Friday, May 7, 2010

This week Global IVF is featuring Dr. Viken Sahakian

This week Global IVF is featuring Dr. Viken Sahakian who is Board Certified in both Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility and assumes teaching responsibilities at Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at UCLA Hospitals. His clinic, Pacific Fertility Center is located in Los Angeles.

Dr. Sahakian has performed over 6000 IVF procedures and is responsible for the birth of over 3000 babies all over the world. He, along with his colleagues, pioneered the most revolutionary financial program in modern medicine, the IVF Refund Plan. Now for the first time, the doctor was willing to assume risk in treating women with infertility. He was able to achieve this by having consistently higher success rates. This program has forever changed the way we practice medicine in the field of reproductive sciences.

Dr. Sahakian also specializes in treating patients with advanced maternal age including postmenopausal women seeking infertility treatment through egg donation. He is responsible for the oldest woman on record to have given birth at the age of 67.

Hundreds of same sex partners have also been helped by Dr. Sahakian in achieving their dream of building a family through egg donation and surrogacy.

It is his mission to help couples with infertility and to be there for them every step of the way.

Please visit at to listen to Dr. Sahakian to learn more. While you are on Global IVF please take the time to sign up for our newsletters and join our online community. Your input and feed back are what makes Global IVF so successful!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Surrogacy in India - New Problems Arise

At we do not advocate one surrogacy decision over another. For some IPs, who are able to afford the high costs associated with gestational surrogacy, going to the United States is the right choice. But for many others, who cannot absorb the incredible price tag that comes with an American surrogacy, the only options remain in other countries, where surrogacy is not as longstanding both legally and ethically. India is gaining great popularity in the world of surrogacy - because of its advanced medical treatment and its relatively inexpensive pricetag.. But unfortunately it comes with other costs, some which might not have been taken into account at the onset of the journey.

At, we are encouraged and excited by all the global options available to us. But as Theresa Erickson points out below, before choosing your surrogacy destination, please make sure you do your research.

India Fertility Industry Hit with Another Blow & Americans Giving Birth Overseas Using an Egg Donor

Tuesday 26 Jan 2010 By Theresa M. Erickson

In an article that was just posted in India, controvery continues to follow India and its fertility industry. In this article entitled rightly so, “In the Womb of Controversy,” the writer states the following:

“As high drama is being played out in Indian courts over surrogacy issues, the US consulate in Chennai, perhaps worried about the rash of litigations has decided to tighten its visa processing norms, particularly for couples coming to the city for fertility treatment and assisted reproduction.

About a month ago, Vimala (name changed), a US citizen, returning home after delivering a healthy baby boy, was put through a grilling at the US consulate in Chennai when she went to obtain a passport for her new-born. On learning that she had conceived the child with the help of donor eggs (through assisted reproduction by transfer of eggs or oocytes donated by another woman), the consulate declined to recognise her as the biological mother.

“The father’s name and mother’s name are mentioned in the consular report of birth. This certificate is issued to recognise a US citizen child born outside the country. But the certificate for my son does not list me as the mother. I had to go through a lawyer to process adoption in the US and get the certificate amended to incorporate my name,” Vimala said in a communication to her doctor.

The incident triggered protests among a section of fertility experts in Chennai and kicked off a debate on personal privacy and patient confidentiality and the need for laws. “The laws in India and those of countries from where patients come for treatment should be made clear. Our guidelines state that a surrogate mother gives a written undertaking relinquishing all rights over the child, and the same applies to an egg donor as well,” pointed out Dr Priya Selvaraj of the Chennai-based GG hospital.

Dr Falguni Bavishi of the Ahmedabad-based Bavishi Fertility Institute insisted that none of her patients, five so far from the US and who delivered through donor eggs, faced ‘harassment’ at the consulate. “We made it clear to the consulate that the delivery was through egg donation,” she said.

With the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2008 still in the cans, India’s stand on issues relating to surrogacy remains a set of guidelines on paper. Said Dr PM Bhargava, the chief architect of the Bill and former member of National Knowledge Commission: “The draft bill clearly says that if anyone from outside the country wishes to have a child using ART procedure, they have to produce evidence that they can take back the child without problems.”

According to Bhargava, one of the architects of the Bill, issues relating to surrogacy have been addressed in the proposed legislation. “We had foreseen problems like this (the legal tussle between divorced Japanese parents and their daughter Manjhi Yamada, born from an Indian surrogate mother and the case of the German couple fighting for citizenship for their twins),” he said.

In the case of the German couple, the Supreme Court has suggested that adoption would be the only way out for their surrogate twins.

Authorities in Germany, which does not recognise surrogacy, were willing to consider their application for a temporary visa for the twins for initiation of adoption process.

US consulate officials declined to comment, merely citing the US Federal statutes governing acquisition of US citizenship by birth abroad to a US citizen parent. Section 7 FAM 1131.4-2 (Citizenship in Artificial and In Vitro Insemination Cases) states that “a child born abroad to a surrogate mother who is the blood mother (that is, who was the egg-donor) and whose father was a US citizen is treated for citizenship purposes as a child born out of wedlock”.

But with the ART bill gathering dust and India emerging as a major hub for transcultural surrogacy, the country could well see more cases like that of Jan Balaz and Susan Lohle, the German couple battling to save their surrogate twins from becoming stateless citizens. “

However, women using egg donors and giving birth overseas anywhere need to be aware of this issue, as I have seen it several times in Israel, as well as other countries. Currently, you will have to do an adoption once you return home to the US if you inform them that an egg donor was used. Be careful! And, again this is why it is important to do your research beforehand.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Video Shoot for

This weekend was exciting! did our first extensive 'experts' video shoot. For two days, we interviewed top Reproductive Endocrinologists - including Dr. Guy Ringler, Dr. Sahakian, Dr. Daniel Potter and Dr. David Tourgeman, we interviewed top egg donor agency - Gifted Journeys, and the very reputable surrogacy agency - Agency for Surrogacy Solutions, Inc run by Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos and Lauri Berger de Brito. We interviewed lawyer Rich Vaughn from NFLC law plus psychologists Andrea Bryman and Abigail Glass. The shoots went well and we've got lots of great stuff to share with you in the upcoming months on our experts page. Be on the lookout!

If you haven't already signed up to be a member of, please do! is a great resource, full of information for IPs looking to travel overseas for any Assisted Reproduction services, and for IPs coming to the States for the same. It lists clinics, laws, costs, etc around the globe. Global is such a valuable resource -- finally a one stop place to get all of the necessary information to make an educated decision about creating your family. Knowledge is empowerment! is always looking for stories from IPs who have gone abroad for services or IPs who have come to the United States... there are blogs, articles, forums... so if you've got a story to share, or an upcoming fertility trip planned, please get in touch with us at so that your experiences might help others.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ranting & Raving about Doctors on the Web

The following link raises some interesting thoughts regarding rants and raves about doctors on the internet. I'm sure what will follow is the same consideration regarding services -- including surrogacy agencies, egg donation agencies, clinics around the world, etc. I guess more 'food for thought' that we should not just blindly trust what we read on the web and before making any very important decisions - like choosing a doctor, a clinic or an agency - do your research. Here at Global IVF, Inc - we want you to be an educated consumer and an educated global patient.  That is our main goal!

Docs seek to stifle patients' rants on Web sites

Doctors worried about their reputations are trying to fight back against bad Web site reviews, requiring patients to sign contracts - critics call them "gag orders" - promising not to post comments to public sites. But the move may be backfiring.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year from Global IVF

Happy 2010 from all of us at Global IVF!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking for a sperm donor? Denmark is the place to go!

The world is open to us all when exploring options for overcoming fertility issues. Borders no longer apply... and persistence pays off. I found the article below inspiring, if something is not possible in ART in your own country, then all you need to do is look to another one for help. Seek and you shall find. And that's what is all about!

Brits opting for IVF 'Viking' babies

By Ellen Otzen
BBC World Service in Copenhagen

The shortage of donor sperm in the UK has prompted British women to travel to Denmark in the hope of conceiving a child.

Ten-month old Oscar burps and babbles - like any healthy baby. But Oscar's origins are unusual.

His father is an anonymous Danish sperm donor and if it had not been for a recent law change in Denmark, Oscar would not be here at all.

For years his mother Abby, a London lawyer who does not want to use her real name, wanted to have a child of her own.

“ It does seem ludicrous that one has to travel so far to have a child ”
Abby IVF mother
But when she found herself still single at 41, she decided to try for insemination with donor sperm.

After three unsuccessful attempts at her local London hospital, she was told there was no more available sperm left.

Abby eventually contacted a fertility clinic in Denmark.

Following IVF treatment there, she had a positive pregnancy test. She describes Oscar as her "miracle baby".


A new act from the UK's fertility watchdog - the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) - came into force this month.

“ I don't want anything to do with the children that grow up and want to find their father ”
Jonas Sperm donor
It allows people who were conceived with donor sperm to identify any half-siblings they might have.

But it does not address what has been described as the most pressing issue - the shortage of donor sperm in the UK.

Abby is not the only woman who has conceived with donor sperm from outside the UK.

With more and more women deciding to have children on their own, hundreds of British women are now travelling abroad for insemination.

Denmark, as home to the world's biggest sperm bank, is a popular destination.

The Danish spermbank Cryos exports sperm to 60 countries around the world. Its slogan is "Congratulations, it's a Viking".

Unlike the UK, it allows donors to be anonymous as well as paying them for their donations.

Since 2005 men in Britain have not been allowed to donate sperm anonymously, and demand in the UK now outstrips supply.

While the UK has ended the right to anonymity of donors, the Danes have been liberalising.

In 2007 it it became legal for Danish doctors to perform IVF on single women using sperm from anonymous donors.

No waiting lists

Insemination has become good business for Danish fertility clinics.

“ Women who have decided to have a child don't feel that they can wait two years, if there is a two-year waiting list ”
Sophie Bugge Vita Nova
DanFert clinic in Copenhagen is now treating around 50 British women each year - in 2007 it saw only 20.

And Copenhagen's Vita Nova clinic has seen a 40% increase in the number of British women coming there each year since the clinic opened in 2005.

"In many of Denmark's neighbouring countries they have changed the laws so that donors can no longer be anonymous," said Sophie Bugge, head midwife at Vita Nova.

"This change in the law makes the waiting list for donor semen a lot longer.

"Women who have decided to have a child don't feel that they can wait two years, if there is a two-year waiting list.

"That is the most common reason to choose treatment in another country."

As well as the UK, the clinic also treats women from Germany, Sweden, Norway and Italy - a couple of women have travelled all the way from Uganda and Australia for treatment.

Casual donor

For Abby in London, travelling out of her own country for the insemination was a difficult experience.

"It does seem ludicrous that one has to travel so far to have a child when the law is framed in a way that should allow it to happen here," she said.

It is clear that the changing of the law has diminished the number of men who are prepared to volunteer to be donors her.

The casual donor - the student who did it for his beer money in the 1970s and 80s, doesn't exist any more," she said.

But that casual donor does still exist in Denmark.

Jonas, a 24-year-old science student, has been a sperm donor for 18 months.

He does it for the money and to get a health check a couple of times a year.

Would he carry on donating sperm if he could no longer be anonymous?

"Probably not, because I don't want anything to do with the children that grow up and want to find their father," he said.

He receives between 300 and 1000 Danish kroner ($60-$200) for each donation, depending on the quality of the sperm.

Meanwhile, the Cryos sperm bank is thriving.

In 2007 it opened a franchise in the US.

Last year, another franchise followed in India.

"Because of the recession, we are actually seeing a rise in the number of sperm donors coming to us right now," said Cryos CEO Ole Schou.

In Britain, HFEA has recently said that a longstanding ban on paying sperm donors should be reconsidered to address the donor shortage.

But until the law changes, British women will have to keep travelling to places like Denmark for help in conceiving a baby.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/12/23 12:35:28 GMT


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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from Global IVF

Wishing you and yous a very happy holiday season!
~From all of us at Global IVF~

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

IVF TOURISM: 10 HOT TIPS By Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos~ Part Two~

For those whose passport is part of their fertility treatment package here are the next 5 tips to keep in mind:

6. Determine the timeline for your procedure but be prepared to extend your stay. If you are able to get time off from work you can turn it into a little vacation, but unlike a vacation medical complications can arise (i.e., hyperstimulation with an egg retrieval, slow response times to meds, etc.). No matter what, rely on your doctor’s recommendation regarding how long you need to stay in the destination country before traveling again. Try to get as much information as possible before you start your journey, but it is also beneficial to find out beforehand if there is any necessary follow-up you will be doing abroad and once you get home.

7. In many ways IVF travel is no different than a typical trip abroad. Like all international travel you should make sure your reservations are in order, see if you need any vaccinations before leaving, check that your passport is valid, and determine if any travel visas are required and apply for them well in advance. It also helps to find out if there are any significant cultural differences, what the exchange rate is, what will the weather be like while you are there and how will you get from your hotel to the clinic.

8. It’s helpful to get some currency for the country you are traveling to before you leave for your destination. Check with your bank well in advance since it may take a couple of weeks for them to acquire the correct currency for you. You can also exchange some money when you arrive at the destination airport. You will probably need to do this to pay for the taxi to your hotel. You can also get travelers checks at your local bank and use your ATM card all over the world. For US travelers - be aware that some countries limit you to a 4-digit ATM password, so you may need to change it before you leave the US. MasterCard, Visa and American Express can be used in many locations worldwide. Let your credit card companies know before you leave that you will be traveling so when they see foreign charges they don’t block the use of your card.

9. Make copies of all pertinent documents including 2 copies of your passport - one should be kept at home in a safe place, the other with you and not kept with your passport; copies of your credit card info and traveler check numbers. Good places to keep this information are either in your luggage or with your travel companion.

10. Take a list of all your important contacts so if necessary you and/or your medical provider in your destination country can contact your doctors at home. These numbers should include insurance providers (even if your insurance doesn’t cover your procedure complications can arise that might be covered), friends, family members, your local pharmacy, employers and any other important numbers for your destination country or at home.

Well, there you have it. As you can see, you need to do a bit of homework to make it all happen, but this list should get you well on your way to asking the right questions, being adequately prepared, and hopefully having a baby (or two!) in your arms in the not too distant future.

Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos experienced 4 years of infertility before having her children through gestational surrogacy and egg donation. She is co-owner, along with Lauri de Brito, of Agency for Surrogacy Solutions, Inc. and Agency for Fertility Solutions where her services have expanded to include assisting people with fertility travel in the US and abroad. You can contact Kathryn at:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

IVF TOURISM: 10 HOT TIPS By Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos~Part One

For many people, having a family doesn’t involve a trip farther than the bedroom...but for others greater distances may be traversed, some that involve a passport. So before you set foot outside of your house, let alone your home country, you first need to do a little homework. With so many options and countries now offering fertility-related services (IVF, PGD, egg donation, surrogacy) at lower costs and some having fewer restrictions, you’ll want to make sure to avoid as many bumps in the road as you can before the plane leaves the gate. So, for those whose passport is part of their fertility treatment package here are 10 tips to keep in mind:

1. Determine if you are going to use a medical travel company, your international fertility clinic or if you are personally going to oversee the administration and travel arrangements for your journey. Using an intermediary company can often be beneficial since they know the area and can direct you to accommodations that fit your travel and medical needs, the staff can bridge a language barrier if there is one and they can trouble shoot problems if they arise. If you’re lucky you may even fit in some sightseeing along with your procedure(s) and these companies can often assist with that too. The downside is that they often are affiliated with certain doctors and clinics and may not be directing you to the place or person that best suits your needs.

2. Check out the background of the doctor, clinic and or hospital you will be using. If available, check out the published success rates for your particular treatment (IVF, egg donation, etc.) and age group. If possible look further than those reported on the clinic’s website. In the US the Center for Disease Control (CDC) publishes these reports annually. It’s important to fully check out the standards, practices, and success rates of any clinic you are considering (an useful practice wherever the clinic is located). Make sure the hospital/clinic outside of the US is accredited with the Joint Commission International or MEDEX and that your doctor has the appropriate credentials for their specialty. While medical standards are high in many countries, regulations can vary, including the rules for screening egg donors, leaving it to patients to do due diligence.

3. Identify your main contact at the clinic is (it could be a nurse, third party coordinator, assistant, etc.) and keep their email and phone number with you at all times when traveling. Ask who your contact person will be after hours – in case you have problems or issues before and during your travels when the clinic is closed. Some doctors will even give you their cell phone number. Don’t abuse it or they may stop answering your calls, but if you have an emergency and can’t reach anyone that would be the time to use it.

4. You should get one or two personal referrals from the doctor or clinic. Remember, the referrals from the clinic should give glowing recommendations (presumably the clinic will give you someone with a success story), but also find out if there is anything they might have changed – whether it’s how long they stayed, the anticipated cost vs. the actual cost, what travel services they used and what their accommodations were like. You may also want to find out how fluent the RE and the staff is in your native or secondary language. Also, try and find any other information about the doctor that you can on the Internet. Remember, you may need to take some of the comments with a grain of salt when researching this way. Not everyone is successful or a satisfied customer no matter what clinic or RE they are with.

5. Check all of your prescriptions for necessary refills. Many travelers don’t start medications until they arrive at their destination, but some procedures will require you to start before you leave. Bring along a list of your medications and their generic names since the names may vary in other countries. It is a good idea to discuss your travel plans with your local at-home fertility doctor -- if s/he is receptive to you traveling abroad you may receive valuable suggestions and assistance. If traveling with fertility-related medications and needles ask your local doctor to write a note in case you are questioned about them.
Next week 5 more great tips will be revealed! Have you subscribed to the Global IVF blog yet? Once you do you will be notified when a new post has been published!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Global IVF Pod Cast: Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos Talks About Global IVF and International Couples

Please listen to this pod cast with Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos as she talks about Global IVF and International Couples which is posted on the Gifted Journeys web site at If you scroll down to the bottom you will find our pod cast there!

Your comments are always welcomed!