Planning Surrogacy in India – How to select a good Surrogacy Program.
Are you planning to travel to India to have a baby through Surrogacy? Dr. Samit Sekhar, who is a chief embryologist at the Kiran Infertility Center, suggests some points. There are several ways that Intended Parents can learn about clinics and Surrogacy program. Obviously the first thing they look for is the qualifications of doctors and the medical team of a particular Surrogacy clinic.
Apart from this it is important to ask the clinic about their pregnancy rates and live birth rates, pregnancy rates using self-eggs will differ when an oocyte donor is involved as chances of conception are better when an oocyte donor is used in a Surrogacy cycle especially if the Genetic Mother is not able to produce good quality oocytes anymore.
Pregnancy rates will differ from live birth rates and will be lesser by about 2 to 3% because of the risk of miscarriage especially in the first trimester.
It is important that a Surrogacy clinic offers the strong support staff which should include nurses trained in the field of assisted reproduction. According to Dr. Sekhar, “a surrogacy cycle involves atleast 3 parties-the intended parents, the surrogate mother and sometimes an egg donor may also be involved. It is not always possible for the treating doctor especially in a busy surrogacy clinic to go into full details of each case and in this scenario it is good to have a strong support group of other junior doctors, nursing staff and embryologists”.
According to Mr. Ashok, who deals with Surrogacy Agreements for the Kiran Infertility Center, “it is beneficial to have the backing of a good legal team for any surrogacy clinic as surrogacy is still not a fully chartered area of the law and there are some points which may cause legal heartburn in the future. Hence a good legal team which is able to assess risks of all parties involved and is able to draft surrogacy and egg donor agreements which will stand the scrutiny of the court if the need arises”
It is also important for a good surrogacy clinic to keep themselves updated with latest developments in the field of ART(Assisted Reproductive Technology) especially surrogacy laws which can change from time to time. For examples since January 2013,the Indian Government made it compulsory for a couple looking to have a baby through Surrogacy in India to come to India only on a medical/surrogacy visa and to fulfill certain basic criteria http://www.kiranivfgenetic.com/pdf/visa-regulations-circular.pdf
It is also compulsory for the treating surrogacy clinic to be registered with the ICMR – http://www.kiranivfgenetic.com/icmr-surrogacy-registration.html
A good legal team will also keep itself abreast of the requirements of various consulates/high commissions in order to obtain passport for the newborn without any glitches. It is also important to try and avoid working with surrogacy agencies that do not have necessary licenses and work permits in India since most surrogacy agencies are abroad based and do not have the requisite licenses to work in India.
According to Mr. Ashok, it is always wise to approach a clinic directly.
About the Author:
Dr. Samit Sekhar
IVF and Surrogacy Program Director.
Kiran Infertility Centre, Hyderabad.