One of our goals for Aaron's Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau is to raise awareness and share resources that touch on the topics of miscarriage, infant loss, and infertility. There is a relatively new documentary that does just that. It may be a controversial documentary, as the film dabbles into the realm of a social media experiment; but at the same time, the couples in the film are highly relatable to those who've experienced miscarriage, infant loss, and/or infertility. As a volunteer for Aaron's Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau, and as someone who's experienced infertility for almost 3 years, a first-trimester miscarriage during the 1 and only time I was pregnant, and as someone who is about to undergo IVF, I found this film to be extremely relatable.
Here is how the producers of the film would describe it:
Some think an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) 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 miscarriage, infant loss, infertility, and the high cost of infertility treatments. They place themselves in the hands of a Las Vegas doctor and his annual contest, which offers a prize of a free round of IVF — 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.