Be sure to catch Google Baby, a documentary about global surrogacy, appearing on HBO this week. The New York Times just reviewed the documentary by Zippy Brand-Frank:
What could easily be rendered as straight-out horrid exploitation is given an amazingly neutral hand as Ms. Brand Frank deftly avoids the clichés that typically materialize in any journalistic look at atypical reproduction. “Google Baby” — which derives its title from the practice of finding potential egg donors online — gives us no Upper East Side trophy wives choosing surrogacy to avoid the inconvenience of weight gain and relinquishing of gin and tonics. Nor does it show us Ivy League parents insisting on donors with perfect SAT scores and a proven record of Roger Federer-like displays of hand-eye coordination. (The demands of the affluent can seem insane in this universe, extending, as one reproductive endocrinologist once told me, even to shoe size.)
What parents pay for surrogacy outsourced to India is considerably less than the procedure can cost in the United States. Ms. Brand Frank’s camera moves fluidly to show us that the transaction is at once grossly unfair, given the risks to the childbearer, and yet at the same time its own kind of godsend because the money can and does make a difference to poorer women with otherwise limited opportunities. Among the uglier dimensions is the lack of appreciation men have when their wives are childbearers. What is far worse than an extreme capitalist is a bad husband.
We were fortunate enough to participate in the making of this documentary and believe it presents, finally, a fair and balanced view of these very nuanced field.