Dear prospects of Kiran Infertility Center in Hyderabad, India:
I wrote this letter not to be impersonal or generic, but I have been getting many inquiries into the Kiran Infertility Center experience. I know that when I was looking for references, a response meant a lot to me. I am quite busy, and I do want to help by sharing my experience, so I have written this for that purpose. If after you read it, you have additional questions that are more specific, I will try to answer them as soon as I am able.
My husband and I went to Kiran Infertility Center through a ‘medical tourism’ agency ‘Planet Hospital’ ere, based in California, USA, starting in 2010. At the beginning, we worked with Kiran Infertility Center via the agency ‘Planet Hospital’. Due to unexpected challenges with the agency ‘Planet Hospital’, we their involvement ceased and we then began a direct relationship with Kiran Infertility Center.
My first direct contact with Kiran Infertility Center was when I went there to begin hormonal injections. I had been to India several times prior to this point, on international travel, so I was accustomed to the culture when we started. I think as a first timer it could be overwhelming. India is very busy and crowded. It is also very beautiful. Many people who feel overwhelmed by the initial cultural differences grow to love India with a deep sincerity that they do not have toward any other place.
Indian people are very warm and welcoming, and I felt that way immediately at the clinic. Everything at the clinic, with Dr. Samit, Anjani and their team of professionals went very well. A point of struggle is that everything is much less formal in India. For example, in America in a situation such as this, we would have to watch numerous videos and sign contracts of understanding before undergoing this incredibly complex process. However, in India, the directions are given verbally. Our nurse did not speak English well, and there were a few times that I struggled with giving myself the shots for lack of direction. Even though I thought I was certain of the directions, after being shown and instructed in person, there was always a surprise. For example, I opened the medication once and saw it was in vials that I did not know how to break open. This was a bit nerve wrecking. Fortunately, I had Dr. Samit’s direct cell phone number, and he always answered each time I called and took the time to explain and make sure that I was okay with the self-administration and all my concerns. It is not common to have a doctor’s direct number, and so I thought that was an extra special service especially because both he and the clinic are very busy.
The egg retrieval, sperm donation, and IVF processes was seamless. We were fortunate that we were successful in our first attempt. Dr. Samit consulted with us on the number of embryos for transfer. He suggested we transfer seven total embryos, a number that seemed very large at the time. He commented that it was his professional opinion to go with the seven, so we entrusted him with this decision. You could imagine the direction our minds were going (more than we expected!). At the end, two of the eight were accepted by the surrogate’s system – then one of those didn’t make it beyond a few weeks. The (destined) one has grown into an absolutely magical boy named Aiden Daniel.
The agency ‘Planet Hospital’ in California, USA, which had incredibly strong reviews and positive standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), write-ups in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, an Opera Show (TV) and more, began to act unethically with us in some matters during the planning process. Eventually these issues came to light and the company temporarily ceased operations. Other hopeful parents in the process were threatening lawsuits, etc. You could imagine our state-of-mind. This was very scary to us as we were not sure what was going to happen now that our representative (our liaison up to that point) was out of the picture. Fortunately, the Kiran Infertility Center and team of professionals quickly took responsibility and co-ownership of the process and demonstrated exemplary ethics throughout the duration of the entire journey. Kiran Infertility Center could have required us to pay a larger sum of money for handling our account, or asked for additional considerations, but they remained committed, truthful, accessible, and kind to us as if we never experienced this potential setback.
At that point, we were six months into the pregnancy and would have willingly paid anything to continue. Kiran Infertility Center asked for nothing additional – even with us in the incredibly vulnerable position we were. To the contrary, we actually paid less, as they did not waiver on the fee arrangement they had structured with the agency ‘Planet Hospital’ in California. This detail spoke volumes to us regarding the Kiran Infertility Center’s ethics, values, and genuine desire to serve in our best interests. We are eternally grateful to them for this - especially since, they had been more open, accessible, and meaningful throughout the entire process. It allowed us to be much closer to the process and this added many comforts.
An example of their exceptional communication was demonstrated in the ultrasound images we received throughout the process. Dr. Samit and Anjani sent the images to us, via email, on a regular and comforting frequency. Their communication was clear and they always followed up on our questions and requests for information.
Picking up Aiden was fairly seamless, but the process should not be underestimated or underappreciated for its complexity. We reached a record in getting out of India and back home in an incredibly successful two-week period. There were many moving parts, so I’ll do my best to summarize here. Note – this is a full-time project, and was pursued with detailed, focused efforts to reach our two-week goal. Don’t underestimate the complexity – but it can be done efficiently with the right balance of hard work and good fortune. You must ensure you have everything that is needed throughout the process and you must be willing to work at it everyday to stay on target.
We’re attaching reference documents from the Consulate General of USA – American Citizens Service Unit. They note: ‘This can be a complex and confusing process, and we have tried to make it as simple as possible.’
Also attached – letter form the Foreign Residents Registration Office of India. They note: ‘By Indian law, your baby requires an exit permit to leave the country. The exit permit is obtained from the Foreign Residents Registration Office (FRRO) in Mumbai or at the local Police Commissioner’s office if you are staying outside Mumbai... The FRRO is a place where you may want to have someone help you navigate through the language differences (Hindi) and the cultural differences. Some people have reported paying facilitating payments, others have not. When speaking to the folks at the U.S. consulate, they were aware that facilitating payments were required for birth certificates, but did not think facilitating payment were required for the exit visa.
At a high-level, the Exit process is as follows: (Please be sure you validate that this is the most up-to-date process, by checking the information with the Clinic and other resources. Details change – as is life). It’s strongly recommended that you scan as many support documents (passports, drivers license, etc.) as possible, before you leave your home in USA, and have them accessible for reprinting, etc. as needed. It wouldn’t hurt to have them printed before you go.
1. Get your baby out of the Hospital as quickly (within sensible safety conditions – the health and well-being of your baby of paramount importance) as possible. Our baby was birthed at Rainbow Hospital in Hyderabad. The Hospital staff was very kind, but more conservative and slow to act than we preferred. We decided to push for the earliest possible discharge and were successful in doing so – gaining a few days in the process.
The hospital will process the birth certificate – and we paid extra for expedited processing. Our son was born on Friday and we had the birth certificate in-hand on the following Monday.
2. Coordinate all support documents with Kiran Infertility Center. Anjani prepared all necessary support documents (within their scope) as part of the Legal Services package they offer.
3. Passport Process – contact American Citizen Services unit of the U.S. Consulate:
American Citizen Services, U.S. Consulate General, Hyderabad, India,
Phone: 91-40-4033-8300, Email: HydACS@state.gov
Contact the US Embassy and let them know that you are undergoing Surrogacy with the Kiran Infertility Centre and let them know the tentative delivery date. (Contact: Ms. Celia Thompson).
You’ll need to travel locally to get your passport photos. This is an interesting challenge – as capturing new photos of your baby (with the requirement of both of the baby’s ears being visible) is more difficult than you’d imagine. Nonetheless, it’s achievable.
4. DNA Testing – coordinate through U.S. Consulate: American Citizen Services. You will be instructed to order kit prior to your baby’s birth.
The Testing is also witnessed, administered, by an Indian representative – so you’ll need to go to a diagnostic centre to pay the appropriate fees. We visited the Vijaya Diagnostic Centre in Hyderabad, and paid INR 1,200 for this service. They were very nice to us at the appointment – and we were given red carpet treatment while there.
Make sure the DNA kit is ordered well in advance, as our baby was born 4 weeks early. We used Genetica DNA Laboratories, in Cincinnati, OH USA. Website: http://www.genetica.com/
The samples will be taken at the U.S. Consulate office, witnessed by the Indian representative, then shipped via FedEx to the USA for testing. This takes a minimum of 3-4 days, so make sure you are aware of holidays, etc. to ensure you are as efficient as possible with this process.
5. After you get the baby’s passport, you will need the Exit Visa from the India: Foreign Residents Registration Office (FRRO) in New Delhi at the Ministry of Home affairs.
To make this happen, only one parent needs to go to New Delhi. You can leave in the early AM and return home on an early evening flight. Note: It’s good to have directions/maps printed for this leg of the journey, as not all taxi drivers know best.
You need to be incredibly pro-active at this point. I made sure I was front and center and first in line when the MHA FRRO office opened in New Delhi. I was a bit forceful to get to the front of the line, but that is customary in this setting. You will need to force your hand to the opening in the window to grab an early (1, 2, 3, etc.). This ensures you will move through the process in New Delhi as efficiently as possible.
You’ll visit the MHA (Ministry of Home affairs, New Delhi) with the set of documents the Clinic gives you, in addition to what you prepared on your own, and apply for the Exit Visa. The FRRO office at MHA will give you a sealed envelope with the instructions for the local FRRO office at Hyderabad.
6. Deliver documents from New Delhi to local FRRO office in Hyderabad. The Clinic arranged the time for us to meet with the local FRRO office in Hyderabad. This was the first time we met our Surrogate. It’s really an amazing experience. This process moves relatively quickly, as the Surrogate, a representative for Kiran Infertility Centre, and the new parents work through a short interview with the local MHA officer and then you are given what you’re looking for – the VISA STAMP on your baby’s passport book!
7. The flight home is so exciting, as you’re filled with excitement to return home. It’s recommended that, at a minimum, one parent and the baby secure one business class ticket – as the journey is long and you will need the extra space for your baby. We flew Emirates Air out and Etihad Airways on the return leg and they’re both excellent choices.
Overall, our experience with Kiran Infertility Center was and is very positive. Anjani, Kiran Infertility Center Case Manager, spent some time with us during his last trip to Chicago. I would recommend my dearest family member or friend to them.
We are forever grateful for all the Kiran Infertility Center has given us. Aiden Daniel is the perfect son!
Monica & Brian