12 February 2009

Blog's Purpose, Structure & How to Use

Notice: All content here, and new additions can be found on a forum of the same name: http://dr-patel-surrogacy.com.

First, I'd like to say that there are many wonderful websites and forums on the web about pregnancy, IVF, surrogacy, and even ones that cover surrogacy in other countries, like India. This blog though is quite specific in that it focuses strictly on surrogacy at Dr. Patel's Akanksha Clinic in Anand, India. If you have an interest in doing IVF and/or surrogacy with Dr. Patel, or are currently engaged with her and the wonderful staff at her clinic, then you might find this blog quite helpful. With the scope of this blog understood, I'd now like to share the motivation behind its inception.

If my mom had not made me aware of Dr. Patel (Oprah show) through an email in the Spring of 2008, we would not be pregnant today. And worse yet, we would not have hope; and that’s truly tragic. Similarly, when we were cycling in Anand with Dr. Patel, we met a couple from San Diego, California (USA) who had just witnessed the birth of their son. The father had explained to me that he learned of Dr. Patel while putting some newspapers in the recycle bin and noticed an article on surrogacy, referencing her name. He said it was a magical moment. Shortly thereafter, he contacted Dr. Patel through email, and about year later, the couple found themselves in India, holding their baby.

Call it a miracle or a whim, this is a wonderful story, but one is left to ponder how many folks were not so fortunate to stumble across such information, or have a proactive family member or friend share the possibility with them. Knowledge is indeed power; and the intent of this blog is to empower us all, not just a few, with this life-altering information.

Having been a part of so many conversations over email, phone and in-person, there is a wealth of knowledge that we all possess. I want this blog to serve as repository to help us and those who follow. Understanding the structure of the blog is important in order to get the most out of it.

Data will be captured through one of two approaches: topic-centric posts and stage-centric ones (where one is in the IVF / surrogacy process). There is bound to be some overlap in content provided, and that is fine.

Here are these more dynamic stage-centric posts that are not bound by a specific topic, but are focused on where one is in the process:

1: In India Discussion - Baby-making!
2 Awaiting Pregnancy & Birth Discussion
3: In India Discussion - Baby Pick-up!
4: Back Home with Baby/ies Discussion

If you are in any of the above stages, you should feel free to contribute with commentary and questions there. And of course, even if you are not in a particular stage, yet have relevant commentary to the discussion, this is for you as well. To the left, I've created the Blog Post List to display these at the top, in sequence (1-4), just under this intro post. The posts that follow will be on specific topics. The Blog Post List is for quick and easy navigation.

There will ultimately be quite a few topic-centric posts, but as of now (16 Feb 2009), here is what I’ve generated thus far:

Getting an Indian Visa
Why surrogacy and why Dr. Patel in India?
IVF Preparations
What was your route to Anand, India?
Being healthy in India - vaccinations, diet & hygiene
Have photos & video of Anand?

These topic-centric posts are to strictly adhere to the subject. Such organization should make it easy to locate relevant material. That said, there will be times when doing a search will be beneficial.

With respect to searching the contents of the blog, the “SEARCH BLOG” box atop the page will query the blog, but apparently only the posts, not the comments. I wasn't keen on that limitation. I found a way using something called Yahoo! Pipes to query the entirety of this blog - the original posts, and the comments that follow. If you wish to run such a comprehensive query, please go to the “Helpful Links” section at the bottom of this blog and click on the first link to run a search. Speaking of those links, please check them periodically for updates. And if you didn't already notice, there are some helpful widgets just above the links that reveal such things as the local time in Anand (India has just one time zone though), the weather and a handy currency converter. If you envision other ones that would be desirable, please comment here.

Lastly, for those who wish to participate in these discussions, it seems that there might be some confusion with respect to anonymity. For a multitude of reasons, many of us wish not to have our identity known. I'd like to make it abundantly clear that when communicating here, one is doing so through a self-created profile. There is no need to provide one's real name, true location, and if one so chooses, an email address need not be revealed either. More personally identifiable information is conveyed through the typical email exchange than what will be available here.

So, that said, join-up, gather your thoughts, and contribute to the knowledge base! Your participation is encouraged, and really needed for this venture to thrive. Thank you. Tony

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