In a South Mumbai clinic, a global child is waiting to be born — after the prospective parents, of varying ethnicities, explored markets in three continents, gathered the ingredients that go into the making of human life and decided to create it using India’s medical expertise.
<b1>If all goes well, acupuncture physician Nicole Brown (45) and her husband Scott (39), an insurer, can expect to conceive in India and deliver a child in the US after a full term of pregnancy. A child for which they travelled through Argentina, Greece, Vietnam before landing in India on July 27. A child for which they have flown an egg donor from Vietnam to Mumbai, to retain Nicole’s oriental ethnicity.
This multi-racial, transcontinental, two-and-a-half-year odyssey reflects the personal touch and professional maturity of India’s medical outsourcing industry in particular the skills that India can now offer the world, from running insurance checks for US companies to verifying genetic information for clients in Europe.
Nicole is of Vietnamese origin, Scott is Caucasian, and they live in Miami, Florida. They married three years ago and started trying for a child almost immediately after. Nothing happened.
“Doctors told me my eggs were not good enough to conceive,” said Nicole. “We tried in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycles — a technique by which eggs are fertilised 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).”
It was then the duo started exploring outsourcing. “First we went to Argentina in December 2005, but were not satisfied with the service,” said 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.”
So 27-year-old Yeen, a food technician, landed in Mumbai from Vietnam while Scott and Nicole arrived from Florida in July.
They already had an appointment with a South Mumbai clinic and went straight there. “It is great to be here and help this couple, my friends, smile,” said Yeen.
“We are not only happy about the service, but also the expenses,” said Nicole. “In the US, only the process 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.
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,” said Scott.
“The costs, including air fare and accommodation, are lower but close to what we would have spent back home,” he said. “But it’s a double deal here: you get a vacation, get your IVF cycle, get a child — and enjoy the hospitality.”