After three years of trying to conceive our first child (with efforts that included three rounds of Clomid with IUI, plus one un-medicated IUI) with some of the top infertility specialists in California, my husband and I were feeling sad, discouraged and borderline broke (our insurance didn't cover any infertility treatment), with still no baby in sight. We realized that IVF was the appropriate next step for us, but were daunted by the incredibly high costs in the US (our fertility center's rates start at $15K per cycle and can go up to $25K when taking on ICSI and other add-ons, but they couldn't tell you exactly how much it would cost until you were already committed to a cycle). We knew that giving up on our dream of having a family was not an option, but that paying upwards of $20K for only one cycle with a 20-30% chances of success wasn't an option either.
And then we found Dr. Malpani. I'm still not exactly sure how I came across his name during one of my many late-night Google searches. But as soon as I found his website and started reading, everything started to click. There it was, in plain English, everything we'd wanted to know and hear on one page: exhaustive educational materials, comprehensive FAQs, and the exact rate of what one IVF cycle would cost at his Mumbai office. Best of all, Dr. Malpani had incredible success rates. Here was the transparency, affordability and competence we'd been searching for. It just happened to be in India. Within three months, we were en route to Mumbai.
Our experience at Dr. Malpani's office during our weeks of treatment in his Mumbai office was always professional, caring and personalized. From our first consultation and exam when a treatment protocol was prescribed through to the transfer of the embryos, I always felt that I was receiving top-notch care based on his extensive experience in the field. When my initial drug treatment wasn't creating as many eggs as we'd hoped for, Dr. Malpani quickly re-assessed the situation and upped my dosages (all the while keeping me closely monitored).
In spite of the fact that an initial baseline fertility test I took in their office suggested I may only produce 5-7 viable follicles, on the day of my retrieval they were able to get 13 eggs ! Of these 13, 8 were fertilized and on their way to becoming embryos. On the third day after my retrieval, 3 Grade A embryos were transferred, while 2 more embryos made it to blastocyst stage (we're freezing them in Mumbai for next time!).
After three days of bed rest in our Mumbai hotel, I was cleared to travel and we spent the next 10 days exploring Kerala and Tamil Nadu (Dr. Malpani is very relaxed about letting you get on with your life post-transfer and always put my mind at ease about riding in bumpy Mumbai taxis and Kerala tuk-tuks and drinking the occasional glass of wine or second cup of tea).
Two weeks after the transfer, we were back home in California and I discovered I was pregnant! It freaking worked! At first we couldn't believe it (three years of negative pregnancy tests can really test a girl's faith...). Subsequent blood tests confirmed that my pregnancy was progressing (with only one baby). Per normal IVF protocol, Dr. Malpani prescribed me Estradiol and Progresterone supplements to support the first 9 weeks of my pregnancy.
And now, here I am, nearly 36 weeks pregnant, with a lovely nursery ready to receive our little boy or girl in a few weeks' time. There are times when I just stop in the middle of my day amazed about the wonderful journey that brought us to parenthood: the years of disappointment in trying to conceive and the leap of faith that took us to India and Dr. Malpani. All the depression and sadness my husband and I felt before is now replaced with incredible excitement and anticipation for the little life we created thousands of miles away. A true modern miracle (and a great story to tell!).
I cannot express my gratitude to Dr. Malpani, his wife, Dr. Anjali Malpani, and his entire staff for guiding us through this entire process with grace, knowledge and that certain Indian frankness that always grounded our fantasies in reality, while remaining optimistic and hopeful.
If you are considering IVF in India with Dr. Malpani, please don't hesitate to contact me for more information (on everything from the medical stuff, to where to stay in Mumbai, to where to sight see in the days between appointments.
Katie and Andrew Curry
Katie Curry [firstname.lastname@example.org]