January 30, 2012
I’ve just been trying to pin down the dates for the next scheduled egg retrieval and transfer from the clinic we are using. We have been using the same Indian egg donor and are on our fourth transfer. The dates have changed several times now; originally scheduled for late December, the process has been pushed back to late February. I’ve read enough blogs and talked to enough folks going thru this to know this happens all the time, whether you do IVF in the US or abroad. The frustrating part is figuring out the source of the delay. Which brings me to the single biggest complaint people have about surrogacy in India—poor communication.
Having a partner from the UK (Mr. M is from London), I’ve already noticed many of my very-American (and possibly New York) expectations around communication. I expect communication to be direct. I say exactly what I mean (perhaps to a fault). No interpretation and reading-between-the-lines required. I try to leave out as many extraneous words as possible. Mr. Medium instead speaks in the very British manner—passive voice, indirect, and apologetically. When M first moved in we had a serious problem ordering pizza (the foundation of my diet). He would call the pizza store on the corner and say: Excuse me there, would you mind possibly if I could order a margherita? By the time he got to “margherita” (which shockingly is not a pizza with tomato and fresh mozzarella) they had hung up in confusion. I would then call and say: I want to do a plain pie? And all would be right.
The expectation of directness is even more important for me in anything that involves money, and of course most important of all, with having a child. I’ve noticed, and had this confirmed thru reading many other blogs, that communication with Indian clinics often feels “off.” Explanations are often vague. They are perhaps too good at excluding extraneous information. While my friends doing surrogacy in the US get lots of info at every IVF procedure and transfer: # of eggs retrieved, conditions of donor, # of embryos, each properly graded, # transferred fresh vs. frozen, I usually get a simple: procedure took place and two weeks later: pregnancy test was a negative. Sometimes things don’t add up. One person at the clinic says one thing and another says exactly the opposite. I know some clinics are a bit better than others but to keep myself sane I’ve developed a list of rules that I follow (can you say anal neurotic?) which help keep me sane.
1. I keep communication to a minimum. I understand that by spending significantly less money overseas I will have to forgo all that data that my friends who are doing surrogacy domestically enjoy. When I tell people that we had a negative again and they ask how many frozen embryos do you have left, I just shrug and feel like a moron.
2. I try to remember that I already made the decision to go with this clinic. They are not trying to sucker me or steal my money. We share a common goal: getting me a baby. After all, this is the best publicity of all.
3. The only information I really need, that I can’t compromise on, is whether we are pregnant or not and if we do get pregnant, approximately when are we due (I’ve heard stories about shifting dates on this too).
4. I make sure I remain polite and respectful in all my communications with them.