Tuesday, July 6, 2010

For everyone utilizing third party reproduction....

OK so really for anyone doing A.R.T.--has anyone seen the HBO documentary "Google Baby"?

The mister and I watched it last night.

We were both left with our heads spinning.

It primarily followed a partnered businessman who utilized an egg donor and a gestational surrogate in the U.S. to have a daughter, to the tune of 140K. He started thinking there has to be a cheaper way...and because in his business much work has been outsourced to India he wondered about outsourcing surrogacy. He found it is much, much cheaper to do surrogacy there (I think $5,200 or somewhere thereabouts, which is enough money to life the surrogate out of poverty) and so he started a business coordinating this effort.

At any rate, the show profiles an egg donor in the U.S., an Indian surrogacy/IVF clinic where surrogates live the entire pregnancy at the clinic, and this businessman trying to coordinate the whole thing (because most of his clients want Caucasian egg donors he coordinates that in the U.S. and then ships embryos to India). In one phone call you hear him take the request for help from a single 57 year old woman who needs egg, sperm, and surrogate and she states she has "plenty of money to raise multiple children."

I don't even think I have wrapped my brain around everything I saw on there yet so I'm not going to say anything else, I'm just wondering if anyone else has seen it....and their thoughts?

Wow.

Just wow.

19 comments:

  1. I didn't see the HBO special, but I did see this article back in the Spring:

    http://www.conceiveonline.com/assisted-reproduction-infertility-ivf/planes-trains-fertility-clinics/?Itemid=0

    Based on this article alone, my DH jokingly asked if I wanted to go to India. Now, was he really joking? I don't know!

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  2. I did see it last night as well. It made me think that there has to be a way monitor these agencies better. Both the man coordinating and the woman running the agency in India seemed to be driven by money and did not take into account the impact of this on human life. It makes me fearful that this will ruin practices like egg donor and suragacy, which when done correctly, are amazing options for some families.

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  3. The egg donor agency I used takes Caucasian donors over to india to donate for surrogacy. Its hectic, not sure how I feel about it...

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  4. I read about this a few years ago in the paper. Maybe it was on television too. In India, that is a lot of money, so they have many people who are willing to do it. People give up their kidneys too. Yes, it is much cheaper. I've also wondered about those people who accept donor embryos and what kind of fees that involves since the people donating aren't getting anything out of it.

    T

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  5. I watched part of it, but I had to stop. Mostly it made me very very upset. It made me scared that this movie will mobilize people to end IVF, end donor eggs/sperm, and end surrogacy. Yes, it made the whole process seem very unsympathetic, business like, cold, and exploitive.

    I wanted them to show the other side...everyday normal couples, desperate to have a family. I think people like you and me are incredibly misunderstood by society. We are not rich people trying to buy designer babies. I wish someone would tell our story.

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  6. I have not seen it... and am not sure I want to! Wow. I agree with Megan--there should be a featured show on regular people, struggling to add to their family. The fact that producers sensationalize this type of thing just adds to the misunderstanding by society.

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  7. Ugh! Just watched it with T a couple weeks ago. We were both practically vomiting by the end. Beyond pissed off.

    The director clearly went for the sensationalism angle. White trash, gun-lovin' low IQ egg donor? Check! Gay father who doesn't have the time to care for his designer daughter because he's too busy thinking up money-grubbing schemes? Check! Exploited Indian women treated less humanely than cattle while giving birth for their rich white clients? Check!

    I could go on and on.

    In summary: I HATED this movie.

    =)

    We need to band together and make our OWN movie, is what I think. When do we get started?

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  8. I did not hear about this...I'll have to get Tivo on that. Sounds....interesting.

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  9. i watched it when i was on bedrest after this last cycle. i wanted to write about it but didn't really know what to say...

    i enjoyed seeing the more in-depth side of IVF for my own knowledge, things i don;t usually get to see because im drugged or not allowed in the lab (though i keep asking). i was a little weirded out by the whole presentation of the doc. at first it started out with that whole statement about how all you need is a credit card to buy a baby and then it went into how incredibly and delicately in depth it was to actually create the child. i felt so bad for that poor woman when they were beating on her belly to get that baby out.

    i didn't like how the egg donor was portrayed and i didn't like how the guy was laughing about 'selective abortion' and i just think there are too many hands in this pot, all at the expense of the indian women.

    for some (on both sides), though, im sure this surrogacy program was a godsend. it just was portrayed so strangely.

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  10. I was warned about this movie. I don't have HBO, and I'm not sure I want to watch it?

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  11. Haven't seen it but I'll keep a watch out for it...

    I was recently contacted by a local Canadian documentary show to discuss our story of DE. I declined the interview but I kept the producers name and number and will contact her when we're done with this crap to set the story straight. I feel like we're a normal average couple just wanting a baby...not the extreme type couples that the series you mention. But I just hope I won't be in my 50s still struggling?!!

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  12. Why don't you rent a womb? I'm just asking.

    Sounds like a terrible documentary.

    "can't buy me love?" uh yeah

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  13. Wow. That documentary sounds crazy! I'm not sure I want to see it either...

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  14. how is this any different from IVF? consent is consent, right?
    curious to hear your thoughts on it.

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  15. I haven't seen the movie and wouldn't want to based on your critique and some of the other comments, because it would just tick me off.

    But I was curious to see that you noted embryos were being shipped off to India, because I did look into Indian surrogacy a year or so ago, and the information I found online and in e-mailing with one agency was that India won't allow embryos to be shipped over - they have to be created there. And because we already had our CGH-tested embryos and aren't really planning to do any more retrievals, we opted not to pursue it.

    Another side note - I saw an article a couple of weeks ago while researching surrogacy in the U.S. that said Indian surrogacy is becoming more risky because there aren't a lot of laws established around it. I believe the article included a story about a couple from the UK who used embryos created from donor egg/donor sperm and then the surrogate kept the baby and the Indian court wouldn't side with the intended UK parents because the baby wasn't genetically theirs. (This was a different story that the Michigan couple that had basically the same thing happen.)

    So out of all the options that keep running through my crazy, IVF-addled brain, Indian surrogacy is probably the only thing not on that list! :-)

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  16. I didn't watch it but I know the premise. There is something about it that's so reminiscent of Michael Crichton's "Coma." At some point, human life will be created by a person/couple walking up to an ATM, punching in characteristics, swiping credit card and ten months later a baby will show up in the U.S., right onto their doorstep - with papers.

    Now, how far is that process from my donor embryo? How far is that from using a sperm donor? How far is that process, even from IVF itself? I don't know - that's pretty subjective. I guess the slippery slope starts the minute any of us decide to pursue a child beyond the most natural means. The moment conception is done under a microscope, in a lab, intentionally selecting the best genetic material to transfer...well...that could be the start of something dangerous.

    Then again, I watched some ridiculous show on MTV last night about pregnant teens and watched a 16 year old face-pierced girl birth a child whose derelict teenage father wanted nothing to do with as the girl cried because he was dumping her. Normal teenage heartbreak, text messaging and immature antics with a baby very much in need of stability.

    As much as I'm queasy over a nearly 60 year old single woman birthing a child to raise, I'm not feeling any better about the teenage situation - natural as it was.

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  17. I haven't seen it, but just reading your post has my head spinning, too.

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  18. I am so glad I didn't see it. It would definately intrigued me enough to watch it, but then it would have made me sick, too. I agree with other posters here that someone somewhere needs to expose the quieter voice that is not sensationalized, us IF-ers that are faced with choices and decisions we never thought we'd have to make in the quest to become a family.

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  19. I tried to search for it on DVR but couldn't find it. It's an interesting concept. I guess being Indian and having traveled there so much, the story holds different meaning for me.

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