Parents-to-be Nicole Brown, 45, an acupuncture physician and her husband Scott 39, an insurer, hope to conceive in India and deliver a child in the US after a full term of pregnancy. Yet this is no ordinary baby.
While Nicole has her origins in Vietnam, Scott is Caucasian. The couple live in Miami, Florida. Issueless even after three years of marriage, they decided to try other options.
AdvertisementIn order to preserve Nicole's oriental ethnicity, they chose a Vietnamese egg donor. In addition, they searched through three continents, traveling through Argentina, Greece, Vietnam for top medical expertise. Finally they decided for India.
This multi-racial, transcontinental, two-and-a-half-year travelogue is an indication of the personal touch and professional maturity of India's medical outsourcing industry. Not only can India offer the world top-rung artificial reproductive techniques, it can also do things that count a lot, like running insurance checks for US companies and verifying genetic information for clients in Europe.
Says Nicole: "Doctors told me my eggs were not good enough to conceive. We tried in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles a technique by which eggs are fertilized outside the womb a couple of times in the US but egg donors were expensive, charging a minimum of $8,000 (Rs 3.2 lakh)."
Money matters eventually led the couple to try searching elsewhere. "First we went to Argentina in December 2005, but were not satisfied with the service," recollects Scott. "Then we tried a few packages over the Internet in Greece where they were coupling tourism packages with IVF deals.
"Then we went to Vietnam, where we thought we'd get ethnic egg donors but the procedure was too time-consuming. Finally, we decided to take the donor to India."
That's how 27-year-old Yeen, a food technician, landed in Mumbai from Vietnam, while Scott and Nicole arrived from Florida in July. As the three had already fixed an appointment with a South Mumbai clinic, they went straight there.
"It is great to be here and help this couple, my friends, smile," says Yeen.
"We are not only happy about the service, but also the expenses," emphasizes Nicole. "In the US, the process alone costs $20,000-30,000 (Rs 8-12 lakh) leaving aside the fees of egg donor's lawyer and the agents." In India, the procedure costs between Rs 1.5-2 lakh.
So, was it only about money? "IVF is an emotional roller-coaster for a couple, (but) there's a high level of professionalism and people are treated like machines in the US," says Scott.
"The costs, including air fare and accommodation, are lower but close to what we would have spent back home," he says. "But it's a double deal here: you get a vacation, get your IVF cycle, get a child and enjoy the hospitality", he explains with a smile.