Tbilisi, Georgia is a popular destination for couples seeking to have children via a surrogate mother. There are numerous IVF clinics offering everything from egg donation, sperm donation, PGS, PGD etc., all in an effort to attract more Intended Parents for surrogacy.
For those travelling to Tbilisi for IVF related treatments, we have a few hints and suggestions.
1. Getting into the city from the airport. You can hire a taxi at the airport. Hire a private taxi before-hand and him waiting for you when you arrive, order a taxi online or rent a car. The cost will be about $20 – $25 USD. Arranging it ahead of time helps to prevent you from being taken advantage of by anyone at the airport. We can recommend a local Tbilisi guy by the name of Zviad Bugianishvili. Zviad owns and operates his own little taxi company catering specifically to tourists. He lived in the USA for a while during his youth, so his English is very good and he is culturally sensitive. We have always found him to be honest and upfront – doesn’t over-charge for rides. He can arrange for both airport pick-ups and drop-offs and tourist related activities. Zviad: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at +995-557-715-445.
2. Hotels. There are many good hotels to choose from – from the cheap to the more expensive. It is always good to stay near Freedom Square, in the main area of the city. There are numerous hotels here, including international brands such as Marriott and Citadines. There are also a wide variety of good restaurants and bars nearby – a very beautiful part of the city, especially at night.
We normally stay at the Citadines City Centre Tbilisi. It is not the best nor worst hotel in the city. It is reasonably priced and offers good service and decent rooms for the price. It is located right in front of Freedom Square, just beside the Marriott hotel. The Citadines is not visible from the main road, it is sort of hidden behind another main building, so you need to drive/walk through a small gated tunnel to get to the hotel. We normally arrive in the morning, before noon, when doing deliveries to Tbilisi, and this hotel always allows us to check-in early – depending upon availability of course, but we have always been lucky, they also allow for late check-out. Very accommodating without charging extra. The breakfast is not great, but not bad. Basic continental style breakfast, but enough to hold you over until lunch. The hotel is about a 10 minute ride away from the Georgian-American Center for Reproductive Medicine – one of the main clinics serving surrogacy patients.
3. Internet access. You can use your own home service provider, but do be careful about roaming charges. You can also buy a SIM card at the airport. Most hotels, if not all, have free WiFi access. The airport does and so does part of the city – free WiFi. This free city-wide WiFi service doesn’t always work, so don’t solely rely on it if you absolutely need internet access. Perhaps the best thing to do if you will stay for more than a few days is to get a local SIM card.
4. The airport. the Tbilisi airport is small, but has all basic services – SIM cards, cash machines, car rentals, souvenirs, taxis etc. Immigration officers are generally very nice and efficient, same with Customs officers. Both arrivals and departures are generally painless and quick – as it is a smaller airport, there are no long lines or waiting times.
Overall, Tbilisi is a good city to visit either for surrogacy related matters or as a tourist. Sometimes clients express some reservations about going to Tbilisi, but it is really a city that offers you everything you will need for a comfortable stay.