him he better get it from his better half.  These people are all immigration employees, and you have to wonder how many people on a daily basis are harassed like this.  When our car arrived from the Leela, and I told them what had happened they told us that people get like that around Christmas and New Year's, the desperation for money really comes out in full force.

With all of that said.  We are officially a family of 5. The twins were born on the 20th, and we are proud parents of a boy and girl, Alec Eion McRae & Elle Campbell McRae.  The names honor grandparents, that are deceased and one living grandparent  Dr. Eion McRae. We will see them for the first time tomorrow evening.  We are told that they are well.

As a side note, for all of you who I owe e-mails to I plan on sending out a bunch tomorrow night.  Stay-tuned!

Friday, December 10, 2010

TICK TOCK

Time is flying by, and it looks like a c-section will take place on December 15th.  However we will be arriving on the 22nd.  This gives the babies a solid week on breast milk, which is a good thing.  It has finally hit me that we are having twins, even though mentally I have known about it for months.    I just ordered two baby bouncers, and have all of the clothing ready to be placed in the suitcase.  It looks like we will not need to stay in Anand, India for long, most likely just a couple of days, than we are off to Mumbai for the passports.  We will stay in Mumbai overnight, than head to New Delhi.

I'm thrilled about heading to New Delhi, to look at property for surrogate housing.  What I have found is that almost 99% percent of intended parent's want their surrogate to be housed and feed properly.  A number of doctors in New Delhi, who have until now only worked with locals, had no need for surrogate housing.  Being involved in this process gives me reassurance that while in the surrogate housing, these women will have mentally challenging things to do, and hopefully when they have time to reflect later on in life, they will look back on the process with happy thoughts.  The surrogates will have a driver who takes them to and from doctor's appointments, as well as a Den mother to preside over the housing. 

Before we leave, I will ask on of my neighbors to transcribe a letter from English to Gujarati, for our surrogate, thanking her for giving us all three of our children.  It is hard to believe that this one women has helped  to give us our family, both of us from totally different lives. We both have had an impact on each other, and I will be grateful to her always.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Twin Prep!!

 

We are starting to get ready for the twins!!!  I'm hoping that this double stroller will come in handy at the airports, not just for the twins, but for Mark.  Bugaboo finally has a double stroller to be released Spring 2011, so I will hold onto this  new Mcclaren double stroller until then.   The Bugaboo stroller that we currently have, I'm willing to give to a good home and it is in great shape.   I love Bugaboo because it is easy to use, and it is light.  It folds down  easily and it is great to use in large cities. The carriers in the photo are great to use in India with twins.  I will not be needing them after we arrive back to the US, but I will make them available to others who are going to India to pick up twins.  The twins room is not yet done and it may not get done until we get back.  We have two bassinet's and we still have Mark's crib.  I will be shipping diapers and formula to India next week, so that we do not have to haul that stuff through the airports

Our departure date is December 19th, so we are hoping that the twins stay put until we arrive.  This will be our first time flying Turkish Air.  When I told Colin, that we would be flying Turkish Air, he immediately said that he heard not to long ago that one of there plans had gone down , so I'm feeling a little nervous.  The price of tickets at this time of year for India were outrageous and this was the best deal that we could get.  We will have a layover for 1 1/2 in Istanbul, then we will arrive in Mumbai.  I have been downloading all sorts of educational games on my Ipad for Mark.  Mark LOVES my Ipad, that of course he says is his.

Christmas will be in Anand  India, and I'm sure we will share some festivities with many the friends that we have made along the way, as Gujarat has a very high Christian population.  I did download Susan Boyle's new Christmas album, and I have Josh Groban's Christmas album.  I have been putting of work all day, so I better blog off.  I will be blogging while in India for those who want to follow along.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mark and his Question

This past week-end we were at a friends house, and they had not seen the BBC segment on TV.  We decided to go to Utube to watch the video.   When Mark saw me, of course he was happy to see his  mom and was kissing the screen, but then he looked at  Nayana our surrogate and said who's that.  For some strange reason his question  caught me off guard.  In an instant I felt some strange sort of angst come over me, but than I caught myself and  finally said she is mommy's friend.  I'm starting to realize how much little kid's as well as grown up really do not understand the process of surrogacy.  I think I would like to write a short little children's book that totally simplifies the story.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My BBC Debut

video

Surrogacy is a rapidly growing industry in India, but concerns about irregularities have induced the government to bring in regulations.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Collage of Photo's over the past 30 days!

Chicago from my Iphone
Colin & Mark

I decided to turn on the Christmas lights for Mark's 2nd Birthday! October 15, 2010

Beth Kohl with husband,  The honorable Gary Feinerman, along with Justice Kennedy

Eric & Dakota

Mark at Sukkot 2010

Mark at the Pumpkin Patch

Mark with his Boston College T-Shirt from Sean

Mark eating his cupcake at his party on Friday.  October 15th, 2010 he turned 2

Mark with a birthday present that Colin returned the next day!  He wanted a Redskins shirt.


Chicago Art Institute



Photo at Millenium Park Chicago, taken with my Iphone

Mark's camel from Dubai

Chicago skyline taken with my Iphone



Monday, October 11, 2010

A MUCH NEEDED GIFT!!!

                                                 International Surrogacy Advocates



                                             http://surrogacyadvocates.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My trip to Anand, India & New Delhi India

I just loved this!
Crystal & Nayana 18 1/2 weeks pregnant
Computers at the Surrogate House
One of Dr. Patels staff went to locate this couple, because this guy is from Libera and is studying for his Masters degree in Anand.  He was thrilled to meet another person of color.  He meet his wife while in Anand, and they will be going back after he finishes his studies.

Ceremony at the Surrogate House

International Airport in New Delhi




Well I'm back home and I had a very interesting time in India. The BBC filmed Najla and I while we were in Anand and it seemed to go well, but we shall see when it is broadcast within the next 7 days. The BBC was very interested in our thoughts about regulation of surrogacy in India, and I told them that I thought it would just breed more corruption. After having several meetings in India with IVF doctors, I still think the same way, however I do feel that regulation is needed but who would really enforce it. The BBC reporter asked if I thought the surrogates were being exploited at all, and I said no, and that I'm so tired of that thinking because no one every says that American surrogates are being exploited.  Indian surrogates get compensated as well as American surrogates when you look at the economics of the situation.   I was very happy to visit several clinics in New Delhi, so that I can offer my clients more options as well as make them aware that India does have state of the art clinics and several doctor's that make sure that intended parents get the highest optimal choice for success.
 
 
 
While in Anand, I shared in a ceremoney with the surrogates as well as visited with surrogates of clients who asked for photo's and for fresh fruit for their surrogates.  I was luckly enough to see my surrogate (Nayana) and be there when she was sonogramed.  It was thrilling to see our babies move around, because it makes you feel so much more connected.   While in Anand 3 surrogates gave birth to twins, and they were all one boy and one girl.  I will be back in Anand in December for the birth of our twins.  We are serioulsy thinking about moving to New Delhi, or Bangalore, India for 3-4 months of the year, so that our children will have a global life. 
 
It was great to seeing all of our friends that we have made in India and to break bread togather once again.  I know that when we arrive in December not only will there be celebrating during wedding season, but there will be lots of celebration in Anand and New Delhi for our son Mark as well as the twins.










Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back in India

I finally arrived and I'm here with Najla and the twins.  They are extremely small but very beautiful.  Yesterday I was afraid to pick them up, but today I'm more confident about handling them.  We went to the clinic today to figure out the particulars of what we will be doing tomorrow as CNN will be filming.  On  Monday, it's BBC turn than I'm off to New Delhi for business on Tuesday. I

My flight on Qatar went off without a hitch, it was the flight from New Delhi to Anand that reminded me of what India is usually like.  I thought it would be good to try Indi Go, because I never flew with them....Well....never again.  My flight that was suppose to leave at 7:40 but they were still loading at 7:40 and 8:00 so they lost their rights to take off out of the airport.  In turn all 150 passengers had to suffer and sit on the tarmac for 2 hours as punishment for Indi Go, because they decided that a few more rupees was worth ruining the day for 150 passengers.  The flight attendants proceeded to go down the aisle asking passengers what they would like to eat for a fee.  It was mostly men on the plane and I thought we were about to have a WAR, because of all of the shouting.  Something similar to this happened to Beth and I in November on SpiceJet.  The domestic airlines in India leave a lot to be desired.  They ought to pay passengers to fly them.

The weather here so far has been better than Maryland and Washington DC.  The food at the resort has been great, but than again I'm told that everyone puts on a nice show when I arrive because I send them a lot of customers.  I have a meeting set up with them on Friday to discuss some concerns that I have when I send clients to the resort.   (Madhubhan Resort & Spa).


Before I forget, the Patels are having a lot of work done on the clinic, and it looks great.  I will post some photo's tomorrow.  

Later!

(Jon thanks for all of your pointers, and let me know if you would like me to pick up anything for your boy's)

Monday, August 16, 2010

It's a Boy, Its a Girl!

Congrats to my friend, sister and confidante  Najla.  As soon as we hung up last night she received her e-mail from Dr. Patel stating that the twins were born. They are a bit early, but the are breathing on their own and are over 4 pounds.  I cannot wait to meet them. 

xo

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Leaving for India

I swore that I would never fly Qatar again, but it was the best rate that  I could find. When Mark was born and we flew back on Qatar from Ahmedabad and was harrassed by the staff.  They questioned me for more than 2 hours, even with all of my documents in order.  I thought that we would not be allowed to leave India.  The main person doing all of the quizzing than asked me if I would sponser him in America. (Right)!

I leave Dullas airport, which is out of Northern Virginia on August 22nd, for New Delhi than to Gujarat.  I have meeting in New Delhi, than I'm off to help Najla for a few days in Anand.  Her surrogate is currently pregnant with twins and are due to be born near the end of the month.  It will be great to check on our surrogate who is also pregnant with twins as well as other clients surrogates. 

I purchased an iPad which will be great for the long flight as well as keeping in touch by e-mail with family and clients.  I want to purchase a good cell phone in India this time, because on the last trip my iPhone cost me lots..of money.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Latest Pics of Mark

Mark with his cousin

Mark with the twins

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

C+ for Google Baby

 We watched Google Baby last week and my husband Colin said he was bored.  It dragged on in some spots a little too long.  Even though we knew almost all of the people in the film and were happy to see them on TV. One cannot film a document in India with the "Mother" of surrogacy, Dr. Patel and she had a leading role.  I felt like a lot was missing from the film.  Doron, who is the main character of the film,  did not connect with Dr. Patel because I could see that in her facial movements, and then she quickly dismissed him.   It was interesting how Doron, helps people with donor eggs as well as donor sperm and then ships frozen embryos.  It was clear that some people were using both, and I don't understand how those babies get out of India.   Also the characters really were not developed at all, with the exception of Diska to a point.  It seems as if all of the media gravitates to Diska because she speaks the most English.  I'm not sure why they did not get an interrupter and interview other surrogates and really tell their story of how they chose surrogacy.  Also the majority of people going to India have amazing stories to tell about their own life.  Who would have thought that me, left alone in apartment to die as a baby who was not shown love, would be capable of growing up and wanting a baby would go around the world to get one.  A Black women from New York, marries a White man from Austrilia and in mid-life have one son and are expecting twins.  We are an anomaly itself, as are so many who are on the same path.

Personally, I think I could have done a much better job as well as a few other's who are in that inner circle of surrogacy.  I'm not sure how much of an audience a documentary can get, if you cannot draw people into the story.  The story is not necessarily for those who have been, it's for those who have not.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wall Street Journal HBO Movie Google Baby










HBO

Pregnant Indian women at Dr. Navna Patel’s surrogacy clinic. In 2006, Israeli documentarian Zippi Brand Frank was studying as a Neiman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University when she became fascinated by the campus’ bulletin boards. She noticed an increasing number of ads calling for women’s embryos (tall, attractive and with good SAT scores only, please) being plastered all over the college. She soon learned how technical — and corporate — having a baby through a surrogate was becoming. Thus, the idea for her documentary “Google Baby,” which debuts tonight on HBO2, was born.



In particular, Frank became interested in the outsourcing of surrogacy to countries like India, where clinics, like that of Dr. Navna Patel in Anand, India, can employ hundreds of women as surrogates for strangers’ babies — at a fraction of the cost of using a Western surrogate. “It’s certainly a growing business over there,” says Frank. “And there are no regulations, no ethics. There was talk of limiting or regulating it, but the lobby of the doctors is so strong [in India], this is how it worked out.”



A native of Tel Aviv, Frank says she was more familiar than most about surrogacy rules, because the practice has been legal in Israel since 1996 and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments are subsidized by the government. (The country, unsurprisingly, has the world’s highest per-capita rate of IVF.) But she still managed to be shocked by some of the information she uncovered while researching her film.



The Wall Street Journal: Surrogacy can be a touchy subject. How did you find subjects that were willing to tell their stories?



Zippi Brand Frank: It’s wasn’t easy. We filmed in three locations: America, Israel and India. In America, it was a little easier because it’s a capitalist society and it’s just another business transaction. When I was doing my research, I also found that many American women would say they were doing it because they honestly want to help out out other families, but if there wasn’t a money compensation, I’m not sure if they would do it. In India, it took me more than a year to convince the doctor [whose IVF clinic is featured in the film]. In the very beginning, she was reluctant because she wasn’t sure how her business would be received; plus, it wasn’t as big as it’s gotten now. The surrogate mothers were hard to convince because it’s really a taboo and forbidden in India.



in the film, Dr. Patel is shown taking a phone call while delivering a baby. Did you have any concerns about her practice?



The only criticism I have is about the c-section thing [whereby many surrogate mothers are given c-sections instead of being allowed a vaginal birth] which is geared toward the client, and having the commodity out as good as possible instead of focusing on the women first. That’s just how it works. [Dr. Patel] didn’t like that scene when she saw it, but coming from Israel, I can tell you it’s worse in Israel. During my c-section, the doctor was talking on the phone as well. It all depends on the culture.



Did you contact any of the families seeking surrogates?



in the very beginning, I was also researching the clients, as in, the ones that needed the service. After doing all the research, I decided to focus only on the industry. I’ve heard the personal stories behind surrogates before, and it’s all very emotional, but I wanted to focus on the industry to raise awareness that child bearing has become such a commodity.



You’ve screened your film around the world. How do the audience reactions differ by country?



It depends on where you are. For most people, it’s a diabolical process. Especially when I screen it in Europe. For example, in Italy, which is a Catholic country, this film is very very successful because there are no IVF treatments and it’s forbidden by the church. So people were shocked, and the film had coverage in the major newspapers. Europe is much more conservative about this subject than America. Overall, I think that people are amazing that you can take the egg outside and choose what baby you want to have, and then implant it in someone else.

Dr. Nayana Patel & Google Baby




Google Baby' Follows Birth Outsourced To India


June 15, 2010



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Talk of the Nation

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text size A A A June 15, 2010

The documentary Google Baby explores what happens when surrogacy meets international outsourcing. The same process that can cost more than $100,000 in the U.S. can be done in India for $6,000. Director Zippi Brand Frank explains how the process works, and the questions it raises.

Copyright © 2010 National Public Radio®. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.



NEAL CONAN, host:



In the opening scene of a new documentary, we see Dr. Nayna Patel in India perform a caesarian delivery. And just moments after the baby emerges, one of her assistants answers a cell phone and holds it up to the doctor's ear.



(Soundbite of movie, "Google Baby")



Dr. NAYNA H. PATEL (Akanksha Infertility Clinic): Hello? Yes. I'm so sorry, Doctor, but you know it's not an easy procedure. It's a very complicated procedure, surrogacy, and they should understand all the implications before they go into it. Yeah? So that - yes. The husband and wife themselves should come, understand the whole procedure, and then decide whether they would want to go for it or not, okay? When they come personally we can discuss it, okay? Okay. Welcome. Bye-bye. No, no, no, most welcome. Bye-bye.



CONAN: As Dr. Patel finishes up the operation on one surrogate mother, she arranges the appointment to interview another who may be interested in renting her womb for nine months. We later tour her clinic, where one woman is pregnant with the baby of a couple from Chicago, another from Dubai, another from England. And we learn how all of this is orchestrated on the Internet and facilitated by FedEx. The film is called "Google Baby." It premieres tomorrow night on HBO2. Its director joins us in just a moment.



If you're involved in the surrogacy business, we'd like to hear from you -doctors, donors, parents, clinicians: 800-989-8255. Email us - talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION.



Zippi Brand Frank joins us now from our bureau in New York. Her film, again, is "Google Baby." And thanks very much for coming in today.



Ms. ZIPPI BRAND FRANK (Director, "Google Baby"): Thank you.



CONAN: And the astonishing thing about - one of the many astonishing things about your picture - in that scene we can hear the scissors at the - they're still working on this woman as they're arranging the next appointment.



Ms. FRANK: Yes. I mean, on the one hand, they do have, you know, the operation going on. On the other hand, you know, there are lots of clients who are calling right now. India has become the world's number one capital for surrogacy. I mean, everybody from outside of the country who wants to find some cheaper solutions for surrogacy goes to India. So there are a lot of telephones.



CONAN: And essentially your film follows a young man from Israel who has been -he and his partner have adopted a baby, has gotten a surrogate baby themselves from the United States. And he says in the end it ended up costing him $140,000. And he thinks, wait a minute, everything else is being outsourced to India. Why not this?



Ms. FRANK: Exactly. That's what - that's exactly his start-up(ph). I mean he did it - he did his first baby through 100 - he paid 140,000 U.S. dollars and he decided he's going to find the cheapest way to do the other babies. And now his business is really growing rapidly, I would say. And it costs, if you go to India and you still want to have a Western egg donor but you can, you know, you can compromise for an Indian surrogate mother, so you pay only 40,000 U.S. dollars, and that's the maximum you can get for a baby.



CONAN: And here is one of the ways people find out about this process. It's an ad, essentially, by - narrated by Dr. Patel about the surrogate mothers who are available.



(Soundbite of advertisement)



Dr. PATEL: I am Dr. Nayna Patel, and I'm practicing in vitro fertilization (unintelligible) in Gujarat, India. And (unintelligible) started practicing surrogacy. And these are a few of my surrogates who work with me. All of my surrogates are very humble, simple, nice females. And they are very committed, they are very dedicated, they're very religious. And they want to do their job in a very dedicated manner. These surrogates are (unintelligible) and they always deliver under my care and supervision. And this, as a clinic, we try to supervise as a whole procedure.



CONAN: And you show us this clinic, Zippi Brand Frank, and it looks very nice, very clean, very modern. And we meet several of these women, many of whom live at the clinic, hiding essentially from friends and family because they're feared of being portrayed as prostitutes.



Ms. FRANK: Right. Actually, those women who decide to go for a surrogacy, they come to live in the clinic of Dr. Patel or - either in the clinic or she has some hostels who are serving these women, and they don't tell their families, they don't' tell their villages. They just go - they tell them they're going for a caregiver position abroad or something like that. And they go and stay there for a year, or more than that. But these clinics are in a very good condition, I would say, very Western standards, the surrogates are being treated over there and they get good nutrition and vitamins and whatever is needed through their whole pregnancy period.



CONAN: And we meet one family in particular who's interested in surrogacy to earn the money, well, not only to educate their son - they want him to be an officer in the Indian Army - but also to build a house. And interestingly, that is the same motivation for the woman from whom they get the eggs in this. And she is from Tennessee and we also meet her online.



Ms. CATHERINE GALLEON: My name is Catherine Galleon(ph). I'm 28 years old and I work through Egg Donation Incorporated, donating my eggs to couples that are not able to produce healthy children with the mother's eggs. I'm about 5'10. I weigh 130 pounds. I have brown hair and green eyes. I'm tall and fairly athletic.



CONAN: And she has donated eggs once and we see her go through the process of donating them again, indeed, injecting herself with the fertility drugs, at which moment she tells us, yes, essentially I'm being treated like a robot.



Ms. FRANK: Yes. In terms of, you know, when you take fertility drugs for the IVF treatment, is the doctors are - you know, even if you're a customarily reserved, the doctors are taking care of everything.



I mean, they want to do it in the same - on the exact days in which you have the most or the highest numbers of eggs. So that's the reason why she says, I'm being treated like a robot. But it's also for infertile woman who's going through the same procedures.



CONAN: Mm-hmm.



Ms. FRANK: But what's amazing about it - I'm not sure whether you're familiar or not - just if you go right now online, you Google up for an egg donor or something, most women right now are choosing to be a - with open ID even for a sperm donor. It's no more anonymous.



Sperm donors, I mean, you can find people online just you know, with their face with their ID, with their bio, with whatever is related to them and they're offering their eggs and sperm. And for surrogacy, I mean, you have Dr. Patel was the first one, which I filmed three years ago.



She had, like, 70 surrogates. Right now, she is having, like, more than 300 surrogates. And there are many other Indian doctors that are actually starting to offer the same business. So it's a really growing business right now.



And what I wanted to do in "Google Baby," just to provide a glimpse to what I believe is going to be, like, a big issue in humanity in the very near future.



CONAN: Because none of these seems to be supervised by anybody, there are - you mentioned at one point in the film that parts of this are illegal in Israel. But reaping the benefits of this, if it's done in India, no problem.



Ms. FRANK: Exactly. And that's the (unintelligible) interpret as idea. They are like, what's can - what is forbidden in one country can be done in another country, and it's no more just an issue of countries.



I mean, we're in a global economy, global market and you know, you can find your solution anywhere else for even for cheaper prices and that's globalization.



CONAN: 800-989-8255. Email us: talk@npr.org. Mark's(ph) on the line calling from Los Gatos, California.



MARK (Caller): Hi. How are you?



CONAN: I'm very well, thank you.



MARK: I'm - is actually listening to this program. I'm currently going through this procedure myself. I have a child due in late October. I went to India, met with Dr. Patel. She's a very nice lady. She does a very, very good job. She got a lot of press in the United States.



She's was on "Oprah" and that's primarily where she gets all of it. And she runs a small very, very (unintelligible) clinic there. But I would have to disagree with some of the comments.



I mean, the clinics over there are not Western and they're not, you know, spic and span and clean. I mean, they're very good and they're perfectly competent, but for American's perspective - you'd be surprised. My egg donor came from Egg Donation, Inc., as well, in Los Angeles.



I had to pay for her to go India. We have a good - I have a good relationship with her. She had to change before she had her procedure into - in a broom closet.



CONAN: Hmm.



MARK: So, and this was, you know, so it's - I'm not putting it down. I think it's great. I think it's a fantastic process. I wouldn't be able to be where I am today. My wife is a little older, and as a consequence couldn't produce any viable eggs. So that's why we went through this process.



CONAN: But, if not up to the highest Western standards, good enough for your baby?



MARK: Say again. Well, no. The options are that you want to do it in America, you're going to pay $20,000 to a surrogate agency, $30,000 to a surrogate, 15 or 10 or 15 to an egg donation donor, 5,000 to the Egg Donation Inc. And then you're talking about another 20 or 30,000 for medical and legal costs.



You're into it for over $100,000. You go to India - and ask the young lady on your show says, and you're into it for no more than 25 grand. So - and it's the only option but there are some other things.



I mean, being an American - I know I don't sound it, but I am - you have the best advantages. You can father children all over the world, and you can - all of those children can be American. That is not the case in almost any other country.



In England, the birth mother is considered the mother of the child, and therefore, English people who don't have an American passport had to go through a legal adoption process in order to get their own genetic children, because the British government doesn't look at the genetic child, just look for the birth mother.



So there's a lot of complications, and the Germans are even worse. There's families over there with children that have lived there for two years. They just can't a German passport for them, so...



CONAN: And Mark, the egg was donated by another woman, is the sperm yours?



MARK: Yes. Yes.



CONAN: Okay. I was just trying to clarify.



MARK: Even in the United States, there are some issues. There's a story of a lady who wanted a child - And I won't go on about this anymore, too much. But she was - she had no genetic connection with the child. And then when the child this is surrogacy in the United States, and it became some big legal process.



So as long you have genetic connection to the child and one of the parents is American, you're fine. And it - but it's a great system. And, you know, the benefits to the surrogate over there are unbelievable. Five thousand dollars to a surrogate over there changes their lives, (unintelligible) by a rickshaw. And there's another thing I'd have to contest that somebody said they don't all go into hiding. I mean, the surrogates do this openly, in many cases, with the consent of their husbands who also have to sign documents.



CONAN: Their husbands - that's made clear in the film. It's just that some of their villages are not informed. Indeed, sometimes their families are not informed. But Mark, thanks very much for the phone call. And good luck to you.



MARK: Thanks a lot. Bye.



CONAN: Appreciate it. We're talking with Zippi Brand Frank about her new documentary "Google Baby." You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.



And I wondered, Zippi Brand Frank, if you wanted to respond to some of that?



Ms. FRANK: No. You know, regarding the standards, I just think it's okay. I mean, the Western standards issue, really takes care of (unintelligible). I also wanted to comment that, you know, it's - from the very beginning, when I started the research, I thought - I was completely convinced that it's exploitation of women. And, you know, when you're looking at it from abroad or from telephone conversation, it seems to be the worst thing a woman can go through.



But when I went there and I spent, like, three times, with doctor - three excursions, tree trips to India with Dr. Patel. And I learned her, you know, and I was very much intrigued by her feminist agenda behind it. And also the surrogate mothers, you know, you say - you might say these are only 5,000 or 6,000 U.S. dollar that she gets. But actually, for those women, it's a lot of money.



CONAN: Mm-hmm.



Ms. FRANK: And also for them, it's a big decision in which they are doing it against their, you know, against their families or their big families. They just go and decide, okay, we - that's our last solution to improve our family life, to give education to our kids, or to build a house or something like that. And it's important enough for us in order to do that, even though it's a social taboo.



So, you know, we have to look at things from both perspectives. What might seem for us, from, you know, being away is a very hard thing to do, it might be for them as sort of a salvation, as well, for some couples.



CONAN: And I have to say, in the film, we see the pain of these mothers separating from the newborns. We see people, all along, every stage of this process, questioning their ethics at one point or another.



Ms. FRANK: Yes, there's a huge ethic question regarding everything, regarding all this industry which is going on. And that was my reasoning behind the film. I mean, it's - the mothers questioning themselves. I'm not sure that the Indian women are really much connected to the babies. I mean, of course, when you're -and I myself had two babies. Like, I know what pregnancy looks like. So it's not easy to detach, but, you know, they are very much, from the very beginning, are knowing that they're just going to give it away, so it might be also the pains of the C-section, but it's not only the detaching thing. But...



CONAN: Well, let's see if we can get one more caller in. This is Katie(ph), Katie with us from Akron.



KATIE (Caller): Hi, yes. I'm an American gestational surrogate. I've carried twins for a male couple, and I'm currently in the middle of considering my second surrogacy. And I think here in the United States the surrogates are required to go through legal and medical and financial screenings, to ensure that, you know, that they understand the process, that they're a good candidate. And I guess I have a lot of concerns about surrogacy in India. Yeah, I think (technical difficulty)...



CONAN: Could you speak more directly into the phone, please, Katie.



KATIE: Oh, I'm sorry. I think the intended parents of the baby that is going to be born, I think they, you know, I think they have an ethical and moral responsibility to make sure that the surrogate who is carrying their child is not coming to surrogacy in any sort of financial duress at the expense of their own children and families. And I'm just not sure how exactly that can happen in India.



CONAN: Well, we're still having troubles with your phone, Katie. But thank you very much for the call and good luck to you. We appreciate the phone call.



But I wonder if, Zippi Brand Frank, would like to address that.



Ms. FRANK: Yes, it's not the same. I mean, it's not that they have a lot of psychological background checks and, you know, in all this. And there's no really connection between couples and their surrogate mother. I know that there have been several couples that really wanted to have the connection, but - with the Indian surrogate mothers - but the cultural gap is really big.



I mean, it's hard even to speak, so it's not that the couples I know that -American surrogates really have from - some of the researchers have done -there's a very close relationship with some of the couples and everything. It doesn't exist with the Indians. We shouldn't think it exists, you know? It's pure business, I would say, like couples at least through the (unintelligible) through the interpreter, saying...



CONAN: And five or $6,000 is a lot of money, but there's no question these families are under financial distress. They're trying to buy a house.



Ms. FRANK: What?



CONAN: The Indian women.



Ms. FRANK: (Unintelligible).



CONAN: The Indian women, they're clearly - if - Katie's question was are they under financial distress, the answer is yes.



Ms. FRANK: Yes, of course.



CONAN: Yes.



Ms. FRANK: Of course, they have nothing. It's not only trying to buy a house -they live in the street. I mean, these are very rural women (unintelligible).



CONAN: And finally this email question from Dave(ph) in Wisconsin, how is this not baby-buying?



Ms. FRANK: How is this not baby-buying?



CONAN: Or is this baby-buying, in other words?



Ms. FRANK: I mean, yeah - you're unfortunate. You cannot do the baby, you know, under natural way, so you have to buy, you know, you have to buy a sperm, you have to buy an egg, and - or you have to buy a surrogate service, but it should - you can also look at it on this way, yes.



CONAN: Mm-hmm.



Zippi Brand Frank, thank you very much. And good luck with the film.



Ms. FRANK: Thank you very much.



CONAN: Zippi Brand Frank, thank you very much. And good luck with the film.



Ms. FRANK: Thank you very much.



CONAN: Zippi Brand Frank is director of the documentary "Google Baby." It debuts tomorrow night on HBO 2. A special Granite State edition of the Political Junkie tomorrow on TALK OF THE NATION. We're packing Ken Rudin up and heading for New Hampshire. We hope you'll join us for that.



This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.



Copyright ©

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

XO THANKS

Thank you all for the private e-mails as well as the posts, regarding our current news.  I will post any new info that I get.  It is close to mid-night on the east coast, so if I have the energy I will call Dr. Nayana  in the morning because I would like to know the heart beats of the babies.  For some reason, I didn't get them with the last report, so I'm not sure if at 7 weeks (June 10th) was to early.

I'm trying to wrap my mind around the thought of  having twins.  It feels like an emotional rollarcoaster ride, knowing that it is a rollarcoaster that many wish they were already on.  I will try and just keep my feelings in check, because the first trimester is never gauranteed.   

Friday, May 21, 2010

Beta Numbers

The second beta number is 1202.61, so it doubled. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

E-Mail from Dr. Nayana Patel

Dear Crystal,




Hello,



CONGRATULATION !!!



Nayna has a Positive result. Beta HCG is 604.76. Here with attached report.



Dr. Nayana Patel

Akanksha IVF Center
Kaival Hospital, Anand, Gujarat 388001

Ph: +91.269.225.3789

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

No News Is Good News

Well, the transfer was suspose to happen on May 5th, but I have yet to hear if it took place.  I'm assuming that it did, but you know what they say about those who assume.  This week has not been a great, so I'm hoping for some good news.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sleepless in Maryland








Within the next 48 hours, Dr. Nayana Patel will implant our surrogate.  I didn't think for one moment that I would be anxious, but it is close to mid-night and my mind is racing.  Did we do the right thing shipping frozen sperm?  Colin was sick when he made his deposits at the cyrobank.  Mark was born due to Colin's frozen sperm, so there is hope.  We seem to be less excited, although we both would love a sister for Mark.  It looks like we both have gone into the mode self-preservation.  Colin has not even asked when the transfer will be done.  It looks like I will just give him the results after the two week wait. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

FedEx and New Delhi

I have been tracking our container that is on its way to Gujarat, India.  Today is day 2 that is has been sitting in the airport in New Delhi.  I have already sent out e-mails in the hopes of getting this shipment moving...so I will let everyone know when it arrives.

I'm already anxious about the situation......

Thursday, April 15, 2010

India and Mark







It has been a long time since I last posted.  As many know I have been to India and back.  I went with a client to Anand, and as luck would have it, they received a positive.  Dr. Nayana and Dr. Hitesch Patel were wonderful to me as always.  I was able to visit with a number of surrogates and report back to the intended parents about the their babies.  It was an honor to be able to hold a surrogates hand as they were being sonogramed.  While I was in Anand  Paul and I checked out one of the two surrogates houses in Anand, and it was nice to see all of the pregnant surrogates as well as take photos.  The clinic in Anand looks like a UN Summit is about to take place on any given day.  There are people from all over the world, all with the same goal, of bringing back a baby.  It was wonderful because I was able to have several people interpret for my surrogate who came to visit me, what was happening in each of our lives.  Anand is starting to feel like my second home, with Uday and the rest of the gang at the clinic.  It is always so nice to have a local take you out to eat, and make sure that what your eating is good, so thanks guys!   While in Anand, a terroist was arrested for trying to recurit for the Taliban.  That situation really had locals talking.  I have decided to try and learn Hindi so that I will be able to speak a little bit to the surrogates on my own.

Our journey for a sibbling for Mark has started, and we shipped Colin's sperm to India a few days ago.  I have been following the UPS tracking system, and as of this morning the container was in New Delhi.  I'm hoping for a daughter  (DO YOU HEAR THAT ....MISS UNIVERISE).   We are using the same surrogate who's picture I have posted.  The impant should happen by the end of the month if everything goes according to plan.  I'm a lot more anxious than I thought, I would be.  I think the reason for most of that is I'm afraid of  twins, and what people will say.  It was fine when I wanted twins with Mark, but I see how much work it is just with one.  I had to promise Colin that if we recieve news that we have twins, that I would just accept that and move along.  I realize that what I'm writing about is very personal, but I think that many in this community are afraid to share such private thoughts, and my feeling is that if it will help someone else than so be it. 

For those who want to post, I will have Colin figure out why people are unable to post comments.  It might have something to do with the fact that we had to rearrange the post because I got spammed.  Next Friday I will be having a small procedure done, so I will post from the hospital, with the morphine drip.  That should be fun!