It’s always nerve-racking to premiere your film on the Big Screen. We focus-group test our films as we’re making them, getting as much feedback as we can to consider the thoughts and reactions of a regular audience. Early on, we knew we’d have an uphill battle fighting against #BigFertility with the story of a three-time surrogate mother. But we knew we had to tell this story and tell it our way—through the eyes of a woman who experienced first-hand all the problems with surrogacy.
So, taking a deep breath in the Princeton Garden Theatre, I took my seat in the back of a pretty full auditorium, happy that my biggest fear—nobody coming—was put to rest. The energy was good. People I knew were in attendance. Facebook friends came, and it was fun to meet them in person. And strangers were there too. I sensed the audience was engaged and I could feel the reactions of horror and discomfort as the story unfolded. (This is why I always sit in the back—so I can observe the audience.)
As planned, I asked the audience to complete a short survey BEFORE and AFTER watching the film, to get a sense of how informed and what opinions the audience had about surrogacy going in, and if watching the film had made a difference. Before the film, I collected basic demographics of Sex (78% female) and Age Group (over 50% were 30+ years old and the others were 19-29 years old), then asked four questions:
- How much do you know about surrogacy?
- Is surrogacy a good thing for people to do?
- Would you ever be a surrogate or suggest a friend do it?
- Surrogacy gives the gift of life—Agree or Disagree?
Going in, 85% knew very little or something about surrogacy; after the film, 99% felt better informed about surrogacy. This is very important! We’ve conducted national polling of attitudes on surrogacy in the U.S. and it’s clear people are simply not informed about the complexities of surrogacy. We are first and foremost, an educational non-profit, so it’s clear we are educating people!
Regarding the question of whether surrogacy gives the “gift of life,” comparing the before and after answers, 50% of viewers changed their minds.
Without being asked, people voluntarily wrote comments about the film like:
- . . . a complex issue but it’s hard to justify treating children as a commodities
- Thank you for standing up for the victims of Assisted Reproduction Technologies
- Another great film Jennifer!
- I didn’t know how exploitative surrogacy was
- Very powerful
- A gripping horror story
Opening night was a #BigHit for #BigFertility, demonstrating that showing a 45-minute film does educate a room full of people. Now imagine if we could show the film to 100s of 1,000s of people (hint, hint—contact us about screening the film in your town).
Thank you for your support in helping us make this film (which is already translated into French and Spanish). Your ongoing support will allow us to get this film out far and wide. Whether you’ve seen #BigFertility yet or not, you can watch the “Reproductive Tourism” bonus feature now to get a small taste of the chilling reality this film exposes. Can we count on your help to take on #BigFertility?
P.S. I’m just back from speaking in France, and now I’m off to Pennsylvania, Qatar, Barcelona, and Madrid spreading the word that surrogacy exploits women and children. Please give today to support our continued efforts to take on #BigFertility.
The Center for Bioethics and Culture is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit educational organization. All gifts are tax-deductible.
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.