From Executive Producer Morgan Spurlock
U.S. Television Premiere Tuesday, June 27, at 8 P.M. on the New Season of
PBS’s AMERICA REFRAMED
Some think an in vitro fertilization contest sounds crazy, but countless Americans desperate to start a family believe this social media experiment is their only hope. Oscar-nominated director Amanda Micheli’s provocative documentary follows several aspiring parents who desperately want to have a baby but are struggling with infertility and the high cost of treatments. They place themselves in the hands of a Las Vegas doctor who loved to gamble with læs mere and his annual contest, which offers a prize of a free round of in-vitro fertilization—with no guarantee of success. Contestants post their video entries on YouTube, counting on the votes of strangers to make their dreams of parenthood come true.
Despite the fact that nearly 1 in 6 couples worldwide are unable to naturally conceive and carry a baby to term, for fear of judgment or heartache or both, infertility stories are largely kept secret. While exposing private pain online to win a contest is a brutal proposition, IVF is rarely covered by insurance in the U.S., so many infertile couples consider this a gamble worth taking. Through this controversial contest, VEGAS BABY navigates the complexities of America’s burgeoning fertility industry and unveils the class disparity within a topic that is often clouded by judgment and stereotypes. Micheli explores universal themes of desire and loss through her intimate portrait of the diverse individuals – from a devoutly Catholic Latino couple in Texas to a lesbian Lady Gaga Impersonator in New York – determined to have a baby against all odds.
100 whittled down to 10, talk about odds. Entering a contest for a free round of IVF, people put their most intimate struggles out into the world via Youtube and strangers control who moves onto the final round. Then a smaller panel of folks makes the decision and one lucky couple gets a no guarantees shot at a baby. The doc ultimately follows three finalists on their two-year journey with Dr. Sher and beyond. Infertility is not discussed often enough in our culture and when it is, there is a stigma surrounding its cost. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for the audience but an honest and important story to be told. Nothing is sugar coated in its presentation, nor should it be when matters of the heart are at stake. Dr. Sher and co are very honest about the fact that the business of infertility is a business. Emotions are difficult to set aside but the reality is clear. The industry is booming. Money does not equal success. Vegas Baby delves into the vulnerability of creating and sustaining life.
Director: Amanda Micheli
Producers: Serin Marshall
Executive Producers: Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick
Editor: Greg O’Toole
Director of Photography: Amanda Micheli
Original Music By: Paul Brill
Run Time: 77 min
Release Date: U.S. Television Premiere Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 8 P.M.
Distributed by: PBS’s AMERICA REFRAMED