Perhaps as many as 1 out of 6 couples faces some sort of fertility issue when trying to conceive a baby. To answer this need, science offers a smidgen of hope: the ability to harvest eggs, inseminate them, and plant the fertilized embryos in utero, giving conception a greater chance. Is it a perfect system? No it is not. The odds are likely still against you. But the numbers aren’t the only barrier to babies – so, too, is the cost. One fertility clinic therefore offers the chance to “win a baby” – really, just one course of in vitro fertilization. But this contest attracts many desperate people who make emotional appeals.
This is a really interesting documentary, and a heartbreaking one too. It addresses issues ranging from:
a) Is it even ethical to “give away” a baby as promotional material?
b) Is it exploitative to force fertility-challenged people to compete against one another?
c) What happens to all the “losers”?
d) Why are people willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to conceive, but unwilling to adopt?
e) Why do some countries consider infertility to be a legitimate medical condition deserving of coverage and treatment while the U.S. leaves infertile men and women high and dry?
e) After bankrupting themselves financially and emotionally, what happens to a couple who still doesn’t have a baby?
f) What happens when your heart tells you to pursue baby-making by any means possible, but your religion expressly forbids it?
Director Amanda Micheli has fertility problems of her own, and used the baby contest as a provocative conversation starter in this documentary, a film that takes a look behind the curtain at the subject that is so rarely talked about. It’s a well-made film that is interesting and worth of your time. Kudos to all the people who shared their journey and their private pain; fertility and infertility are little understood, so shining a light on this issue is an important step in humanizing a subject that really hits us at the core of our personhood. We take our fertility for granted and losing control over something our bodies are supposed to do naturally seems to be a demoralizing process. The film is full of heartbreak. But there are little rays of hope too, and Micheli does a good job of balancing the rain and the sunshine.