When I heard about the LA screening of ‘Vegas Baby’ (a new documentary film diving into the world of IVF – link here) I knew I had to go but I also knew there would be a lot of tears. I also wondered how the stories and characters would be portrayed because in the media you often just hear about the successes or the ‘horror’ stories. It’s rarely about the folk who are living and breathing infertility every day.
I then learned that the director Amanda Micheli has been going through this process herself so that put me at ease, at least she ‘gets it’, and would handle it sensitively. I went with some of the girls I met at my local RESOLVE group in LA (shout out to you warriors!) and I know we all braced ourselves for the emotional outpour.
The film follows the journey of a diverse group of people all desperately trying to ‘win’ a baby. They each submitted a video plea for the chance to win a free round of IVF at Dr Sher’s clinic in Las Vegas. For some, this was their only chance at having a family.
As they showed the judging process I just kept thinking how on earth are they choosing who ‘deserves’ it? How do you tell someone sorry you didn’t make the cut to have the one thing you desperately want in life?! Ultimately this lottery was a PR stunt for the Sher Institute so it seemed to boil down to who had the highest chance of success.
I won’t give it all away (you can see the full drama unfold on iTunes, Amazon, PBS 6/27, Netflix 7/4) but watching these stories of infertility, miscarriage and relationships breaking down was heartbreaking but I also sat willing and hoping they got their family in the end. There were tough scenes but there were also some brilliant laugh out loud moments (confetti gun warning).
The film also highlighted the obscene costs of fertility treatment and how unfair that makes the treatment. This disease effects 1 in 6 worldwide so why should you be discriminated against getting any medical help just because you live in the wrong area or you can’t afford to pay for it?
The director does a great job of making an entertaining, thought provoking film full of deep human interest stories set in a fascinatingly surreal but real world. Even if you have zero connection to the world of infertility you can’t help but care about these people.
I did cry a lot but I also walked away reminded that I’m not in a weird bubble and that infertility IS happening everywhere. It also helped me feel differently about this last round of IVF we are about to face. Instead of purely dreading it and wishing it was over I felt grateful that we are fortunate to even get another shot at this baby lottery. It’s time to roll the dice again.