Thursday, April 10, 2014

More international surrogacy horror, Australians take note.


Last night I received the latest newsletter from Surrogacy Australia - this is www.surrogacyaustralia.org - the voluntary organisation that represents the surrogacy community in Australia, be it international commercial surrogacy, or altruistic surrogacy in Australia. Don't confuse Surrogacy Australia, the voluntary organisation, with

Surrogacy Australia -  www.surrogacyaustralia.com.au - an agency operated by an Australian - Matthew Sielicki - who had his kids through surrogacy in India. Mr Sielicki happened to grab onto the name Surrogacy Australia, and register the URL www.surrogacyaustralia.com.au as his business name.

Confused?

Bring in www.surrogacyaustralia.com -  this URL has been owned and operated by a US company Extraordinary Conceptions, for many years, well before the days of Surrogacy Australia, the organisation, or Surrogacy Australia, the agent who has apparently ripped people off.  I think the voluntary organisation, Surrogacyaustralia.org could have checked this first, before making the post below.

Anyway, here it is - including a horrendous story from *Dean* ... his is not the only story out there. Shocking and disgusting and I note, no name of his agent. WHY ARE THESE DODGY AGENTS NOT BEING EXPOSED????

Following on from the dodginess of the Surrogacy Australia name ... you will find a story about some Australian  dude called Cohen Tobias who set up a facebook page for people doing surrogacy in Thailand. He is an IP who had his babe through surrogacy in Thailand, and that is just wonderful. What is not so wonderful is that he then set up his facebook page and then apparently took a referral fee from anyone who was on the page as a member, from a doctor in Bangkok.

This has caused a lot of trouble in Australia with IPs super-pissed off, thinking they were getting free IP support help. What I don't understand is why IPs were -

1. So shocked this happened, this shit goes on all the time ... and ...

2. Why they give a crap if they paid the same amount to the clinic he promoted ( Dr Pisit at ALL IVF) and he got a kick back from the clinic???  How exactly was the client disadvantaged financially? If the referral fee was added to a clinic package then yes, and this was not told to the client, then yes, complain complain complain. If this guy got $1000 from the clinic for referring people, and it did not cost the Ip anything, then what is the problem? To get a financial benefit for running a facebook page is pretty shitty, it's not something I would personally do, but this guy clearly thinks his doctor is amazing, which he is, as I work with the same doctor ...

So now Surrogacy Australia is going to do something about this, this is not news, people have been talking about this for ages, but SA - YOUR organisation that represents YOU as a client of surrogacy, now, after the horse has bolted and the gate has been shut, is taking this on.

 Bravo!

Welcome to our April newsletter. In the lead up to our May conference, there has been much occuring behind the scenes in domestic and international surrogacy. We have provided some of the most important developments below as well as an updated conference brochure.
News
Surrogacy Facilitators  - In For the Long-haul?
The recent collapse of US-based medical tourism company Planet Hospital which left many IPs hugely out-of-pocket has not been the only warning sign regarding surrogacy facilitation companies. Parent through surrogacy Cohen Tobias  has recently declared the $1,000 fees he receives for ‘referring’ Australian clients to a certain Thai clinic. Some intended parents have cried foul, given they claimed he simply chatted to them on Facebook a few times and gave no indication of his arrangement with the clinic in question

More concerning, Surrogacy Australia was recently contacted by ‘Dean’, a heterosexual IP from Townsville holed up in Adelaide. He had contacted what he thought was our organisation - Surrogacy Australia – for assistance after reading some positive news reports and mistakenly signed up with facilitation agencywww.surrogacyaustralia.com run by Melbourne dad through Indian surrogacy Matthew Sielicki.
Dean paid this agent $8,000 to facilitate the entire process in India.  To circumvent the ban on Queenslanders engaging overseas, Dean had been told by his facilitator he must leave Queensland. So Dean spent large sums setting up a temporary life in Adelaide – spending $320/week on rent, not to mention an internet connection and living expenses, while continuing to pay off his Queensland mortgage. Matthew Sielicki then referred Dean on to a second  surrogacy facilitator Gaurav Wankhede - in Mumbai (owner of Become Parents), well known to many Australians. Large advance payments were also made by Dean  to Gaurav’s agency.
Dean used up all his accumulated annual leave to take a year off work to allow the Adelaide move. Meanwhile his wife returned to Townsville. So tight were his finances, Dean sat out Adelaide’s extreme summer heat and winter cold without turning on the air-conditioning to save on power bills.
The introduction of India’s surrogacy visas in 2013 led to delays, then the white South African egg donor Dean and his wife selected turned out to be unviable. A second one was chosen and she eventually flew to India, but on arrival, it was clear to their IVF physician that she had been inadequately screened -  there were no follicles and no eggs to harvest. Dean and his wife would have to choose a third donor – at least this time the donor agency offered to pay for the stuff-up.

By the time Dean contacted us he had been nine months in Adelaide and seemed no closer to an embryo transfer in India. Moreover he could no longer contact his Australian case worker. Dean was worried not only about re-claiming the funds but when he could go home to Queensland.

 It turns out the surrogacyaustralia.com URL had been sold to US-based Extraordinary Conceptions and its URL redirected to this site.

After our enquiries, Gaurav Wankhede from Become Parents wrote to us explaining that he was ‘trying to fulfill the role that SurrogacyAustralia.com.au would have otherwise played. I have assigned an extra person who is specifically looking after these ‘ongoing cases’.
However Dean’s calls and emails have gone unanswered, only half of his pre-paid services have been delivered and he is sceptical about how an India-based facilitator can assist him with Australian immigration requirements.

In a world where many never meet the facilitator they have engaged with, there has been a call from Australian IPS for more clarity around the difference between referrers, facilitators and agents.
As a result, Surrogacy Australia is hosting a special session at this year’s May conference to explain the hidden referral fees you never see, the differences between advisers, referrers and facilitators and what you should expect from a surrogacy facilitator.
TIPS FOR INTENDED PARENTS ENGAGING ONLINE
a)      Some surrogacy agencies purposely mimic the names and URLs of well-established brands. Double check the URL. Only engage with agencies where you have recommendations about specific individuals rather than company names
b)      Does the business publish a postal and or business address? If not this should be a red flag.
c)      Does the business publish a landline number to contact them? If not this should be a red flag.
d)      Are you being asked for very large upfront payments?
e)      Find out where are the staff based
f)       Find out how many parents have they successfully assisted
g)      Find out which IVF doctors and hospitals do they work with and why

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

And why is Surrogacy Australia in such a huff? Sam and his crew accept referrals to clinics they refer to all the time, even clinics that they've never set foot on in person. Isn't that as questionable as what others do? Who are we to judge and call into question the business dealings of other facilitators. I'm confused why Sam thinks his organisation has the moral high ground in this debate. How does he justify that? He condemns Planet Hospital but recently had Catherine Moscarello (ex-PH employee) speak at the San Fran conference. Also Marisol XXXX who is ex-PH and has setup her own surrogacy agency that is charging upwards of 60K+ for a surrogacy package and making clients think it's only 39K. He also gives an audience to Nayna Patel of India who recruits Japanese clients on her website and tells them to get tourist visas instead of medical visas to come to India for surrogacy. The agency Baby For All is endorsed by Patel and she assures Japanese clients (who don't qualify for medical visas) that she can get the babies out. How is that possible? Who the heck is Patel paying-off and why does SA not ask her about this. Isn't that illegal and unethical, and yet Mr. Everingham gives Patel legitimacy just because she pays his fees. Oh and the great holy Dr Shivani. How long will Surrogacy Australia be pimping for this unethical operation - where the community is aware of at least a half-dozen DNA mismatches amongst other ethics lapses and it is alleged that the US Embassy has put her clinic on a watch list. So yes Surrogacy Australia, before you start attacking others maybe you should clean up your own house and take a deep look at your own ethics and the crooks you associate with simply because they can pay your fees.

Amani (Meg) said...


I will always draw attention to deception and blatant rip-offs because I have been involved with and contacted by way too many people who have been financially hurt. Many of these people I assist in whatever way I can, I have quite a few cases I take no payment for. So exactly what are you doing to help others who are at the ends of their financial capacity and are emotionally bankrupt?

Pretend its all sweetness and light. It often is, but sometimes it's not. Your lack of respect for me - I simply don't give a toss, I am happy with my clients, my family, my achievements and my life. You are simply an anonymous irrelevance needing to attack. Take a look at your motives for writing to me, why do you need to let me know what you think of me? Do something else! Meditate, volunteer, go and babysit someone's kjds or take an elderly person's dog for a walk. There are much better ways to spend your time than being an internet troll. Cheers

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out, that my partner and I went through our surrogacy process with surrogacy australia. comm.au in early 2013 and are now very proud father's of twin girls born in September of 2013. I for one have never felt cheated by any one at surrogacy Australia and our case manager had delt the whole process professionally. We were guided through each phase of the process to the contact details of the donor agency in the Ukraine, when to go for the DNA test , when to apply for a visa, and also put us in contact with Gaurav Wankhede of Become Parents who we met personally when we arrived in India the first time to do the donation.
Our case manager at surrogacy Australia organized all the flights and accommodation for both visits to India. Yes I am sure there are going to be a few horror stories, and yes we have heard of a few , but with every horror story I am sure there are happy and satisfied stories. I am saddened to hear that surrogacy australia has closed up and left Dean and his wife's dreams unsuccessful but be strong and try again , I know it is easy for me to say cause we have our girls but I have friends who had 4 failed attempts and were successful on the fifth attempt and are know proud dads of twin boy and girl .

From Two proud dads Melbourne. ?

gauravw said...

Dear Meg and Bob, my name is Gaurav and I am the director at Becomeparents.com. The IP that you have referred to is being looked after well. We charge payments in two stages and what Dean has paid me is exactly when we would have charged a IP who would have come to us directly.

Let me also assure you that on 4 occasions we prepared surrogates for them and on all 4 occasions, we had to abort the process due to issues with their donors. We had discussed the option of using Indian Egg Donors and I can also let you know that none of his emails have gone unanswered. The last of his email was replied to roughly in the beginning of August. We are just waiting for the South African Egg Donor to arrive and we will complete the cycles as per our contracts.

Please may I request you to alter the words you have used in this article that shows me and my agency in poor light. I can also ask you to contact this 'anonymous" IP and check with him what his experience was like with us.

Should you need any further clarifications, please do get back to me on becomeparents@yahoo.com

Cheers,
Gaurav

Mobile + 91 99 639 68 750 ( also on whatsapp)
Mobile + 66 87 000 5685/ + 66 6000 35256 ( International Roaming)
Skype: monagaurav1
email: becomeparents@yahoo.com