Documentaries

Updated: May 31/15


DONOR CONCEPTION

Avallable from the Infertility Network Store (documentaries & pre-recorded seminars):

  • Documentaries (on DVD) by the Donor Conception Network:
    • A Different Story: 7 children & young people (aged 7-20), conceived through anonymous donor insemination (DI) by heterosexual couples
    • A Different Story Revisited: 12 children & young people (aged 9-26) conceived via sperm, egg, embryo & double (egg + sperm) donation by solo mums, lesbian & heterosexual couples
    • Telling & Talking: Parents & children (aged 5-18) in 10 families (2 single women, 1 lesbian couple, 7 heterosexual couples) who used anonymous or known egg donation, anonymous sperm, or double (egg & sperm) donation
       
  • Conferences (on DVD) sponsored by the Infertility Network
    • Building Families through Donor Conception: The Personal, Professional & Public Policy Issues
    • The Future of Donor Conception: Where Do We Go From Here?
    • Getting It Right: Putting Ethics at the Core of Gamete Donation Practice
    • The Offspring Speak
       
  • Seminars (on CD) sponsored by the Infertility Network
    • Choices & Challenges of Donor Insemination
    • Donor Insemination: Issues, Disclosure, Doctors
    • Donor Insemination: Disclosure
    • Egg & Sperm Donation
    • Egg, Sperm & Embryo Donation
    • An Identity-Release System
    • Patient Preparation for Donor Insemination

Available elsewhere:

  • By the Donor Conception Network (DCN):
  • By Barry Stevens, donor offspring:
    • Offspring (2002) Barry Stevens had only recently found out that he may have as many as 100 to 200 half brothers and sisters. Stevens and his mystery siblings were among the first artificially conceived humans – the offspring of an anonymous sperm donor who lived in England half a century ago. Now, Stevens is searching for the identity of the shadowy figure from whose loins they all sprang. His film – essentially a detective story set in the brave new world of reproductive technology – also questions the meaning of family and blood ties.
    • Bio-Dad (2009) A man born of artificial insemination searches for his biological father & also takes us into the controversial world of making babies through science instead of sex. Often forgotten in the rush to the future are the rights or needs of the children. Stevens documents the emerging political battle for the rights of those offspring to know their genetic origins - which has resulted in a ban on anonymity of donors in several countries and an angry backlash elsewhere. Available from Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

 

  • By the Center for for Bioethics & Culture
    • Anonymous Father's Day Thousands of donor-conceived people have a deep longing to know who they belong to, where they come from, and who they look like. What is it like to grow up not knowing who your father is or if you have any siblings? To find out that the man you thought was your dad is not your biological father? That your true biological father donated his sperm and is known only by a number? How does it impact your self-perception, the choices you make, and your view of life and the world? Donor-conceived people are demanding answers to these basic questions about their origins, their lives, and their identities. This film explores some of their stories. Reviews by:
    • Eggsploitation Documentary re the hidden dangers, health risks & exploitation of young women through egg donation by the fertility industry. Winner, Best Documentary, 2011 California Indpendent Film Festival. Review by the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Available as a DVD, e-book, or digital download (for rent or purchase).

 

  • By Alison Motluk, freelance journalist & broadcaster
    • Brave New Family (2008. CBC Radio) Sperm donation has proven to be a Pandora's Box. The vast majority of donor dads do not want to be found. In rare cases, some children are seeking and finding their donor &/or half-siblings. Motluk explores the complex portrait of the brave new family. Part 1 explores the search for biological family following Kathleen LaBounty, Houston, TX who is trying to track down her donor. We hear responses from men she has contacted, both former donors and non-donors, and follow her through a paternity test. She and others explain why there is this need to search. Wendy Kramer, founder of the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR), talks about the website and why so few donors have signed on. Laura Shanner, bioethicist, University of Alberta, addresses why the word "donor" is misleading. Part 2 explores the creation of new types of families as a result of donor insemination. Natalie Fokes, a single Vancouver woman, discusses how she chose her donor and why she longs to be a mother. We hear from a group of women who are spread out across the US but who all share the same donor; they tell us what a comfort it has been to connect with their children's half-siblings and their moms, and to know their children are not alone in the world. Danielle Pagano, New York, describes finding and bonding with several half-siblings and her donor dad. A former sperm donor, Kirk Maxey, talks about meeting two of his donor-conceived offspring and explains the complications to donors' families of doing so. Laura Shanner and others discuss anonymity.
    • From Here to Maternity (2009. CBC Radio) For decades men have donated sperm for baby-making. But in recent years egg donation has become a growing business and concern. Moms-in-waiting can purchase tourism packages to the Czech Republic or pay a university student in Boston for her eggs.
    • Wanted: Egg Donor in Good Health, (2012, CBC Radio) Every year in Canada, thousands of idealistic young women volunteer for a medical procedure that will stimulate their ovaries to produce eggs. Their eggs are then surgically harvested for use by infertile couples desperate for a baby. Although it is illegal in Canada to pay for human eggs, there is a thriving black market. Also, there are no regulations governing the care these young women receive during this procedure. Sometimes, things go terribly wrong. Freelance science journalist Alison Motluk follows the stories of several young women who became egg donors. Review by Linda Wijlaars, PhD student (Epidemiology & Public Health), University College London (Mar 5/12. BioNews 647)

 

  • Donor Unknown: Adventures in the Sperm Trade (2010) Linked by their connection to a single sperm donor – #150 - parents and children are creating and navigating a new set of relationships, discovering first hand what a close biological connection to a stranger means for themselves and their identity.  What happens next opens up some fascinating questions about nature and nurture, the responsibilities of parenthood, the moral integrity of the cryobanks, and the hazards of genetic inheritance. The parents - heterosexual, gay, single and in couples – were determined to have children against the odds, and happened to choose the same sperm donor. Now they’re living with the unpredictable consequences of their choice. What impact will meeting this stranger – Donor 150 - have on their children? What kinds of relationship can the children build with their biological father? How will letting Donor 150 into their lives affect their relationships as a family? And how will meeting his biological children change Jeffrey’s life?

 

  • Generation Cryo (2013. MTV)
    Explores the issues faced by a new generation of kids coming of age who were conceived via anonymous sperm donors and are redefining what it means to be a family. Documents the journey of 17-year-old Breeanna who recently logged onto the Donor Sibling Registry, a website dedicated to connecting sperm donor families, and learned that she has at least 15 half-siblings all fathered by the same anonymous donor, #1096. Armed with this newly obtained information, Bree sets out to meet all of her half-brothers and sisters and encourages them to help her find out more about their donor. Along the way, what starts off as a meeting of strangers becomes an intense and emotional bonding of family. Info: Canada, USA

 

 

 



SURROGACY
Made In India (posted May/10) A feature length documentary film about the human experiences behind the phenomena of "outsourcing" surrogate mothers to India. The film shows the journey of an infertile American couple (Lisa and Brian Switzer), an Indian surrogate and the reproductive outsourcing business that brings them together. Weaving together these personal stories within the context of a growing international industry, the film explores a complicated clash of families in crisis, reproductive technology, and choice from a global perspective. Review by Kathleen Sloan, Council for Responsible Genetics.

Baby Business (Mar/11. SBS Insight) Australia is rethinking its surrogacy laws. NSW has just joined QLD and the ACT in taking a hard line against paying for the services of a surrogate, now banning the practice even if you go overseas to do it. Those supporting the moves say they're concerned for the wellbeing of the women being paid to carry babies, especially those in developing countries. But some infertile couples don't see the harm in it and say they don’t want the state interfering in their personal lives. Join us on Insight as we navigate the challenges, emotions and ethics of this controversial practice.

Breeders: A Subclass of Women? (posted Apr/14) By the Center for Bioethics and Culture. Surrogacy is fast becoming one of the major issues of the 21st century – celebrities and everyday people are increasingly using surrogates to build their families. But the practice is fraught with complex implications for women, children, and families. What is the impact on the women who serve as surrogates and on the children who are born from surrogacy? In what ways might money complicate things? What about altruistic surrogacy done for a family member or close friend? Is surrogacy a beautiful, loving act or does it simply degrade pregnancy to a service and a baby to a product? Can we find a middle ground? Should we even look for one? This film from  explores this important issue, talking with surrogates, physicians, psychologists, and activists across the political and ideological spectrum.

Reviews:

  • Bodies and Babies Commodified; By Gina Maranto, Director, Ecosystem Science & Policy and coordinator, Environmental Science & Policy program, University of Miami; author, 'Quest for Perfection: The Drive to Breed Better Human Beings'.  Feb 17/14. Biopolitical Times
  • A Cautionary Tale, By Elise Hilton, Acton Institute. Feb 3/14.
  • Film Review by Alice Plein, BioNews, Jul 28/14
     


REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES

  • Frozen Angels (Investigates the future as it exists today in Los Angeles. Following a cast of bigger-than-life, often funny, characters, the viewer encounters wealthy sperm bank presidents, expectant surrogate mothers, gene researchers, radio talk show hosts, NASA scientists, infertile suburban couples, just-born and now-adult designer babies, blonde, blue-eyed egg donors and feminist lawyers. The film warns of the coming dangers this brave new world poses to race relations, dividing society into genetic haves and have-nots.)
  • Google Baby (Documentary across 3 continents telling the story of the up & coming baby production industry in the age of globalization)
  • A Moral Dilemma: Saviour Sibling or Spare Part Baby?