Friday 24 August 2012

Release the Hounds

OK, maybe not just yet. What am I referring to? Well, a friend of mine asked me why I have not tried to increase the traffic to my blog or share my blog with more people like other SCI clients. I didn't really have an answer except I questioned whether anyone would want to follow my blog. Plus I'm sure there are several SCI clients who do not blog their journeys.

Would anyone want to follow someone who already has a child plus another bun in the oven? I guess my unique situation could be intriguing to some. I also know that many SCI clients share blogs for support so that's a great reason for proactively exposing my blog to more individuals. Also, would people think I'm being too greedy? I hope that people understand why I'm doing what I'm doing now even if it's not something they would do - as explained in my first post. Yes, I know - don't worry about what other people think. Finally, I would hope that no matter how many kids you currently have, people would support each other throughout their journeys. I'm probably over-thinking it but I will share my blog with a greater audience after I return from my trip to Delhi.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Thursday 23 August 2012

In the Meantime

There's a lot of waiting going on during gestational surrogacy and throughout the whole process you just have to keep your hopes high and your expectations grounded, but most importantly just keep doing the things you usually do. Typically, there's waiting associated with:

  • finding the right surrogate
  • finalizing the contract
  • completing the tests and checks
  • finding the right egg donor
  • synchronizing cycles of surrogate and egg donor
  • finding out how many eggs were produced
  • finding out how many eggs were fertilized
  • finding out if there is a pregnancy
  • finding out the gender of the baby
  • waiting for the birth of the baby
  • bringing baby home

Of course, the above differs if you are doing surrogacy in India. In my situation, I believe there's a few surrogate waiting in the wings. Contracts are completing in a day by the sounds of it. SCI handles all the tests and checks. I selected my Indian egg donor quite quickly. Anything associated with preparing the egg donor and final results of stimulation are the same - you can't do anything to speed that up. Nor can you speed up the exciting yet nerve-racking two-week wait to find out if your surrogate is pregnant. The pregnancy itself will appear to drag on forever but when the baby is born, you will wonder where the time has gone and some will even want more time to prepare. Gender-wise, I found out with my son and will do so with the second - it would be nice having a surprise, which is the case in India. Regarding bringing baby home, this is where it takes longer given the DNA testing that is required as well as the distance and travel. My son was born in a hospital less than ten minutes from home. The second child is being born in a neighboring province.

In summary, there is a lot of waiting going on but for some, the longest wait of their life will come to a good end when they finally fulfill their dreams of parenthood when they hold their baby in their arms for the first time.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Good to Go

Got the good news today that my egg donor's reports have arrived and everything looks good. The clinic has started her stimulation. I cannot believe I leave for India not this but the following weekend. Time has flown by so quickly. I've started to think more about what I'm going to bring on my first trip. I am hoping to meet other foreigners who are pursuing surrogacy via SCI.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Sunday 19 August 2012

Places to Visit

Not much to report at this time. I should be receiving an update tomorrow - I'm hoping to hear that my egg donor is clear for stimulation. Crossing fingers! In the meantime, I've been thinking about the places in Delhi that may want to visit given that I have a day or so of free time. Recently, I asked a friend (who has visited Delhi three times) what historical/architectural sites he would recommend within the city limits. I'm not sure if I will visit the Taj Mahal during my first stay in Delhi - I rather spend the four-hour bus ride (one way) sightseeing within the city limits. I also hear that some hotels offer a driver for a fee, which I most likely would take up if I do decide to visit the Taj Mahal in the future.

The top five places my friend recommends, in no particular order, are listed below. As an avid photographer, he says that the Tomb of Humayun, Red Fort, and Akshardham provide good photo opportunities.

  • Tomb of Humayun - the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun
  • Red Fort - a 17th century fort complex constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan
  • Raj Ghat - a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi
  • Jama Masjid - the principal mosque of Old Delhi
  • Akshardham - a Hindu complex in Delhi

Although always promoted, the three sites that he suggests I pass on if I run out of time are the Lotus Temple, India Gate, and Qutub Minar. In the end, I would also be very happy hanging out at the mall next to my hotel and a nearby market. It just depends if I meet anyone there - I'm not very adventurous when I travel on my own.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Monday 6 August 2012

Where to Stay?

I'm in the midst of researching and finalizing a place to stay during my first visit to India - good chance it might end up being the same place when I return for baby pick-up... thinking positive of course. SCI has forwarded many options and I have read several reviews by vacationing and business clients as well as surrogacy clients. One option that was not on the list but has been mentioned by previous SCI clients is the Svelte Hotel - and this is the one that might just be the winner. It's not as close to SCI and is more expensive but it might be the winner for me.

First of all, it has all the amenities and services I'm looking for during my initial and subsequent stay in Delhi. Check the hotel at Also, because I plan on staying 5 nights, there is a 15% discount (any bit helps) and it includes buffet breakfast assuming I am brave enough to try the food. Another big plus is that the hotel is connected to an air-conditioned modern mall. No hotel is perfect but the reviews I have read are overwhelmingly positive. The downsides? Internet is not included in the Executive Suite. Airport transfers are also not included but that has been set up by SCI for a cheaper rate.

I will provide an update when I finalize my choice.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Update (August 9):  I booked the Svelte Hotel via the I Prefer program. It's free to join and you can get some cool benefits. I advised the Svelte contact that SCI provided about my I Prefer program and after giving him my confirmation number, I will be getting complimentary internet. In theory, I should also get a complimentary room upgrade if available - the Svelte contact didn't mention any upgrade even though I brought it up, possibly because availability is determined at check-in. However, I have read a few blogs where I Prefer members have arrived, told there was nothing available, but found on the contrary when they checked online when they got to their rooms. Not sure if I will push it but will probably ask at check-in nonetheless. As a single person, I really don't need the upgrade but I might ask to see the other suites in the event I return to Svelte during baby pick-up and require more space (e.g., if someone comes to help me out).

Finally, I did get the 15% discount and will be receiving a complimentary buffet breakfast. When you book online, it asks you if you would like certain options, which included buffet breakfast and internet. I didn't select either because they were going to be complimentary. Airport transfers are cheaper via SCI as well so I didn't select that option.

Saturday 4 August 2012

Here We Go!

According to schedule, I got an email today from SCI advising me that they have started my egg donor's down regulation - this means her own natural cycle will be temporarily "shut down". A blood test and suppression scan is planned in two weeks to assess whether my egg donor is clear for stimulation. I should receive an update on August 20. I'm assuming all will go well based on her previous donation; however, you just never know about these things so we shall wait and see.

I'm just waiting to hear back from their concierge regarding potential accommodations, transportation, etc. My plan is to stay at the Svelte Hotel - in general, I have read positive comments about the hotel. It will also be the hotel of choice during baby pick-up.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Cathay Pacific Chosen

I was originally hoping to use my points - I subscribe to many point programs - to book my flights. Unfortunately, I'm going during a busy week so availability was extremely limited. I had the opportunity to be placed on waiting lists but I obviously needed to have a guaranteed flight. Maybe I will get to use these points when picking up my baby in the future! So the search was on for the best prices out there.

There are several carriers but price and timing limited my options. I checked online but couldn't find a reasonable deal based on my budget and expectations. To clarify, although cheaper, I did not want to fly with any of the China airlines. I finally contacted a travel agency that specialized in (but not limited to) flights to India. In the end, I chose Cathay Pacific with dates and times that fit the treatment schedule. It was a good deal considering it's Cathay Pacific. I'm now thinking about paying extra for the exit row seats for the first leg from Vancouver to Hong Kong, and for the last leg from Hong Kong to Vancouver. They are long flights! I can't believe I leave on Saturday, September 1!

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Friday 3 August 2012

Stage 1 Payment

I finally made the Stage 1 payment today via Paypal. No looking back! I didn't know there was a limit per transaction on Paypal but good thing it wasn't a daily limit. I made three mini-payments.

Two things to consider with using Paypal. First, the exchange rate isn't as good as the universal rate but I wanted to earn the points on my credit card. Secondly, because there is a 4% service fee for vendors, you'll have to add that to the final amount. If you do not care about earning points on your credit card or you would to maximize the value of your dollar (including not covering the fee), avoid Paypal and wire the money. SCI provides detailed instructions on how to do this.

The amount SCI receives from Paypal is the converted INR amount. This will be credited to your account. I assume the plus or minus will be taken care of during my first visit. I am just waiting to hear back regarding next steps.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Update (August 4): With the lower conversion rate by Paypal, I was a little short of the full fee. So be prepared to make another payment to cover the shortage unless you buffer the initial amount more than I did. Not a big deal if you pay too much as the credit would just apply to the next stage payment.

Travel Medicine & Vaccination

I am definitely one to be cautious when travelling to a new country when it comes to my health versus throwing caution to the wind. To each his or her own - I know friends who have travelled to India with very little medication and vaccinations while others who have done more. I decided to go to our local Travel Medicine & Vaccination Centre for a consultation, which cost me a worthwhile $45.

So after going through my medical history, condition, and trip, what medication and vaccinations did I get? I also included booster requirements, which indicate how long I'm good for.

  • Tetanus/Diphtheria - this is free and covered by our MSP with a booster in 10 years
  • Polio - this is free and covered by our MSP and no booster required for life
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella - this is free and covered by our MSP and requires a booster in a month
  • Hepatitis A - $60 and requires a booster in a year ($45)
  • Typhoid - $50 for capsules because I didn't want anymore injections; booster in 5 years
  • Traveller's Diarrhea (Azithromycin) - received prescription
  • Malaria (Malarone) - received presciption

Again, it's up to each traveller what they would like to get. My risk tolerance was much higher when I was younger during my backpacking years but now especially as a single parent, my tolerance for risk is lower. Of course, there are the general rules about water, food, mosquito bites, etc.

I should add that my company benefits cover a good percentage of these drugs minus the consultation.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Hot? Dirty? Spicy?

I have not shared my journey to India with many friends and family yet but I have shared the fact that I'm taking a trip to India for a "vacation". This has stumped many of my friends and family. Although they see it being a wonderful colourful adventure, they also know very specifically that I do not like hot weather, dirty places, and spicy foods. I will say that they are right - India is not one of my top places to vacation in; however, I still believe, surrogacy aside, it will be great to visit India. One thing I'm not looking forward to seeing - and who would - are the poor, the homeless, and the handicapped. I've seen it before in my world travels, but is still makes me quite sad. Things are moving along - getting excited as the date nears!

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Pulling the Trigger

So I have submitted all the paperwork. It's becoming so real - the plan is for my egg donor to start treatment this Saturday! I just have to pull the trigger - I have to pay the first installment.

I'm not procrastinating - just waiting for the revised account balance. They accidentally sent me the partner version, which has additional costs that don't apply to singles like myself. I also wasn't sure about the sperm freezing but it's just a safety net in the event they require it in the future. This would mean that in the future, all frozen embryos did not thaw properly, implant, or result in a live birth. If that was the unlucky case, there would be no need for me to return for another sperm sample - just need to find another egg donor. By the way, they would like three sperm samples separated by 48 hours such as Monday morning, Wednesday morning, and Friday morning.

Am I ready to pull the trigger? I think so. I'm not exactly sure why I'm hesitating. It's not that I have doubts but I think most of it has to do with the fact that it's in a foreign country. It's all so unfamiliar. I know surrogacy in Canada and the US like the back of my hand. I then think about the four weeks I'll have to be there after birth. Plus I'm thinking more about the food, water, immunizations, etc. and how to prevent myself from getting sick let alone a newborn. I know many have taken this well-used path but it's just normal to have these thoughts.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!

Row of Ducks

So I have all my ducks in a row as they say - everything came together quite quickly. I received the treatment schedule, which determined my dates of travel. Basically, I will be there five days - three days I will be making a "deposit" and two days are free in between the deposit days. On the three active days, I will also be meeting Dr. S as well as the lawyer to review the legalities.

I also picked up my tourist visa today - it took less than three days to process - and decided on cycling with one surrogate instead of two. Finally, tomorrow, I will be forwarding my paperwork and hopefully finalizing flights and hotel. I had a few questions about payment but will forward my first installment soon too. It also hit me that I need to get immunized before going to India. I cannot believe in a month's time, I will be on a flight to India.

Thank you for letting me share this part of my world with you!