Surrogacy experts, parents and carriers point to Baby Mama’s plot holes, and provide guidelines for a well planned surrogacy. “While this funny hit movie may contribute to making surrogacy more mainstream,” says John Weltman, “Baby Mama does not reflect reality.”
Boston, May 28, 2008 — The success of the movie ‘Baby Mama‘ seemed to fuel the growing media interest in surrogacy. Reporters from around the country and abroad, including the Wall Street Journal and Boston Herald, turned to Circle Surrogacy for information and a reality check. While most viewers may see the movie as nothing more than a riotous spoof, many parents and surrogates were disturbed by the extreme stereotypes and the distortion and misrepresentation of the entire process. "In reality," says Circle Surrogacy’s president John Weltman, a widely recognized expert in surrogacy and reproductive law, "the most crucial elements of the story could simply not happen if certain basic rules are followed."
In its May 11 article titled "‘Baby’ Boom: Movie may spawn rise in surrogacy," the Boston Herald suggested that "some fertility professionals believe the hit comedy, which centers around a businesswoman’s strained relationship with her blue-collar surrogate, could help trigger a surge in surrogacy". “Baby Mama, as being the first blockbuster movie focusing on surrogacy, may indeed be an indicator that the world is ready to deal with surrogacy and to laugh about it,” says John Weltman. “If people are informed about surrogacy, then they know that the movie was just a farcical look at an absurd situation. But the less informed may be misled by the myth that surrogate mothers are poor white trash that want to keep the child or take money from parents." Many surrogates in particular have taken offense and even called to boycott the movie. Given what she heard so far, Lisa Hardy-Bell, a Circle surrogate who was interviewed for the Boston Herald article, stated, “I’m not sure I want to go (see the movie) and get offended." "Anyone who worked with a reputable agency," says Ron Poole-Dayan, a father of twins through Circle Surrogacy, "can attest to huge plot holes in ‘Baby Mama’. Among other things, surrogates are never childless, cannot possibly fake pregnancies, and do not move in with their intended parents."
Here are some of Circle’s basic rules and conventions that render ‘Baby Mama’ highly unlikely to occur:
- Unlike the care-free surrogate in the movie, to be considered by a reputable agency, a candidate must have had successful and complication-free pregnancies, and therefore is already a mother. Furthermore surrogates are very heavily screened, far beyond the “background check” hinted at the movie. “At Circle,” says John Weltman, “psychological tests and personal circumstances are scrutinized to make sure that candidates are trustworthy, fully supported by their families, living in a stable and health environment, and are not solely financially motivated or unprepared for the journey.”
- Unlike the movie, surrogates through Circle do not interview a series of potential intended parents (IPs). Carriers are matched with IPs based on an extensive set of criteria, they read each others detailed profiles, and then meet after careful preparation. At that point, experience shows, well over 95% will confirm the match and move on with the process. “Our experience is that there is almost always a ‘love fest’ at this meeting,” says John. “Surrogacy is not just the IPs life-long dream – it is also that of the carrier.”
- Unlike the movie, surrogates do not move in with their intended parents. Indeed, how likely is the typical real-world surrogate to leave her 3 kids and move in to a condo in the big city? “Not only has this never happened in Circle Surrogacy’s near 13 years of existence,” says John, “it would be strongly discouraged by the extended support network of social workers, case managers and psychologists who accompany the carrier and IPs during the process. None of these professionals are mentioned in the movie.”
- Unlike the movie, there is absolutely no chance that a Circle surrogate could forge her pregnancy test and collect fees without being pregnant. “In the first place,” reports John,” surrogates are not considered pregnant until we get the results from an independent clinic of several blood tests first, and then an ultrasound confirmation of a heartbeat. Furthermore, both our surrogates and their partners are so well screened, that it is unlikely that they would even contemplate faking a pregnancy…”
Additional protocols are in place at Circle that would have prevented several more comic episodes in the movie. Money is never directly exchanged or even discussed between the IPs and carriers, as it is handled by the law firm, which maintains a separately held escrow account. IPs are encouraged to visit the carrier’s home well before the surrogacy process begins. Experienced social workers (and / or former clients) coach IPs about how to avoid being perceived as over controlling, while dealing with their unavoidable anxieties during the process. Indeed, many surrogates live some distances from their IPs, and so most of the communication is done by emails and phone calls.
“So while Baby Mama is a funny comedy of mistakes, miscommunications and personality clashes, luckily, a well planned surrogacy is nothing like the one in the film” concluded John Weltman.
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About Circle Surrogacy
Since 1995, Circle Surrogacy has helped bring to the world over 225 babies, with unmatched success rates of close to 100% in clients becoming parents through egg donor surrogacy. Its dedicated staff of professionals is made up of lawyers, social workers, parents through surrogacy, surrogates and past clients. Circle Surrogacy provides a choice of specialized clinics at locations throughout the country, a large selection of egg donors, swift matching with carefully screened surrogates, and a variety of flexible programs and financial options to suit its clients’ unique family choices.
John Weltman, owner, founder is a Yale graduate and a nationally recognized expert in the field of reproductive law, including surrogacy and gay parenting. John and his husband began their surrogacy journey in 1991 and had two boys, now 13 and 12, through the same surrogate. John was interviewed and appeared in numerous publications, TV programs, and conferences throughout the USA, Europe, Canada, and Israel.
To learn more about Circle Surrogacy go to www.circlesurrogacy.com