Thursday 9 December 2010

7 babies in 7 days!

We have been very busy and blessed in the end of November. Seven babies born in Seven days to parents from Australia and the United States of America.

In this picture you will see baby Ruby( mentioned in the last Blog post) being held by the very popular and able Shilpi, and a beautiful pigeon pair of twins (being held by one of our nurses), born to Australian parents.

One of the blessings of my position is seeing the joy ( and anxiety) of new parents when they hold and feed their baby during those first few days in hospital. It is a blessing that has been abundant over the last number of weeks.It is something that no-one at SCI will ever get tired of witnessing, nor take for granted.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Feedback from our newest American Dad

"My baby Ruby was born on November 17, 2010, happy and healthy, thanks to the loving care that I received from Dr. Shivani and her staff.

Every step of the way was warm and reassuring. From my initial contact to the day I took Ruby home, everything was perfect. I had worked with another clinic in the past and unfortunately miscarried at 4 months. Dr. Shivani was recommended by friends whom I met at the other clinic (who were also unsuccessful, and are now very close!); they said they had had a great experience up to that point. So after doing some research and some hand holding from Megan, I flew to India last March.

My entire experience then was fantastic. Shilpi called me daily to make sure I was fine. Dr. Shivani was great; very, very warm and informative. I left India feeling great about the entire process. Two weeks later, I received an e-mail from Dr. Shivani that the surrogate was pregnant (I used an Indian donor and surrogate). Each month, I received ultrasound photos and reports and reassurances that everything looked fine.

Ruby was born a month early which was a bit of a surprise, but seeing and holding her at Phoenix Hospital was the best moment of my life. I took her "home" three days later and everything is wonderful. She's simply beautiful.

I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Shivani and her staff. The nurses at the hospital were wonderful. Megan and Shilpi are fantastic. And Dr. Shivani was a caring and loving presence through the entire pregnancy and beyond.

I should add that every step of my initial agreement was honored -- there were no financial surprises, unlike what I have heard about other clinics. SCI Healthcare, in my experience, was the epitome of integrity. I was always made to feel like Ruby (formerly known as "the baby") and I were the two most important people in the world.

I give SCI Healthcare a ten out of ten!"

Three cheers for Team SCI

Sunday 28 November 2010

NEWSFLASH- Surrogacy insurance with a certificate of currency

SCI have spend the last number of months negotiating with the premiere insurance companies in India to provide life insurance for our surrogates (LIC etc).

Insurance premium will depend on age of the Surrogate mother and other relevant life factors and will be between Rs 5000 - Rs 9000 for a year with the payout being Rs 1,000,000

Our reputation and huge numbers of pregnant surrogates (touchwood) have helped with negotations.

We understand that Intended parents want what is best for their surrogates and their families. Now, IP's have the additional option of insurance which can be purchased when heart beat of your baby is confirmed.

Copies of certificate of currency will be provided to IP's.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

SCI – How we maximise every opportunity for you to have a baby - part two

We are very aware of the financial considerations that impact on families undertaking surrogacy and are aware that families have made considerable sacrifice to undertake this journey with us at SCI.

SCI would wish that everyone becomes pregnant during their first attempt, but we know that this is not always possible. We are very sensitive to the difference between becoming pregnant and having a live birth. HCG levels (positive pregnancy test), alone are not a good predictor of you having a baby in your arms nine months after these results- but it is a wonderful first step.

We will not suggest that you are pregnant unless you have a solid HCG level (ideally over 50). We do not confuse chemical pregnancies with viable pregnancies. We look for evidence that your pregnancy has every chance of resulting in a live birth. What the evidence and research tells us, is that the first significant milestone towards this goal is seeing your baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound. Clinically this puts a pregnancy into a lower risk category for miscarriage. For this reason, our second stage payments begin, not with a positive pregnancy result, but with a viable heartbeat.

We don’t believe that IP’s should lose a significant proportion of their budget with non-refundable payments if a miscarriage occurs before heartbeat with evidence stating that the highest risk of miscarriage occurs between receiving a positive pregnancy test and having an ultrasound that confirms heartbeat.

At SCI, payments are made bi-monthly for the duration of the ongoing pregnancy, rather than a trimester basis. If you are unfortunate enough to experience a miscarriage in the second trimester, you are not required to pay the balance of your surrogacy fees for the second and third trimester, rather you are asked to pay the fees for the month, with an additional compensation which is given to the surrogate for following month.

We have a separate financial contract included as an attachment to the main contract in an attempt to be as transparent as we are able to be, stating what is and is not included. We acknowledge that this can be challenging, as no one can predict how any one pregnancy will progress. For example: We do not charge ‘extra’ for twins, but acknowledge that twin pregnancy are higher risk and may require more medical care, this is billed to the IP’s as it occurs and is discussed with the IP at the time it occurs.

Another example would be a Caesarean birth. If your surrogate requires a Caesarean birth, the amount paid covers not only the medical procedure and hospital stay while at the hospital, but also needs to include:
  • follow up medical care for the 12 weeks ( of more if required),

  • additional medication,

  • additional transport,

  • additional stay in the studio apartment for a further 2 -3 months,

  • additional home help and assistance as the surrogate is not able to carry or lift any weight, additional food & supplements,

  • additional visits by family members, nurses, social workers, community workers, cleaners and cooks,

  • and follow up visits by the nurse/social worker when they return to their home.

It is not a simply a medical procedure at a hospital, nor is the medical procedure all that needs to occur to ensure the health and well being of your surrogate.

The aim for SCI always remains for IP's to take a baby home with them. We are aware of the financial considerations that face all families and ensure at all times that we focus on not just getting pregnant, but having a viable pregnancy and live birth.

Monday 22 November 2010

SCI – How we maximise every opportunity for you to have a baby - part one (updated)

We, at SCI understand both the emotional, physical and monetary costs of all our families undertaking this journey. Our research tells us that we are in the middle of the road when it comes to our costs and fees, so we thought we would take the opportunity to share with you what we do to maximise every chance of you having a baby.

We start at the beginning; we have many couples who choose to self cycle, we are aware of the evidence through hormone levels (especially AMH* levels) that are predictors of the likely hood of a viable pregnancy and live birth. The heart breaking facts of diminished Ovarian Reserve are that a women can still produce eggs, they can still develop into wonderful looking embryos ( but not always), but the chances of getting pregnant are greatly reduced and if you do get pregnant the chances of miscarriage are very high. This is why we insist on all clients who are looking at self cycling and egg donors undertake this test. We are aware that some couple choose to proceed with this information, but we believe that clients should make informed decisions. Sometimes we are in the unfortunate position to being the first to tell unsuccessful egg donors ( Indian and Non- Indian) of their poor fertility outcomes.

Sperm quality is something that is not often talked about and presumed to be “OK”. With a sperm culture and analysis, this assumption can be tested. Poor sperm quality can have as significant impact on becoming and staying pregnant as egg quality.We want all couples to be aware of this. Excellent embryo grading is what we all want, with men we hope for average or better sperm quality, but one of the most common age related factors is poor motility. One of the many ways we assist with this is making ICSI** a part of our package, so all clients benefit.

All these discussion are difficult to have with clients, but we do not want to give anyone false hope by undertaking treatment ( or multiple attempts at treatment)with a likelihood of a poor outcome.

We are in the fortunate position (through good practice and management) of being one of the few agencies that does not need to advertise for surrogates and having a surplus of screened surrogates at any one time. Through word of mouth from past surrogates and their families, we have women and their families approaching us daily for the opportunity to become a surrogate. Potential surrogates often come with their own mother, husband and extended family to enquire about this opportunity. All surrogates (and their husbands) are screened by our medical team and our psychologist.

We look to the evidence which guides us in best practice and therefore best outcomes for these women and their families and as a consequence, our IP's. As previously described:

“SCI, we do not believe that surrogates should be separated from their
immediate families, nor do we believe in dormitories for accommodation. This
is backed by research which tells us that surrogates have poorer health outcomes,
increased anxiety and greater recovery times if separated from their immediate
family. Mr. Singh provides us with spacious Studio Apartments that are fully
furnished; have cooling to cope with the Delhi heat as well as fridges and cable
televisions in each apartment, the cost of which is met by IP’s.
..The teams (of Social workers/supportworkers/cleaners) meet with surrogates and their families on a daily basis at the surrogate housing. They look after the daily
up-keep of the studio apartments and ensure that the surrogate and their
families have all their needs met. Fresh Food, drinkables and supplements are
provided every second day for all in the apartment. If a surrogate chooses to
have her children with her (often the case for younger children) then a second
family member must be available to provide care..”
We believe because we treat the surrogate as part of her family and her community, not as an individual or a body part, extending this care to the surrogate’s children and other family members, is one of the many reasons for the successful word of mouth campaign that has allowed us to be in the privileged position of having more surrogates than we are able to use. A proportion of the fees that you pay cover these additional items that ensure a higher quality of care for the surrogate and her family.

This includes, but is not limited to individual air conditioned studio apartments rather than dormitories, individual cable TV’s so surrogates or their children can watch what they want, fridges for consumables, school fees, with uniforms, textbooks and school supplies, food & supplements for extended family members, recreational activities for all, additional child care, medical care for the surrogates children, children’s carer and extended family, transport for extended families to visit the surrogate etc.

This makes up our costs, but is of course separate to what the surrogate actually receives in compensation which is paid throughout the surrogacy process . We are very aware that this word of mouth holds us to account, if we fail to provide the quality of care, opportunities or outcomes as promised or described, this surplus of potential surrogates would cease to exist.

For IP's, this means that we have healthy emotionally robust surrogates, with supportive families who want to become pregnant. As with best practice in relation to surrogacy, our choice of surrogate occurs three to four weeks prior to egg collection. We aim to match as closely as we can, the cycle of our self cycler/egg donor with our surrogate.

This usually means that we are monitoring the cycle of a number of potential surrogates to find the best match possible. A proportion of your fees go towards compensating the potential surrogates who do not successfully match.

But even with this care, there are times when the surrogate cycle is not optimum, the uterine lining may not be thick enough or too thick, the hormone levels may not be quite right or there may be some other personal factor that impacts on the likelihood of a successful outcome.

If this occurs, we simply do not proceed. Unless planned, we do not offer a back up surrogate because we know the importance of matching cycles. At times, this may mean that your egg collection is delayed, in rare cases this may mean that your embryos will be frozen, but we will not transfer to a surrogate unless we believe that there is every chance of the surrogate becoming pregnant and having a live birth.

At SCI, we will do everything to maximise all opportunities for you to have a sucessful outcome,what we all want, above all else is for you to go home with your baby in your arms.

*AMH - Anti-Mullerian hormone is a hormone produced by the granulosa cells of the early developing antral follicles. These are the immature eggs that wake up from their dormant state and develop into mature eggs. As a woman runs out of eggs, the number of these small antral follicles decline in number and as a result the serum Anti-Mullerian hormone falls. This is why serum Anti-Mullerian hormone testing is a good estimate of residual egg number. Women with diminished ovarian reserve have diminished fertility and an increased risk of miscarriage.

**Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an IVF procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg.

Friday 29 October 2010

Meet the SCI Team

I would like to take the opportunity to introduce you to some of the hidden members of the SCI team. Clients who come to Delhi know me, Dr. Shivani, as well as much loved Client Relationship Manager, (Travel &Tourism) Shilpi Sharma. Some clients may meet part of our Administrative team ( including our International Client Managers), but we are much bigger that this small handful of people.

We, the SCI Team are made up of over 45 members of staff working to provide a wrap around surrogacy service, as a single team to fulfill the dreams of our clients to become parents. The majority of our team are based in Delhi, although we have International Client Managers based in Australia and America. We are dedicated to providing the highest level of care to our donors, surrogates, clients and their most treasured babies.

This week we have bid farewell to one of our old team member – Laxmi and have welcomed several new staff.

I would like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the wider team, most of whom you will probably never meet, who are crucial in the care of you, our clients, your egg donor, your surrogate(and their extended families) and your babies. The majority of these people work tirelessly in the background providing a high caliber of service that enables all of us at SCI to make your dreams of having a baby come to fruition.

Here are some of the staff who work in the back ground that make up part of the SCI team:-
1) Mr. Saurabh Kumar

Title: Proprietor, FCI.
Role: Mr. Kumar heads a team who is primarily responsible for the recruitment of surrogate mothers & egg donors. Mr. Kumar offers support and ensures that both surrogates and egg donors have all their needs met during the initial stages of treatment and after treatment has ceased. Mr. Kumar is the first point of contact for potential egg donors and surrogates and begins the screening process by explaining the process and ensuring that both donors and surrogates ( and their husbands’) understand what is required.

2) Dr. Ajay Sinha
Title : MD/ Physician
Role: Dr. Ajay Sinha evaluates all the surrogates & egg donors for Medical Fitness eprior to being accepted onto the program.

3) Dr. Atul Verma

Title: Clinical Psychologist
Role: Dr. Atul evaluates all the surrogates & donors prior to being accepted onto the program and provides psychological counselling as required. Dr. Atul spends a considerable amount of time ensuring that all parties understand the process and what is required and that both the surrogate and egg donor are able to give informed consent to proceed. Time is also spend with the surrogates’ husband to ensure that he is able to provide support to his wife during this process. Counselling is available to egg donors, surrogates and their husbands as needed.

4) Dr. Aarti & Dr. Malik

Title: OB/ GYN
Role: Dr. Aarti ( photo) & Dr. Malik work with me ( Dr. Shivani) at SCI as Senior Medical Officers reviewing of all the ongoing pregnancies. All ongoing pregnancies are reviewed formally on a fortnightly basis,although we meet daily with the wider team to review all cases.

5) Dr. Anil Malik

Title: Senior Surgeon
Role: Dr. Anil undertakes any surgical treatment, if required for the surrogates.

6) Dr. Usha Modi

Role: Dr. Modi undertakes all the pathology work and blood tests/ cultures. For our clients, Dr. Modi has one of the most important roles, her tests confirm that your surrogate is pregnant.

7) Dr. Dhir :

Title: Chief Anesthetist
Role: Those of you who choose to self cycle in Delhi will meet Dr. Dhir, who has the important task of providing anaesthetisia for all of our IVF cases / operative deliveries

8) Nurse Jija :

Profile : Nurse Jija is one of our IVF Nurses; she coordinates daily Injection & medication to all our Donors & Surrogates currently under treatment.

9) Rohan :

Title: Surrogate Support & Advocate
Role: Rohan sole role is to provide support and assistance to any surrogate who is admitted into hospital. No surrogate is ever left alone or isolated. Rohan will often communicate with the surrogate’s extended family and ensure that the surrogates concerns and wishes are addressed and understood by treating staff.

10) Jai Singh:

Title: landlord of Surrogate Housing
Role: Mr. Singh is the landlord of the Surrogate home. He is responsible for maintenance and security of all apartments and communal space.
At SCI, we do not believe that surrogates should be separated from their immediate families, nor do we believe in dormitories for accommodation. This is backed by research which tells us that surrogates have poorer health outcomes, increased anxiety and greater recovery times if separated from their immediate family.
Mr. Singh provides us with spacious Studio Apartments that are fully furnished; have cooling to cope with the Delhi heat as well as fridges and cable televisions in each apartment, the cost of which is met by IP’s.
Mr. Singh is currently looking to expand the Surrogate home from 50 to 100 apartments to meet our growing needs.

11) Poornima &Putul :


Title: Chief Social Workers
Role : Poornima &Putul work in close association and manage a team of twenty social workers/support workers/cleaners. Their teams meet with surrogates and their families on a daily basis at the surrogate housing. They look after the daily up-keep of the studio apartments and ensure that the surrogate and their families have all their needs met. Fresh Food, drinkables and supplements are provided every second day for all in the apartment. If a surrogate chooses to have her children with her (often the case for younger children) then a second family member must be available to provide care.

In the past this has meant that the social workers have also assisted in facilitating the medical care and treatment of extended family members staying at the apartments, organised enrolment, uniforms and school runs for school aged children and assisted with on site child care, organised transport for extended families to visit and facilitated recreational activities.

The social workers’ work with the nurse to ensure that all meds are taken and the broader team to ensure that surrogates attend all appointments etc.
The Social Workers will monitor the well being of a surrogate on a daily basis and if there are any concerns then these are discussed with Dr. Shivani immediately.

12) Mr. S.K. Singh

Title: Purchasing Officer for SCI
Role : Mr. Singh ensures that we have all the medications required for the Surrogates and Donors on daily basis, as well as being responsible for all purchasing for the SCI team.

13) Parul Ojha

Title: Admin &Legal Manager
Role: Parul primarily role is in administration. Parul coordinates all the legal paper with SCI lawyer & also liaises with clients and ensures their queries are answered promptly.

14) Ritu Singh :

Title: Chief Admin Coordinator
Role: Ritu prepares and updates all our Donor & Surrogate profiles that are sent out to our IP’s through our International Client Managers. Ritu co-ordinates my diary and most importantly for IP’s ( works with Chandan) to books their surrogates for scans and sends copies to IP’s in a timely manner . If an IP has any questions regarding scans or any planned treatments, Ritu ensures that these questions are answered promptly.

15) Neha Yadav

Title: Chief of Secretarial Staff
Role : Neha role is to liaise with clients before IVF and during the pregnancy so that all are aware of ‘when’ and ‘where’. Most importantly for IP’s, Neha co-ordinates all the baby pick-up documentation for when it is time for your baby to come home.

16) Amit Kumar

Title: Accounts ManagerRole: Amit looks after day to day accounts of SCI.

17) Chandan Kumar :

Role: Chandan works with Ritu, Poornima, Putul, our doctors, social workers and drivers and the rest of the team to assist in coordinating daily appointments of the Surrogates & Donors with the Doctors for Scanning & Blood Tests.

18) Transport / Travel Assistants:

Role: We place the highest priority on the care of all our surrogates. This department looks after the daily transport needs of all the Surrogates & Donors. Through this team we are able to provide transport 24*7 to all our surrogates who only travel in SCI cars.

19) Pawan / Bhavani/ Rohit : SCI Office assistants

Role: As with any team, you need people who will jump in and do all the odd jobs that are required -These men do this for the SCI Team.

Sunday 17 October 2010

ISO Accreditation

Anyone in Health Care understands both the importance and the challenges of going through a Quality Management Systems ( QMS)registration and auditing process and all that goes with it;including having a culture of continuous quality improvement that is audited internally and externally.

It is with great delight that I share with you that we have been accredited with ISO for the maximum time period of 3 years.It is a commitment that we at SCI have made to continue to meet international standards of practice & care and that we are open to the scrutiny of the accrediting body. While we are all very excited about this as a service, the reality is that we will continue to provide the same high quality service & care to our clients, with no real observable change.

An ISO certificate is not a once-and-for-all award, but must be renewed at regular intervals recommended by the certification body, usually around three years. There are no grades of competence: either a company is certified (meaning that it is committed to the method and model of quality management described in the standard), or it is not

(A note this is hot off the mail... and the final certificate will be here in 2 -3 weeks)

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Our Experiences, thoughts from a new family

Hi Dr Shivani

Hope you are well. We are doing just fine.

We left India Friday morning and came back to our house yesterday. At our house we had a party with our families and everyone were so happy that we finally made it back home.

Just wanted to share some of our experience and how we felt through the surrogacyjourney.

First a BIG thank you for all your help and support. You have been great. You are always positive, informative and you are answering our questions so quickly. We are very satisfied with both how you handle us IP´s and how you seem to handle the surrogates. The information about eggdonors and surrogates weren´t much but enough. The information you have sent throughout the pregnancy has been great. Always on time and for the most easy for us (dummies) to understand. Continue as now and you will have a long, good career. Your are wonderful!

During our visit in India we met Shilpi a lot and we adore her. She has been so wonderful to be with and she has helped us a lot. She is easy to talk to and she is eager to help and she wants everybody to feel comfortable. During Roberts visit at the hospital she was there many times, helping us and supported us. She is GREAT, hold on to her!

Alwina is doing just fine. Right now she has just been eating and lying in her bed getting some rest. She sleeps a lot and eats a lot.

Photos will come in another letter.

Thank you and hugs to your all!

Monday 20 September 2010


It is with great joy for all of us at SCI, that we celebrate the new arrivals for some of our Blog families, those who so generously share their stories with all of you:

"Out of India"

"Faith to Vishwas" and

"the Christmas Eve boys"

have all celebrated the safe arrival of 2 beautiful girls and 2 handsome boys into the world. To paraphrase TJ, who so wisely states the miracle of of life that will bud in Delhi and blossom in the United States of America.

And of course we cannot forget the arrival of the latest little Australian, 'Theo', our third handsome boy, whose parents are from "BT JR - the Becoming Tour. "

It is our greatest privilege to see our nursery filled with babies from across the world. May God give them all the choicest of blessings.
If you wish to find out more about a parents experience of surrogacy with SCI in Delhi, please take the time to read these amazing stories.

Monday 6 September 2010

Baby Boom continues...

It has been a very busy month at SCI with 10 international surrogacy babies born and the arrival of a group of Non- Indian Egg donors. We have had multiple families from Australia; the United States and Scandinavia ( including Alwina with her proud fathers) all in the process of collecting their much loved babies and have either returned home or are in the process of doing so.

Thankfully the process for going home has been streamlined and with some local support, IP's are able to navigate their local embassy/ consular and High Commission immigration requirements and the local bureaucracy and return home within two to three weeks.

Our concierge service managed by the very capable Shilpi have been run off their feet, assisting with local transport,accomodation, last minute shopping and transporting cots, sterilizers and baby baths for newborns across Delhi. It is also wonderful to see IP's who have only communicated via email and forums finally meet and support each other.

I have been privileged to observe so many wonderful moments from these parents,from the first time that they see and hold their baby; when they collect their baby from the hospital and just before they leave. One of the most touching was from a family from the United States, the mother told me:

“Ten months ago, i carried they cyptoshipper in my arms, now i am taking my baby back home”

For SCI, it doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Aussie Baby Boom

I am delighted to announce that the Aussie baby boom continues with SCI.

I have great pleasure in introducing to you Amara and Toby, born to two Australian couples from opposite sides of the continent of Australia.

Both sets of mothers and fathers are overjoyed after finally having their babies in their arms. Both are due home to meet their extended families and friends in the near future.

May God place the choicest blessings on these little ones and their families.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Our latest arrival & gifts

I continue to be astounded by the generosity and kindness that intended parents show each other. I should clarify;I have to admit to being somewhat unaware of how active the surrogacy community is on-line, but as things progress i gain a better understanding each day.

In the last couple of days we celebrated the safe arrival of Toby to his parents Meg and Bob from Australia. Both parents were surprised and touched to have this special gift arrive from Ip's in the U.S.

How gorgeous is this

Sunday 27 June 2010

First Aussie/ SCI baby to go home!

It is with much pleasure that we share this wonderful picture of Landon and his father.

Landon is our first baby to go back to Australia and his father was full of praise for the independent legal team assisting with this. Landon's father tells us that he is a pioneer in his sector as a single father he is receiving all the benefits and paternity leave as any other 'mother' in his sector. Congratulations.

We wish Landon and his father, god's choicest blessings.

With Landon's birth, we have now helped singles and couples from the U.K,Africa, Europe, U.S.A, and now across the Asia-pacific region to become parents and bring babies home.

If you believe that we can assist you, please contact us.

Saturday 26 June 2010

IN THE PRESS ( The Australian): Birth of a booming baby industry (Weekend edition)

I was very privileged to be interviewed by The Australian this week. It has been the start of a very busy time for our Australian clients with three babies being born to two Australian families in the last three weeks and one more baby due early next week, with many many more by the end of the year.

Please note the Surrogate's face is blurred to preserve her anonymity.

Birth of a booming baby industry

Amanda Hodge, South Asia correspondent From: The Australian June 26, 2010 12:00AM

THOUSANDS of foreigners are travelling to India in an attempt to conceive a child.

AFTER six miscarriages, years of failed in-vitro fertilisation treatments and endless queues at Australian and international adoption agencies, Megan Sorensen is finally expecting a baby this week, at age 43.

Like an anxious father-to-be, Sorensen (not her real name) will pace the corridors of New Delhi's Phoenix Hospital while a woman she met six days ago and knows only as Rani goes through childbirth for her.

Once delivered, the baby will almost immediately be handed over to Sorensen. And Rani, when she has recovered from her labour, will return to her own flat, her husband and two children.

In New Delhi the same process will be repeated several dozen times over for Australian couples before the year is out. Childless Australian couples -- heterosexual and gay -- are looking to Indian women who are prepared to rent out their wombs for the chance to improve the lives and fortunes of their own families.

Delhi fertility specialist Shivani Sachdev Gour says she has seen an explosion of Australian clients as word of her service has spread through the community of couples exploring surrogacy options.

Since the first Australian couple walked through the door of her low-key clinic last year, she now sees at least 10 new Australians every month who have travelled to India -- many of them for the first time -- in a last-ditch effort to conceive a child.

"Of 100 surrogates on my books, 55 are pregnant and more than 50 per cent of those children will be born Australian babies," Gour says. "Most of the [commissioning parents] have done IVF in Australia and been advised by their specialists that surrogacy is their best option."

Her first successful Australian birth came just three weeks ago, to a single man who came to India for two days of treatment, gave a sperm sample on the day the donor eggs were collected, and nine months later collected his baby.

Unlike some Indian fertility specialists, Gour says helping aspiring single or gay parents conceive a child poses no ethical dilemmas for her. She's vehement when confronted with the criticism that using a poor, often ill-educated woman to incubate a wealthy woman's child amounts to exploitation. "Just because the [surrogate] is poor it doesn't mean she's not allowed to make her own decisions," she says. "The Supreme Court of India says surrogacy is an industry."

Indeed it is. More than 100 operators turned over an estimated $US445 million ($514m) last year.

But, for some, India's reputation as the world's baby factory for foreign women unable, or unwilling, to pay Western surrogate fees is a grotesque commercialisation of the reproductive system.

Sorensen has heard all the arguments before. "People say really nasty things, that we're selfish for wanting our own child," she says. "What really gets me is when they accuse us of going to India to buy a baby like it's an easy process. It's not." She calculates the whole process -- including one failed effort and one miscarriage -- will have cost more than $90,000 by the time their baby is delivered. Of that, Rani will receive $5000.

While thousands of foreign children have been delivered by Indians without incident, several cases -- including the death of a surrogate during childbirth last year -- have scarred the industry. The woman, a second wife, was pressured by her husband to become a surrogate to earn more money for the family. And in 2008 the industry faced a scandal when a Japanese couple broke up before their child was born, leaving the baby in danger of becoming India's first surrogate orphan.

India's minister for women and child development Renuka Chowdhury warned two years ago: "We do not want surrogacy to become unfettered like the organ trade. We need to put a regulatory authority in place."

Draft legislation governing the entire assisted reproductive industry -- IVF, sperm and egg donations and surrogacy -- is to be debated in parliament within months. If passed, it will legalise surrogacy services for couples and single people and provide a loophole for gay couples by allowing one partner to register as a single parent on the birth certificate.

Surrogacy clinics will be forbidden from recruiting and acting for surrogate mothers, who will instead be represented by a third party. The law also will forbid a commercial surrogate from carrying more than five babies in her lifetime, including her own.

Australian law further stipulates that a child born overseas of a surrogate mother must have a DNA link to at least one of the commissioning parents.

Gautam Allahbadia, who helped draft the bill, says he expects it to pass with little trouble after five years of debate and amendments.

The Mumbai-based fertility specialist says India is an ideal surrogacy destination; Indian women rarely drink or smoke and the country offers "First World medical services at Third World prices".

But National Federation of Indian Women president Annie Raja fears the new law will lead to the exploitation of more poor and lower caste women. "This country has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates. Nobody is thinking about the mental or physical health of these women. It's all about money," she says.

At Gour's clinic money seems the furthest thing from Sorensen's mind as she clucks over her young surrogate. Sorensen is ebullient and awestruck. Rani seems overwhelmed. Both women are close to tears. Through a translator Rani says she is "a little nervous" about the labour and concedes giving up the baby she has carried for 37 weeks, but has no biological link to, will probably be painful.

But she says: "It's a few hours of sadness for me and a lifetime of happiness for Sorensen."

Asked if she would do it again she doesn't hesitate; "One hundred per cent."

But she looks uncomfortable when asked to explain how being a surrogate will improve her family's fortunes. For 10 months Rani has had a driver, maid and food delivery service, her rent and all family medical bills paid. When the baby is delivered she will receive 200,000 rupees ($4981), one-tenth the price of the most cut-rate US surrogate. For many Indian surrogate mothers all the attention that comes with carrying a wealthy woman's baby ends soon after the child is delivered. But Sorensen says she is determined to make a difference to Rani's life by helping her buy a home and paying for her children's education. "I feel very maternal towards Rani," she says. "She's part of our baby-making team."

Monday 21 June 2010

A made in India baby for better Aussie ties

Article from the Sunday edition of the 'Mail Today'. The writer of the article was very intrested in the emerging and future relationships between India & Australia. Its wonderful to see a baby unite the two nations. Its indeed a proud privilege to be the doctor of this pregnancy. a big thank you to this fabulous couple for sharing their story!

Saturday 22 May 2010

Oliver & Alexis go home to the U.S.A

Oliver and Alexis with SCI staff and parents

Oliver and Alexis left India last night to go home to the U.S. After a brief stay with us and with all immigration issues quickly dealt with both babies are on the way to meet their extended family and new friends. We wish them all the very best on their journey through life.

May God shower them with the choicest blessings.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Baby Boom at SCI

SCI is experiencing a baby boom with aprox 50 pregnant surrogates at the present time, all due this year. There is nothing that pleases us more than helping people start or complete their families. To assist us in caring for large numbers of our treasured Surrogates, we have recently hired drivers and purchased cars to ensure a safe and short ride to and fro from appointments such as dietician appointments, scans, blood tests, obstetrician appointments, need for emergency care etc

Most of our clients prefer to remain anonymous, often choosing not to participate in Blogs or forums on the Internet. I was delighted to receive the best kind of email the other day, one from satisfied parents from the United States of America, with the following message and pictures. They have kindly given permission for me to share:

Hello Dr. Shivani! Thank you! They are really wonderful God-given gifts to us. We are very happy!

Here is a picture of Oliver and Alexis (a pigeon pair of twins) being held by our very experienced NICU Nurse Jija.

They came earlier than the due date and needed to spend a bit of time in NICU



If you believe that we can help you complete your family, please email us.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Introducing our Embryology Team

I am pleased to introduce key people within SCI family - our embryology team. These highly valued members of our team look after your precious embryos and semen samples and most importantly undertake ICSI for all our clients.

Deene Vishnu Kanth is our highly skilled embryologist with many years experience. I was amused by his description of his work to a client recently in which he stated his role was to look for the best sperm under the microscope and introduce it to the healthiest egg and then wait for the miracle of fertilization.

Devender Kumar is our Junior Embryologist and more than likely is the person that most of our fathers will meet (besides me of course!). He recently told a father-to be that his job was to make sure that nothing got mixed up. Everyone laughed at this, but later on i watched on with amusement as he corrected a nervous father's spelling of his name and date of birth.

Good embryologists are crucial to any team undertaking surrogacy and i am pleased and proud to have two such excellent professionals as part of SCI. Both of these men are a key component to our sucess.

Our success rates with young donor and surrogate mother is more than 75%,with a live birth rate of 55%. We currently have more than 25 successful surrogacy births with babies safely home with their families, and more than 40 pregnant surrogates for international clients.

If you believe that we can help you achieve your dream of becoming a family, please contact us.

Saturday 27 February 2010

January and February have been busy months at Surrogacy Centre India.

I am proud to announce the establishment of my two new offices in Delhi NCR with a support team whose aim it is to meet the needs of all the clients of SCI.

Due to the the care and diligence of my recruiting staff we have more than 65 screened egg donors for Intending Parents to choose from. These are a mix of new and experienced donors, so that IPs will be able to see the results of previous egg collections when possible. We have listened to IP's concerns with regards to not knowing if their baby has a half sibling in the same country and therefore we are committed, as far as possible, our donors donate once to any country. For those clients who wish to have a Caucasian or other race donor, we recommend only one egg donation agency, Global Egg Donors.

We understand that for some IP's academic excellence is an important characteristic when choosing an egg donor. We are particularly proud of the establishment of our Premium Egg Donor Service in which women who have studied at prestigious Delhi universities have kindly agreed to become Egg Donors.

Our clients

In the past two months we have helped more than 20 families become pregnant. Some families come through LGBT networks and word of mouth, many believing they would never have the opportunity to have children of their own. We have intending mothers who have survived cancer and had hysterectomies, others with significant histories with IVF procedures in their own countries and others who had resigned themselves to being childless after being confronted with the significant waiting time for adoption in their countries. We have had successful outcomes for many of our families who have chosen to self cycle in India.

Our staff
We welcome our new concierge service, Dolly,

and Shilpi,

who assist our clients with accommodation and travel in Delhi, and travel to and from medical appointments. They are on hand to assist our clients discover the charms and delights of our vibrant city. Welcome also to Gourav, who has recently started as our accountant:

and Laxmi, my very able Secretary who will be key in forwarding copies of all results and scans to intended parents and can be contacted when I am not reachable in surgery/ consultations.

Our aim, as always, is focused on you, our clients. We can begin your surrogacy treatment in as little as two weeks. If you believe that we can help you, please feel free to contact us and ask all your questions.

Sunday 31 January 2010

SBS article - mid 2009

For all the Australians out there, i was quoted in this article by SBS - World News Australia in mid 2009

Saturday 9 January 2010

IN THE PRESS: High IQ men as Sperm donors

High IQ men as sperm donors

Neha Tara Mehta, Hindustan Times (FRONT PAGE NEWS)

He’s a 30-year-old software engineer, who is planning to start a family soon. But he often thinks about the children he has already helped bring into the world -- as a sperm donor.

"One of the main reasons I became a donor is that I believe I am a good person, and wanted to help create good people,” says the Mumbaiite, who donated ten samples as an engineering student. And even though he didn’t get to hear any Father’s Day greetings last week, he says, “I hope I have passed on my good values to the children, wherever they may be.”

The face of the sperm donor has changed dramatically in the last few years. “We had a hard time finding donors in the past, but we now get phone calls and emails from people wanting to donate,” says Dr Anjali Malpani, director of Mumbai’s Malpani Infertility Clinic.

Sperm banks are reporting an increasing incidence of “high IQ people” coming forward as donors. “We have a varied lot -- CEOs, MBAs, accountants, engineers, executives, paramedics and secretaries,” says Malpani.

Dr Iqbal Mehdi, director of semen bank Cryo Lab, has student donors from IIT, JNU, MAMC, DU and IGNOU. Not surprisingly, the IIT samples are in great demand.

Medical students are the staple of most sperm banks. Says infertility specialist Dr Anoop Gupta of Delhi IVF and Fertility Research Centre, “About fifty per cent of our donors are medical students. We take such donors because they understand exactly how their donation can make a difference to others, and aren’t commercially motivated.”

At Rs 300-600 per sample, money isn’t an attraction, says Kapil (name changed), also a software engineer, who has been a donor for the last three months. “I won’t waste six hours a week commuting from Noida to Delhi to get the money. I could earn much more in that much time if I start a computer coaching institute,” he says.

Fertility specialist Dr Shivani Sachdev-Gour of Phoenix Hospital was surprised to receive a request recently from a 22-year-old working with a leading audit, tax and consulting firm, to donate only on the condition that there’s no money involved.

“I will be doing very little to fundamentally change the lives of ten families (as per ICMR guidelines, semen of one donor cannot be used for more than ten successful pregnancies),” says the aspiring donor, who is also an organ and blood donor.

When he has his own children, will he tell them about the children born out of his donations? “Definitely. Among the values I would like to inculcate in my children would be to help fellow human beings. I would like to lead by example,” he says.

Counselling the donor is important to ensure they don’t get attached to the children. “We tell potential donors that one in six couples is now infertile, compared to one in ten earlier. In many cases, male infertility is the problem. Sperm donors feel happy to give such couples a chance to be parents,” says Dr Sohani Verma, in-charge of the IVF unit at Indraprastha Apollo hospital.

Donor anonymity is mandatory in India, though it has been done away with in some sperm banks abroad. Says Dr Gour, “No donor wants any liabilities. You don’t want ten children knocking on your door.”

As Ajay (name changed), a 32-year-old paramedic who is a frequent donor puts it, “Even if the law permitted me, I wouldn’t want to meet children born from my donation. I may be their genetic father, but the man they consider their father may feel bad on seeing me.”