Today was filled with phone calls and emails with the US Consulate in Mumbai, the DNA processing lab in Arizona, and the Hiranandani Hospital in Powai. It started with a 7:00 AM EST email from Rotunda Clinic letting me know that our surrogate had just been admitted to the hospital due to a blood pressure concern. As she is at 30 weeks 4 days, any little concern needs to be thoroughly examined by a physician. I called the hospital directly and was able to speak with Dr. Anita Soni, the OBGYN who will ultimately oversee the birth of the twins. She reassured me that our surrogate is doing well and that she was admitted for observation and to provide nutrition and support. We aren’t sure how long before she will be released, but I assume that it will not be longer than a day or two. Our 100,000 INR deposit at Hiranandani was received months ago in anticipation of any complications, so treatment will be deducted from that balance. Of course, I have no idea how much any of this will cost.
Next, I reached out to the US Consulate to obtain information on the process for DNA verification of my genetic link to the babies. Thankfully, the process has recently been streamlined (as of March 28, 2013) and we no longer have to scramble across the city to make a payment to the hospital for a doctor to perform the cheek swabs. They can be paid with a direct bank draft available at any bank in the city. The fee will be 1000 INR (about $20 USD) per cheek swab. If any other potential parents need the specific details on the DNA process, please let me know via email or a comment.
The DNA testing kits have to be sent about a month in advance of the birth to account for travel time and potential early labor. I will be completing my cheek swab here in New York on Friday, and the two sealed testing kits will be shipped directly from Chromosomal Labs in Phoenix, Arizona. Melissa at Chromosomal Labs has been absolutely fantastic and I highly recommend her as your DNA lab provider. The lab must be an AABB accredited center and they should be familiar with the required paperwork and processes when you call for a quote.
Once the babies are born and released from the NICU, we will schedule an appointment at the US Consulate to complete an application for a CBRA (Consular Report of Birth Abroad). This document will be used to process the passport application for the newborns after the DNA test confirms their citizenship through my genetic link. The cheeks will be swabbed, the kits will be mailed back to Arizona, and the results will be available 2-3 days after they are received. The results will be emailed to the consulate, and HOPEFULLY, I will match! Once a link is established, the passports are issued and the last step is the exit visa.
I have spent hours putting together a plastic binder full of documents that I may potentially need to complete the applications for CBRA, passport, social security card, and exit visas. While photocopies are pretty easy to obtain in Mumbai, I’ve made multiple copies of everything. This includes documents to prove my time in the US, including tax returns, college transcripts, utility bills, old passports, and a list of every date and time that I have ever left the US. While it seems overwhelming at first, the process is actually keeping me focused on my checklist and allowing me to briefly stop stressing about all of the uncertainties ahead.
I can’t believe that I will be a daddy in about 5-6 weeks. I’m already so in love with our babies.