Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The New Republic Magazine & Crystal Travis

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115873/fertility-tourism-seeking-surrogacy-india-thailand-mexico





FAMILIES DECEMBER 10, 2013

These Two Americans Want Babies Through Indian Surrogates. It's Not Been Easy.

In separate photos, the twins are wrinkled and pale. Both boys lie on a blue-green hospital sheet—one with limbs outstretched, the other curled up—and their faces are scrunched; perhaps they’re crying. The twins’ father, Trevor1 flips back and forth between the two photos on his cellphone. At 53, he is married and has two daughters, 15 and 8, but he has the restless energy of a first-time father. “Just looking at the pictures every night, I pray for them. I tell them good night. I kiss them, and I say, ‘This looks like it’s real.’”
The photos are how Trevor knows his sons exist. At this point, he hasn’t met them yet because they were born to a surrogate mother in New Delhi, India, thousands of miles away from his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When they were born on October 16, at 37 weeks, he hadn’t booked his plane ticket. “It still hasn’t felt real,” Trevor said. “Not until I touch those babies, until I start hugging those babies.”
Trevor’s strange limbo isn’t unusual for those who pursue surrogacy abroad, one kind of fertility tourism that's on the rise as singles and couples, both gay and straight, seek ways to overcome the limits—biological, financial, legal, technological—of having children. For U.S. residents in particular, surrogacy costs are cheaper overseas—by tens of thousands of dollars. But there are trade-offs. The child is born in another country, a distance that's more than physical; it spans language and culture. And parents need paperwork and embassy appointments and an international flight to bring their baby home.
That’s partly what brought Trevor to this booth in a Cosi in Philadelphia. Next to him sits Crystal Travis, founder of World of Surrogacy, which helps parents with surrogacy abroad, primarily in India. Trevor is one of her clients. This is their last meeting before he leaves for India, where she'll later meet up with him and help him fly home with the boys. Travis has arranged as much as possible beforehand, and now she pulls out a stack of white letter envelopes, laying them in front of Trevor like she’s dealing cards. They're thick with papers—applications for the twins’ passports, copies of embassy appointments. “This is all the stuff that you’re going to have to do there,” she tells him.
Travis has been through this process herself. She's married with three kids—a five-year-old son, and three-year-old twins—all born through surrogacy in India. She is open and empathetic but direct about the difficulties, and potential disappointments, of Trevor's decision. Surrogacy in India is “never the first option,” Travis says. “It’s people who’ve expended a lot of effort, money, energy trying to get [children] in other ways.”

India is one of a few countries, though perhaps the most popularized, where commercial surrogacy is legal. The country emerged as a “hotspot” in part because of lower costs and laws passed in 2002 allowing commercial surrogacy. In the U.S., surrogacy can cost between $80,000 and $150,000, while in India it ranges from $20,000 to $60,000, depending on the types of services and the clinic. That amount rarely includes unforeseen expenses like surrogate hospitalizations, or the basic travel costs such as flight and hotel stay. Yet those “savings can be the difference between being a parent and not being a parent for a lot of people,” says Kathryn Kaycoff Manos, founder of Global IVF, a resource for fertility tourists.
Exact numbers of U.S. citizens going to India—or anywhere else—for surrogacy are hard to pin down, but are a fraction of those seeking surrogacy within the U.S.. A recent report by the American Society for Reproductive Technology estimated that 4 percent of surrogacy deliveries in the U.S. are to foreigners, and that, conversely, the "incidence of U.S. patients traveling abroad for care is estimated to be far lower than the rate of patients coming into the United States." Even that is just a rough estimate; there is no international registry to track where patients are from, or where they’re traveling for reproductive care.
surrogatebaby.com
Where surrogacy is legal around the world
 
Surrogacy in India is largely unregulated, though the Indian Council of Medical Research is moving toward greater control, including the registration of clinics, says Hari Ramasubramanian, a lawyer who founded the Indian Surrogacy Law Centre. An estimated 2,000 foreign babies are born to Indian surrogates each year, according to research in the forthcoming book Patients With Passports: Medical Tourism, Ethics, and Law, by Harvard law professor I. Glenn Cohen. A recent study by Sama, a resource group for women and health in India, concluded about 3,000 clinics offer surrogacy services to foreigners, generating more than $400 million per year for the economy; the Confederation of Indian Industry analyzed data that put India’s commercial surrogacy even higher, at more than $2 billion.
But tighter restrictions may alter the scope of India’s surrogacy tourism. In July 2012, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs ruled that foreigners needed medical, not tourist, visas to pursue surrogacy. The ministry limited those visas to straight couples who've been married at least two years, and who come from countries that also permit surrogacy. The rule change amounted to a bar on singles, gay, and unmarried couples, and on those circumventing their home laws to have children. Though the ministry relaxed regulations so foreigners who had already begun surrogacy in India could complete the process, the Indian government began enforcing the new rules this fall, Ramasubramanian says.
Enter Thailand and the Mexican state of Tabasco, two places where surrogacy clinics now cater to international singles and couples—particularly same-sex couples. Thailand has been a popular surrogacy choice for Australians, but has become more appealing to Americans because of the new restrictions in India, says Kim Hendrix, a Dallas-based facilitator who owns Complete Surrogacy Solutions and works with clinics in India and Thailand. Hendrix—who travelled to Bangkok last month to meet with doctors, visit clinics, and to find out the entry and exit processes for new parents—says they’re still trying to get a better sense of the landscape in Thailand, where surrogacy is de facto legal; there are no laws against it, but that also means few protections in place for surrogates, doctors, and expectant parents (though Thai officials have considered regulations).
As for Tabasco, many people I talked to say they have outstanding questions. “It’s still new,” says Lauri Berger de Brito, co-founder of Global IVF with Kaycoff Manos. “So everybody’s starting to flock there and flock to Thailand. The stories will soon start coming out, the good stories and the bad stories.”

No matter the destination, real risks exist. Clinics sometimes make false promises about results, or inflate success rates. Would-be parents can spend tens of thousands without ever having a baby. There is little, if any, legal recourse for foreigners who fall victim to scams.
Citizenship laws also haven’t kept pace with reproductive technology, or global access to it. Children born to surrogate mothers in India are not considered Indian citizens. But the U.S. grants citizenship to children born to surrogates only if they have a genetic link to at least one parent. Yet DNA mismatches—because of lab error, or when eggs or sperm are deliberately substituted to increase the chances of a fertilized embryo—have left babies "stateless," unable to and Indian or U.S. passport. “If you don’t have a passport, you can’t get on an airplane and come home,” says Catherine Tucker, an attorney who specializes in family and reproductive law. Though cases of stranded children are rare, Tucker has heard of parents going to extreme lengths: “Smuggling, physically smuggling, to get their children out of India."
But the surrogates also face risks. Because these women are paid, on average, $6,000 to $7,000, many see surrogacy as a pathway out of poverty. “It raises the status of them in their whole community. It is a positive thing,” says Kaycoff Manos. But women can miscarry, or develop health problems during and after pregnancy. Clinics don't always provide follow-up medical care or compensation for families if something goes wrong. Surrogates often come from the poorest households, and though many sign up willingly, they do so because they lack other options. Dr. Ranjana Kumari, a woman’s rights advocate and leading critic of Indian commercial surrogacy, told CBS News in April that “the vulnerability of poverty has been exploited in this whole system.”
Surrogacy supporters believe regulation—guarding the rights, health, and just compensation of surrogates—is crucial. Groups such as the Indian Society for Third Party Reproduction want to establish minimum compensation and treatment standards. Ramasubramanian’s Law Centre is trying to recruit both surrogates and parents willing to make agreements independent of the clinics or hospitals, which he says will protect surrogates’ rights. Clinics, not the surrogate, are the connection with foreign parents, which puts many surrogates in a vulnerable spot because they can’t change doctors, or pick which hospital they deliver in. “That part has to change,” he says.

Jean,2 another of Travis's clients at the Cosi get-together, thought when she was younger she'd have the husband, the kids, the white picket fence. “But it didn’t happen that way,” she says. She survived a bad, and childless, first marriage. Then twelve years ago she met her husband, her junior by about ten years. She calls him Mr. Bear, and she talks about him like a schoolgirl with a crush. But still there's something missing: children. Jean has spent thousands on failed attempts to build a family. She looked into adoption. She found an egg donor and surrogate in the U.S., but the surrogate fell through. Now, at 67, she will attempt surrogacy in India in late December.
But even if she and her husband can finally bring a baby home, her struggle won't necessarily be over once she's back in the United States. As Trevor explains about seeking surrogacy in India, "It’s not everyone you can tell.” Some of his immediate family, even his wife for a time, opposed his decision. “You gotta pick who you want to tell. Some people will agree, some people will not agree. Some people will support you, some people will not.”
Crystal Travis says she didn’t expect to be questioned about her decision. She’s been asked how much her children cost, where she adopted them from, whether she was really their mother. “I don’t think there’s acceptance of it,” she says. “It’s a very personal and private type of thing."
But it's also something to bond over. Travis meets up with old clients, now friends, often. They decided they’ll celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali together next year. Trevor and Jean and Travis are already are making their own plans. Spending time together is comfortable and easy, a play date free from judgment.
“The kids are going to have fun,” Trevor tells Jean. “Trust me.”
“Yes,” Jean answers, sounding both nervous and hopeful. “Yes I know.”
 “Your kids are going to go to Jamaica with us, and go to the beach and hang out with us. We’re going to have fun.”

Saturday, November 2, 2013

India Bound

It looks like I am headed to India within the next week.  Actually, the weather here on the East Coast is getting cold, so a little warm weather is welcomed.  It will be nice to get the temperature of what is happening in the surrogacy community from those on the land in India.  I will keep you all posted.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE, INDIA AND SURROGACY!

Mark's Rocket Ship


For those of you who have followed our journey, Mark will be 5 on Tuesday and the twins will be 3 on December 20th.  Mark is a genius according to us, Elle runs our home and Alec has an A personality.  Well what does that say about us...for those of you who know us...you fill in the blanks.

I decided to write this post for many reasons.  One a number of you always email me asking when will you post, and secondly due to the climate of surrogacy in India at this time.  I really want to give a shout out to Dr. Patel because she always holds the mantle that eludes many when surrogacy in India is discussed.  For those of us who have traveled this road I can say that we are tired of the voices that have never traveled our journey to talk about exploitation of surrogates yet have no idea how many intended parents or better known as IPs have been exploited.  We do not ask for any one's sympathies because we all embark on this journey desperate and wholeheartedly hoping for a connection with the best of humanity.

Often I wonder to myself, what role do intended parents play in this story.  Is it fair to ask the doctors to house the surrogates for 8-9 months?  Are we paying the surrogates what the market will bare?  Are the doctors truly exploiting the surrogates? I am concerned when people open business and facilitate and have never even had a surrogate anywhere in the world.  The answer to these questions are a mixed bag.

I have openly stated that our surrogate was not housed for the entire period of time in Gujarat, because she did not need to be.  We were fortunate enough to have had a surrogate who worked in the medical field in India.  I personally do not feel that all surrogates need to be  housed, although I do work with doctors who do feel that the should be housed.  The problem comes into play if a doctor tells their intended parents that their surrogates are housed, when they are not.  I have intended parents tell me that they have worked with doctors and did undercover work on their own only to find that their surrogate was not being housed, however they were charged for housing.  If you are concerned about your surrogate not getting the payment that you think is fair then it is incumbent upon you to if at all possible to hand the surrogate extra funds privately.

What I know for sure is that there are good doctors in India that value what they do and love their job.  I have cried with doctors who work tirelessly to do the best that they can because they will not tell a client that they have had yet another negative.  Are there bad doctors in India?  Yes just like anywhere else in the world, however it is more pronounced when it is not regulated.  I am not saying anything that I have not already said before, the truth is that now more voices are finally seconding  the realities of what I and others have been saying for years.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Parliment and Surrogacy

Those of us in the surrogacy world have been emailing each other back and forth, wondering what will happen next in India.  Well I am being told, that the Parliament may vote on allowing gay and single people to either pursue or not pursue surrogacy within the next 48 hours.  As intended parents you still have options outside of your country.  World of Surrogacy will continue working with India, as long as they continue to allow surrogacy.  For our clients who are single and gay, if this option is cut off to you we are pursing surrogacy in Mexico and if need be Thailand as well.

Let's wait and see what the vote is! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

India's Loss...for single and gay couples!

Sad news today for singles and gay couples---

New Delhi: India’s long-awaited surrogacy Bill will disqualify homosexual couples, foreign single individuals and couples in live-in relationships from having children through surrogate mothers in India. The law also imposes age restrictions on surrogate mothers.
The proposed draft Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Bill—the first attempt by India to regulate commercial surrogacy—is likely to be presented to the cabinet on Thursday before being introduced in Parliament.
Critics said the strict norms of the proposed ART Bill will see the activity moving to more conducive destinations such as Thailand. Surrogacy is a method of reproduction where a woman—the surrogate—agrees to carry a pregnancy to term for a fee.
In January, the home ministry had barred homosexuals and foreign single individuals.
“I do not understand why the law has to be discriminatory towards unmarried foreigners when unmarried Indians are allowed this facility,” said Ritu Bakshi, chairperson of the International Fertility Centre in Delhi.
“It is fair to expect that surrogacy should be allowed in the country of the commissioning couple because citizenship of the child becomes an issue otherwise. Other than this, many restrictions imposed are not encouraging for business. A majority of our clients are from foreign countries. To expect this sector to not have commercial interest is na├»ve. Surrogacy is very expensive across the world,” she added.
The current version of the draft law has undergone several modifications after inputs from the law ministry and the ministry of external affairs after recent diplomatic incidents.
“The sector is fraught with ethical and legal issues which the Bill seeks to address,” said R.S. Sharma, deputy director general and member secretary of the drafting committee of the proposed legislation, Indian Council of Medical Research( ICMR).
“In its current form, the Bill addresses all issues pertaining to ethics in commercial surrogacy. The health ministry’s mandate was very clear—this Bill is only to help infertile couples and should act as a deterrent to commercial surrogacy,” he said.
According to a 2012 study by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the sector is worth $2 billion, despite being completely unregulated. The CII study estimated that nearly 10,000 foreign couples visit India for reproductive services and nearly 30% are either single or homosexual.
In earlier versions—in 2008 and 2010—the ART Bill relied on contract law to establish a relationship between the commissioning parents and the clinic. In the current version, the Bill states that a professional surrogate will be hired by a government-recognized ART Bank and not private fertility clinics, the current practice.
The compensation, as per the 2013 draft, will be a private negotiation between the surrogate mother and commissioning parents.
“The IVF (in-vitro fertilization) clinics or ART banks will have no role to play in this contract. Currently, IVF clinics decide the amount and pay the surrogate mother a portion. This could be exploitative and so we have changed this provision,” Sharma said.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Evolutionary Musings Of A Black Woman

My life is multifaceted as is everyone else.   In light of what has happened in the USA in regards to Paula Deen and Trayvon Martin, I wanted to share my thoughts, even if no one asked.

I Am My Father's Daughter.

My father has been deceased for more than 25 years. He was born October 1907, in Florida and was adopted in his early years. He and my mom decided to adopt four of us in the 60′s, when it was extremely unusual for anyone on their fifties to journey down that path. My father loved listening to the pundits, and watching politicians get caught up in scandal and try to wiggle their way out.
I remember getting into heated debates with my father regarding poverty, race, religion and the South. For years after his death whenever I heard the song The Living Years, I thought about my father and us not seeing eye to eye.
Fast forward to the present. At 50 this once young college socialist is still evolving. These past few weeks definitely have had me thinking about politics, race and religion. The hypocrisy of the media as well as the pundits has been astounding to me in regards to Paula Deen, Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman. My thoughts are as long as people the world over call people outside of their names, then we cannot make assumptions or judge others. In the case of Paula Deen, her case is obviously about money. If Paula Deen said “Nigger”, and did not have any money, there would not be case. What’s ironic is that the person suing her is not African American. The media had a field day with this story, and many of her sponsors dropped her. The truth of the matter is that the media as well as many of her sponsors are not interested in race relations, unless it will boost their ratings or money is to be gained. I am not saying what she said is politically correct, nor am I saying that I approve of calling people Nigger. When White Americans start using the vernacular interchangeably among themselves, only then will the word lose power.
Although the media nor has anyone else has asked me my opinion regarding the Trayvon Martin case, well we all have one. Travon Martin did not deserve to die. I do believe it was an accident, and what can we learn from that. First off, here in the USA, too many people have guns that should not be carrying them. Secondly, Zimmerman and Paula Deen should not be the punching bag for wait ails the Black community. Facebook and Twitter is filled with pundits twitting about the racism of our country. If these same pundits as well as the media would reframe the discussion on what to do at large to help our communities in this country that have major issues, and show how this impacts us all globally. A good example of this was Ms. Rachel Jeantel. We have an African Amerian woman, who did not finish high school, and who did not know how to purport herself in a court of law. Ms. Jeantel also stated that her parents pay her bills. Our community is filled with young people who are jobless. When on the Piers Morgan show he asked her if their was anything that she really wanted to say while she was on the stand in court, and all she could say was “Nigga”, I thought what a sad state for this country. That this 19 year old woman could not articulate anything else but that. The majority of African American children are born in homes with one parent. In the inner-cities the dropout rates for minorities are close to 50% and higher. The unemployment rate is staggering, and crimes in most inner cities are committed by minorities against minorities usually drug-related. African American parents especially need to have a heart to heart talk with themselves. We are responsible for raising our children! I can say this because as an adopted child, my birthmother had 13 children, and only the four of us that were adopted were not raised by the streets. Of the remaining nine, only one turned out. The rest live off of the system and are in and out of jail or are on drugs. You cannot blame racism for that.
Why is the media and the talking heads, not taking these issues on? The answer is because the picture is not pretty, and no one generally wants to hear it. Sensationalism sells, and people buy it lock step and barrel. I realized that if my father were here today, we would have agreed on the story of Paula Deen and Tayvon Martin.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Friend--Happy Father's Day!

As a proud IVF father, what appeal can a father have? After personally already going through years of issuesgandhi-father day-truth with infertility or dysfertility, it is about legitimizing the IVF children so that their rights can be ensured and protected. No one is looking for accolades, just looking for justice and relief for victims. This father's day, I long to see my IVF children together. After the years of struggle and pain too big to capture in words, a proud IVF father's appeal is to see his IVF children united. To isolate this as a "personal case" is a disservice to all, especially the innocent, voiceless IVF siblings. The fact is because of inadequate laws which have not caught up with the realities of technology today is why innocent, voiceless IVF siblings are separated. What are we doing about it to change the laws? I can hear the din in the background of "just letting be" and those people fail to realize that if a person is NOT loving, compassionate, someone who respects human decency and rights, equality for all, and other things, this situation would not have arisen in the first place. And then to have a repeat strategy of "it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission" creating innocent victims including children is WRONG. This case is a gross violation of not just prevailing laws but what we as a humanity stand for. While morals and ethics cannot be legally enforced, can prevailing laws be enforced? 

What values would you teach your child as a father?

Love : As per a recent study, a male spouse is 6 times more likely to abandon or leave their spouse when diagnosed with a traumatic medical condition. A male spouse, I did NOT leave an intersex marriage when discovering it during the marriage. Instead he stayed on as a young, male, spouse caregiver of intersex in silence under threats suffering grave torture and abuse while placing personal career ambitions on HOLD. Is this love? Is that something you wish to espouse in your son or daughter?
Compassion : As per another survey, there are 65.7 Million Americans who are family caregivers with a makeup of 67% women to 33% men, less than 13% are spousal caregivers, and less than 4% are young caregivers. Thus making a young, male, spouse caregiver a significantly LOW fraction. Is that compassion? Is that something you wish to espouse in your son or daughter? To complicate things further, the medical condition is intersex which is dealt with high levels of secrecy and lying both at an individual level and at an institutional level. We have entered the "unknown" at this point.
Infertility or Dysfertility : Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) experience infertility or dysfertility. Some opt for IVF, a medical treatment, to help such people among others. IVF is not for ALL because of its costs. As a budding IVF father, I worked extra hours and extra jobs to SAVE money and able to afford IVF as a young, male, spouse caregiver of intersex. Is there an "I" in infertility during marriage? Is that something you wish to espouse in your son or daughter?
Caring : Because of the ongoing medical treatment, it was NOT possible for the intersex spouse to care for the infant. Becoming the primary care provider for the infant came naturally as a proud IVF father. I carved jobs allowing telecommuting so that I can care for my son while placing career ambitions on HOLD. All this in silence as did NOT want to spill the "family secrets" to anyone. Is that caring both for the infant and the spouse? Is that something you wish to espouse in your son or daughter?
Laws : As per prevailing US Immigration laws, LGBTI spouses cannot sponsor their immigrant spouses in the US. Yet, we have an intersex person who has immigrated to the US based on a marriage which is not considered legally valid. Is that legal? Should other LGBTI immigrants continue for their EQUAL rights or should they stop and use this case as a precedence to get their rights? What would you espouse in your son or daughter - to break the laws or change the laws for greater good?
Laws : As per prevailing US Immigration laws, a "biological link" with the sponsoring parent is required for a child born outside the US to bring the child to the US. For immigrants, an added requirement is that of gender where the parent has to be "mother". Between two genetic males, only one being the biological father, who is the "legal mother" for an IVF child born outside the US? While this case brings to the forefront several disparities in laws and lack of respect for basic human rights, what will you do and what will you teach your child to usher in change - break the laws or change the laws?
As a hard-working immigrant who went to the US at 17 years of age, espoused basic respect for human rights, showed love, compassion, and care is now being targeted and victimized and even worse his innocent IVF children are being victimized for crimes they did not commit. In the 1940s to 70s during the baby scoop era, innocent children were taken away from their mothers because their only fault was being born to a "single mother"...how times have changed now including governments apologizing for this behavior. Today, is the only fault of IVF children to be born to a "IVF father"...maybe when gay parenting, single male parenting seems "mainstream", an IVF father can hope to get his rights. Worse, his children's rights - a brother and sister childhood may have expired by then....just like the apologies of today DO NOT help the innocent children of the "baby scoop era" will NOT help the IVF children. Because the TRUTH eventually does come out, it is unstoppable by any court order. What is the best interest of the child? 
It started with a simple lie of cheating and fraud of an unsuspecting victim living in the US looking at the good in everyone. Intersex is a genetic condition meaning it is not in the person's control but being honest or lying about is in their control, especially in the sanctity of marriage. Leaving a spouse of intersex to deal with the effects of intersex with NO help and support and forcing him into silence is torture and abuse. There is secrecy and lying in every marriage, just ask any married or divorced couple but what if secrecy and lying is BREAKING the LAWS? Despite what the so-called "experts" want to teach our children, it is NOT only love, compassion, caring, and other "emotional things" but teach your children to OBEY laws at all times. If they are GOOD people and cannot bear seeing someone's basic human rights being violated, then teach them to STILL OBEY the laws while working to CHANGE the laws. If they try to give human rights to someone where laws itself falls short, they will be punished and worse their innocent children will be punished for crimes they did not commit. As the saying goes, "Don't try this at home, kids".
As far as my IVF son goes, I wonder what values will he learn without me being allowed to participate actively in his life? Will he learn love, compassion, caring, truth, honesty, respect for laws?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

PBS & World of Surrogacy

FRIDAY, SATURDAY & SUNDAY!

 http://www.pbs.org/to-the-contrary/airdates      Check your local listings......

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Here in Delhi!

We made it to Delhi, and I have about 10 minutes until my driver picks me up.  I have been awake for hours, and will more than likely crash around noon.  Kuldeep is getting ready to take me to visit with a few clients, whose surrogates gave birth last week, and they are headed to the FRRO today for their exit visa.  This week in Delhi is one packed with filming and meetings for clairification regarding the recent guidlines. 

I am looking forward to heading to Gujarat this coming week-end to see Dr. Patel, and the infamous Uday.  Here's to hoping we have great weather here in India all week.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

India-bound!

We are off to India in a few days, and I'm looking forward to warm weather, because we in the Washington DC metro area are getting blasted with a snow storm.  This is the start of production for our upcoming TV show.  The producers want to film in picturesque places in India, as well include filming of friends that we have made along the way.  We will visit with a few clients whose surrogates have just given birth, as well make time for meetings to advocate for single and gay couples to still have the option of going to India for surrogacy.   The schedule will be tight, but I will make time to blog about our trip along the way.

Monday, February 11, 2013

FEBRUARY 18TH COUNTDOWN.......

If you already have a contract with your doctor in India for surrogacy whether you are gay or single, your name needs to be given to the FRRO by February 18, 2013.  Some doctor's have stopped working with intended parents whether a contract is  in place or not.  You should contact whatever doctor you have been working with if this situation affects you.

This is the information that was given to doctor's in Dehi last week.  I do not know if the same information was given to the doctor's in Mumbai/Bombay. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

INDIA SURROGACY CHANGE CUTS OFF AUSSIES PARENTS!

For those of you who have not seen this article, I thought I would share it with you. Surrogacy in India is big business, and what you will see happen is other countries filling in the gaps where India fails. --------------------------------------------

Changes to commercial surrogacy arrangements in India, introduced just before Christmas, have cut off one of the more popular avenues for Australians wanting to become surrogate parents.
While heading overseas for commercial surrogacy is illegal in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT, hundreds of Australians still flew to India every year to become parents.
But now the Indian government has issued a directive that only couples who have been married for more than two years can enter into commercial surrogacy arrangements, and only if it is legal in their home country.
Queensland lawyer Stephen Page - a surrogacy specialist who has represented many Australian surrogate parents - says the policy changes in India have already had a huge impact.
"Essentially, if you want to go to India in future for surrogacy, you've got to be married for a minimum of two years - gay marriage is excluded - and surrogacy must be legal back home," he said.
"The only place where commercial surrogacy can occur in Australia is the Northern Territory.
"So unless you're in a heterosexual, married relationship for two years and you're living in the Northern Territory, you can forget about going to India."
Mr Page says the majority of people who went to India before the law was changed were not married.
"They were either living in a de facto relationship or they're in a same-sex relationship or they were singles," he said.
"I believe instead of about 200 children a year being born to Australian-intended parents a year, it will be down to five or 10."
He says the rule change will not stop Australians entering into commercial surrogacy arrangements overseas. They will simply look elsewhere.
"The strange thing is, it's outlawed at the state level, but at the federal level it's not," he said.
"At the federal level, you can go overseas and all that you need to establish is that the child is yours and then the child is entitled to Australian citizenship."
Legal headache
Surrogacy Australia president Sam Everingham says many Australians with incomplete commercial surrogacy deals in India are now in limbo.
He says it would be far preferable for Australia to regulate commercial surrogacy at home.
"It's become a legal headache for many courts in Australia dealing with the unintended consequences of surrogacy," he said.
"If we had arrangements in Australia where commercial arrangements were possible, it would make it much easier for the kids that are born, as well as the parents."
He says commercial systems can operate well and provide positive outcomes for children, surrogates and parents.
"I think there's a lot to be said for keeping these arrangements all happening in the same country," he said.
"You avoid issues like accusations of exploitation of families from less well-off backgrounds, and it's been clear from systems in place in US states like California and Minnesota that commercial systems can operate very well.
"Despite the laws we've had against surrogacy, a lot of families go overseas and ignore those laws. So I think it will be a much better outcome if we could get those sorts of arrangements and much better access to surrogates in Australia.
"Even if it's not commercial, even if it's just surrogates being able to advertise that they're willing to carry in Australia, it would be a start

Friday, January 11, 2013

Buzz about Surrogacy in India!

There has been a buzz in the surrogacy community for India, regarding regulation for the past month.  Many of us have read that the status for single people as well as gay couples was on hold if they wished to move forward with surrogacy in India.  A number of people have been contacted as I have been suggesting that I inform clients who fit that bill, that they need to hold off for the moment.  I have contacted a number of doctors in India who are in the business and they feel strongly that there is no need to do so, and that this situation is being worked out. 

I do not believe that the situation is as dire as some have expressed.  Here is one letter that validates my point.
The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 was drafted by a 12-member committee comprised of experts drawn primarily from the medical and legal establishment. Its ambit goes much beyond surrogacy and aims to introduce a comprehensive regulatory framework for the booming ART industry. After being made available for public response, an updated version of the Bill of 2010 and is currently considered by the Indian Parliament.
In the absence of specific Legislature, we are governed by ICMR Guidelines 2005. Under the said Guidelines as well as the Proposed Bill, there is a clear and unambiguous suggestion that a single Man and / or a single Woman can go for surrogacy in India.
Clause 3.5.2 of the ICMR Guidelines 2005 provides There would be no bar to the use of ART by a single women who wishes to have a child, and no ART clinic may refuse to offer its services to the above, provided other criteria mentioned in this document are satisfied. The child thus born will have all the legal rights on the woman or the man.”
Clause 3.16.4 of the ICMR Guidelines 2005 provides, Rights of an unmarried woman to AID - There is no legal bar on an unmarried woman going for AID. A child born to a single woman through AID would be deemed to be legitimate. However, AID should normally be performed only on a married woman and that, too, with the written consent of her husband, as a two-parent family would be always better for the child than a single parent one, and the child’s interests must outweigh all other interests.”
Chapter I, Clause 2 (v) of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 provides definition of married couple”, means two persons whose marriage is legal in the country / countries of which they are citizens;
Chapter I, Clause 2 (dd) of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 provides definition of unmarried couple”, means two persons, both of marriageable age, living together with mutual consent but without getting married, in a relationship that is legal in the country / countries of which they are citizens;
Chapter VII, Clause 32 of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 provides, “Rights and duties of patients – (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder, assisted reproductive technology shall be available to all persons including single persons, married couples and unmarried couples.”
Chapter VII, Clause 34 (19) of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 provides “…..a letter from either the embassy of the Country in India or from the foreign ministry of the Country, clearly and unambiguously stating that (a) the country permits surrogacy, and (b) the child born through surrogacy in India, will be permitted entry in the Country as a biological child of the commissioning couple/individual) that the party would be able to take the child / children born through surrogacy, including where the embryo was a consequence of donation of an oocyte or sperm, outside of India to the country of the party’s origin or residence as the case may be……”
Chapter VII, Clause 35 (3) of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 provides, In the case of a single woman the child will be the legitimate child of the woman, and in the case of a single man the child will be the legitimate child of the man.”
Thus the intention of the Legislature is very apparent that there is no bar for the single man and / or woman to go for surrogacy in India. In fact the Proposed Bill has gone a step further and have recognized / suggested surrogacy for gay couple(s) married or unmarried. Any Notification suggesting and / or spelling out contrary to the intention of the existing Guidelines and / or Proposed Bill is against the law and is challengeable. Further make no mistake this Notification if at all enforceable cannot be given effect retrospectively. This Notification needs to be challenged / will be challenged. Till the time the said Notification is challenged and declared ultra-vires, the Indian Authorities will harass the Intended couple(s).
We at Surrogacy Laws India, who specializing in Surrogacy Laws are fully equipped to take this challenge if and when approached / engaged by any Intended Couple and / or Forum. We have enough expertise and experience to take this forward with the Ministry and / or the Courts to get the said Notification quashed.
Only last week one Single woman from Australia whose case we took to the FRRO was granted exit. Though an objection was raised by the concerned officer showing us the Notification. It was told to the said Officer in clear words that the said Notification is not applicable to us for the reasons explained. The file was sent to the Senior officer and after considering the points raised the case was cleared and exit granted. 
We believe to stand for what is right and for that if required we are ready to fight. As the things stand today we know we are not wrong.
Anurag Chawla, Advocate
Surrogacy Laws India



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

May the Universe be with all of us in 2013.  For all of those who wish to create the family of your dreams, may you find peace and happiness in this new year.

Best wishes,