IVF - Surrogacy Blog

16Aug/17

Courteney Cox’s IVF story

Courteney Cox’s IVF story might not do anything to help you deal with your own infertility, but we hope it helps you realize that you are not alone in your struggle to conceive.

Pregnancy or IVF in older age becomes harder, as Courteney Cox, aka Monica of F.R.I.E.N.D.S fame, points: “It’s a fact that after a certain age you have less of a chance.” And she, like many other people, was not open to alternative options such as surrogacy or adoption.

Cox suffered several miscarriages and underwent two cycles of IVF before she gave birth to her baby girl just before she turned 40.

Life imitates Art

For the actor, life imitated art. Just as Monica struggled with fertility issues on the popular TV show, Cox struggled for years in her real life, before she could embrace the joys of parenthood.

It was found that Cox had the MTHFR gene mutation, which dictated how her body methylates. It was a rare disorder in which her antibodies would attack the fetus.

“I suffered miscarriages, my dad died of a really rare cancer, and depression runs in my family, which made my doctor think I should get this gene checked out,” she said in an interview.

She was able to get pregnant but could not keep it.

 

It’s difficult but we just try again

Cox and her husband, David Arquette, candidly discussed their struggles on the path to parenthood. “I get pregnant pretty easily, but I have a hard time keeping them,” she said.

Despite having miscarried several times, Cox admitted that they recovered fast and tried again.

We “bounce back pretty quickly,” she told People Magazine. “I don’t say it’s a walk in the park. But what are you going to do? We just try again.”

 

Courteney Cox’s IVF Decision

“Well it was really weird because everyone in my family has kids. I mean, they pop out like it’s nobody’s business,” she reportedly said. “No one in my family has a problem. So to me, I just thought this would not be a problem at all.”

Eventually, they thought of IVF and they found the first round to be “nerve-racking.”

“I decided to do in vitro and I did that twice,” she said.

But to stop her body’s adverse reaction to the fetus, she would give herself shots of heparin everyday — that’s a blood thinner. She acknowledges that it’s lucky that the high cost of IVF is within her financial means.

“In vitro is a wonderful thing that people can do in this day and age, and I’m lucky enough to be able to afford it,” Cox told Good Housekeeping.

The above image is published on Daily Mail.

Comedy through pain

While her own world was distraught with pain, Cox had to make other people laugh, and it was extremely difficult at times.

“That was hard sometimes. Like I remember one time I just had a miscarriage and Rachel was giving birth. It was like that same time. Oh my God, it was terrible having to be funny.”

Courteney’s daughter, Coco, turned 13 this year.

 

What changed her life?

Once her problem was discovered, and she learned how to tackle it, Cox said her whole life changed.

“I found out how I could absorb nutrients and protect myself from toxins,” she said. “I used to get so tired and would literally crumble after I ate something. Now I give myself a shot of methylated B-12 daily.”

She changed her diet, added the right supplements and “felt so much better and had more energy.”

She also changed her diet when she was pregnant with her daughter Coco, and said, “I took folic acid like you’re supposed to, but I learned later that it wasn’t good for me. I have to take a methylfolate and methylated B, and then I can absorb it.”

There is still a stigma associated with infertility and when a woman of celebrity reveals that she has battled the same war as you, it might be helpful. Thank you Courteney Cox!

06Aug/17

The long wait on India’s Surrogacy Bill

India’s surrogacy industry was brought to a screeching halt with the introduction of the Surrogacy Regulation Bill in Lok Sabha on 21 November, 2016. India’s surrogacy bill is still awaiting Parliamentary action to become a law.

Surrogacy had been legal in India since 2002 and did not draw much attention until in the recent couple of years, when people from other countries started to travel to India for affordable surrogacy.

It is a complicated process wherein a woman decides to carry a baby for another person or couple for nine months, and gives it away at birth in exchange for a monetary compensation.

As more and more foreigners discovered the availability of cheap surrogacy services in India, the possibility of malpractice became huge. The country with poor healthcare regulation and little check on medical businesses then started to see major problems in surrogacy arrangements.

What triggered introduction of India’s surrogacy bill?

Several complicated cases highlighted the dubious future of the children born of surrogacy arrangements as well as the potential exploitation of poor women, and India decided to tighten its grip over the system.

  • 2008: A Japanese doctor couple commissioned for surrogacy in Gujarat, India, but by the time the baby was born, the couple had separated. The baby girl—with no parents, no nationality—was caught between the legal systems of the two countries for a while.

The child is now living under the custody of her grandmother in Japan. But because Japan does not recognise surrogacy, she did not get its citizenship

  • 2012: An Australian couple commissioned for surrogacy and had twins. But they said they just wanted to complete the family with a girl, so they just rejected the boy and took home his twin sister.

In another probable case of child trafficking, a European man was reported to have commissioned for surrogacy in several different surrogacy clinics of Mumbai, India, until he  was caught by the local police, which further prompted strict action on the practice of surrogacy. 

The governments of both the countries intervened and the couple was warned that the child may be left stateless. They then gave up the boy for adoption in India but there were concerns of child trafficking because it was reported that some money had been exchanged.

According to ABC news, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has confirmed that both of these children are now in Australia.

In a similar case in Thailand, Australian parents only took home the baby girl and left behind her twin brother, who was born to a Thai surrogate.

Taking strict action, both Thailand and India have banned commercial surrogacy for foreigners.

 

Not enough compensation for surrogates

India’s concerns are not limited to the life and future of surrogacy babies. Some surrogacy clinics in India are known to charge a large sum from the intending parents but pay very little to the surrogate.

Such exploitation of poor women in India is another reason to call for regulation of surrogacy in India.

In one such reported case, a single mother of two from Chennai decided to become a surrogate to raise some money for starting a small shop.

Unfortunately, after the delivery of the baby, she received only about INR 75,000, because autorickshaw driver took 50 percent from her compensation for serving as the middleman.

With more media attention over such disregard for the welfare of surrogates and the babies, a number of public interest litigations were filed in the Supreme Court to control this practice.

 The 228th report of the Law Commission of India called for a suitable legislation to ban commercial surrogacy and instead, allow only altruistic surrogacy (where no monetary compensation is involved) for the needy.

 

Current status of surrogacy in India

Since the introduction of the bill in November 2016, commercial surrogacy for foreigners has been completely banned for foreigners.

Indian couples are still commissioning for surrogacy, pending a firm decision from the law.

The Standing Committee that was supposed to submit suggestions on the controversial Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2016, has again delayed its report.

The bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, and additional suggestions from the public were sought with a deadline of 13 April, 2017. Thereafter, they rescheduled the presentation of report as the committee requested for an extension until 11 July.

But now, with July gone, there is still no firm solution. They have again asked for a further extension and the new date for submission of report has been set for 11 September, 2017.

While the government is under no obligation to consider the suggestions of the committee, it is believed that they are usually very influential in forming the final decision.

The only question here is to why has the committee delayed its report so much, and how much longer further are they going to take?

23Jul/17

How to choose an infertility clinic?

IVF is expensive and not all doctors are dependable. Many people ask me about how to choose an infertility clinic that will offer them the correct treatment and not just the one that will boost their business.

Infertility clinics do not understand that patients don’t need fancy interiors and coffee; they need a genuine doctor that they can feel confident about.

Recently, to assist a patient, I directed her to a clinic that I thought was honest and reliable in its practice. I’d planned to suggest them to more patients until they gave a ridiculously inflated price list (which I knew was not their regular) and I completely wrote them off my list.

In my bid to tell apart good IVF clinics and bad, I’ve found a couple of factors that could help you in choosing the right IVF clinic.

 

Tips for choosing your infertility clinic

If you, like most infertility patients, are wondering how to choose an infertility clinic, the below points must be kept in mind:

1.      Do not just rely on the recommendation of your Ob/Gyn

Your gynecologist may recommend a good clinic or he/she may just send you to the one that they are closely associated with. In many places, doctors also get a referral commission from other doctors and if they do, many doctors tend to send you to the clinic that pays them the highest.  

 

2.      Seek referrals from your friends and family

Look for referrals from people around you. Has anybody had any experience with a fertility doctor? Even if they can’t refer you a good one, someone could probably tell you about a clinic that you must absolutely avoid?

3.      Do not just ask for IVF success rates

IVF success rates are misleading. Any clinic can turn the numbers to their advantage and paint a pretty picture. It is okay to ask the clinic about their previous success rates, but it should not be the sole factor to base your decision on.

Generally, if the numbers seem too good to be true, they probably are. Read more about why you should not trust IVF success rates blindly.

 

4.      Consult with the doctor and see how you feel

The best thing to do in any case is to visit the doctor personally and see how you feel about them. Do they seem genuinely interested in helping you? Are they willing to answer your questions?

If the doctor is only pressing on a treatment without taking the time to explain or addressing your real concerns, RUN.

 

5.      Is the doctor available for you?

IVF is not a one-visit treatment. You are going to have several visits to your fertility clinic over about a month’s time. Even if you like them at the first impression, do not make the advance deposit in your first visit.

Doctors are usually busy because they are attending to patients. And as one of the patients, you deserve sufficient time.

 

6.      How is the staff behavior?

Is the staff courteous and patient with you or they talk to you as if they are doing you a favor? Do they try to resolve your problems or accommodate your needs?

If you do not like the staff behavior you would not feel like making those multiple visits to the clinic.

Also, the standards of any organization are best reflected in the behavior of the people working there.

So if you find a fancy clinic where the people are rude and grumpy, just leave.

 

7.      Are they just trying to sell packages or being honest?

If your IVF clinic seems too eager to get you to sign up with them, there is something wrong.

Everyone wants to grow their business, but all good doctors understand that treatment is based upon what the patient needs and NOT what you have to offer.

So avoid the clinics that try to convince you for IVF, without clearly explaining why it is the best course of treatment for you.

8.      Is the clinic neat and tidy?

This is low on my list because I feel one would rather go to a simple clinic where people are honest rather than end up at a fancy one where the people and practices are untrustworthy.

However, it is important for medical facilities to be tidy and follow good hygiene practices to ensure safety of the patients.

If you don’t like the feel of the clinic, feel free to find another one.

 

9.      Do they have expertise in cases like yours?

Do not just rely on the impressive profile of an IVF doctor. You must ask questions to ensure the doctor understands your specific situation. Ask for reviews of previous patients whose problem is similar to your own and see what the outcome was in their case. 

 

10.      What is their stance on donor eggs ?

IVF with donor eggs is recommended to a lot of women in their late 30s and 40s, but most patients want to use their own eggs. 

You must see if the clinic is being too aggressive while pushing on donor eggs or if they are just willing to go with your own, only to keep you as a client.

The ideal clinic would assess your situation in this case, and give an honest opinion if it makes sense to take chance with your own eggs or if that would be just a wastage of time and money. Ask for chances of success with either and then make your choice.

 

11.     Will your doctor customise the treatment?

After each failed cycle of IVF, the doctor should have a new approach. There is something to learn from each failed or successful cycle of IVF and the doctor should be open to adapting treatment to your specific condition.

 

12.      Ask if we already have some reviews on them

We are constantly seeking feedback and reviews from people who have already undergone IVF treatments.

This is a great help to other infertility patients.

You can write to us to know if we already have some feedback for the clinic you are considering.

If you have visited one, please share your reviews and help the infertility community.

 

The process of IVF is emotionally and financially taxing and you don’t want to end up at the wrong clinic.

We are with you in finding the right clinic, and hope that you are with us in helping others do so too.

 

If you have any more tips on choosing the right IVF clinic, please share in the comments below.