When a couple decides to go for the Surrogacy or IVF process to have a child, the biggest question arises – Where to go? Today there are hundreds of infertility centers all over India and selection is not easy.
Trust me on this, the moment you enter any IVF clinic, their front end staff is fully trained to play with your emotions/dreams and sell their service to you. They will focus their emotional talk towards the wife due to obvious reasons. Within 15-20 minutes you will be almost convinced that this is the best place you can get the Surrogacy process done. They may even have newspaper and magazine cuttings boasting about their success (although I personally feel that some of them are paid publications too). They will fully convince you that how having a child (or a 2nd child) is more important than your money. Well, they need your money and you need a baby but there is a catch. The fact is Surrogacy/IVF is one of the safest industries where you pay even though there is no guarantee of success. Very true, no one can guarantee you of a baby but then you also need to ensure that.
Good, honest and experienced doctors/clinics are present. Therefore connecting with the right one is extremely important.
1. You are not being overcharged for the services .
2. You are actually getting good services from a knowledgeable and experienced team.
3. Decisions are not taken purely based on emotions.
Tips to find a good doctor or clinic for Surrogacy/IVF:
1. First thing first – Prepare yourself mentally:
Before you step out of your home, make yourself emotionally strong. Undoubtedly your decision to have a baby is correct and to achieve your target one needs to use their brain more than heart.
2. Do shop around for a good Surrogacy/IVF center:
Go to at least 2-3 IVF/Surrogacy clinics (or more) before you make up your mind. Ask each one about their success rate and a BREAK-UP charges of their services. This will help you understanding not only what all steps are involved in IVF/Surrogacy, but if one center is overcharging for one step which another one is charging much less. It will later help you in negotiation.
3. Ask overhead/additional costs:
There may be tests like Semen Analysis, Blood tests, HIV tests, even cost of injections/medications which may not be mentioned in their package. Get a checklist complete out of pocket expenses.
4. Ask their policy if IVF/Surrogacy process fails for the first time:
Almost all clinics offer some discounts on 2nd or 3rd attempt if the previous attempt fails. See how much flexible they are in their repetition process.
5. Yes, you can negotiate to some extent:
If not much, there is always some room for negotiation. It is completely fine to leave your number and have the IVF/Surrogacy center to revert back to you with with some discounts or deals. Regardless of what these doctors/clinic staff tells you, they make a lot of money so they do not want to lose you easily.
6. Ask/Find References:
Ask for real references of parents for whom they have performed IVF/Surrogacy successfully. It is quite possible that they will simply not provide you because of privacy reasons, which is quite right. Still, there is no harm in asking. If any of your friend/relative had success with IVF/surrogacy process with particular a fertility doctor, it is better consider that clinic over others. You may be hesitant that your relative may get to know about your infertility issues and that you have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for a while. Lets be practical, having a baby is more important than going with an unknown doctor. Infertility issues are so common these days that it is no more a taboo anymore. If nothing else, try to observe the presence of pregnancy ladies in the clinic. There may be other couples present in the clinic, try to get friendly with them and see what they have to say about the center.
7. Are doctors/clinics following the government norms.
In India sex-determination is completely illegal, and I would recommend you not to flirt around this rule or pressurize doctors over it. Additionally there are strict privacy and humanitarian laws surrounding these processes. If you try to bypass them, they may bite you back in case of any complication. If a center is ready to break rules privately with you could mean their business is actually struggling. There are IVF/surrogate lawyers if you have any doubts.
8. Will your doctor/clinic share the health record of your surrogate/egg donor?
Forcing your doctor to disclose the the name, religion or address of your surrogate might be illegal. But to other things like health records of your surrogate/egg donor and her history related to pregnancy is your legal right. IVF clinics/staff will often tell you “TRUST US” (on this or that), although it is very true that you do have to trust them many times during the process, but end of the day if you have some doubt, please do ask your doctor if they can provide you a proof.
9. Proven/experienced doctors are better:
Reputed clinics/big hospitals which can provide solid proof of they success or top of the line IVF/Surrogacy centers are usually 10-20% expensive over others. It is better to shell the extra cost if you are confused to go with a smaller setup or a bigger one.
10. Distance/Location selection:
In case of IVF/Surrogacy, traveling a little far from your home for a good doctor/clinic should not be an issue for you. Your local doctor may not be well qualified, may not have the best equipments/lab or the best legal team.
11. See if there is an unbiased agency which can assist you:
Although rare, there are IVF/Surrogate agencies who can act like a middleman and make sure that you get the best treatment. These agencies may be free for you (they may get a commission from the doctor) or they may directly charge you a fee. Again, see if this agency can provide referrals of their past cases.
12. Step by Step progression:
If just IVF is better for you, then why go for the expensive Surrogacy. Similarly if both of you are healthy, then why go for an egg/sperm donor.
My objective to make you aware about all these things is purely one-to-one and to help you make a mindful decision for your family.