Science has made quite impressive advancements when it comes to childbearing, saving all those women who would love to experience the joy of motherhood but can’t due to fertility issues a second chance.
Many women spend a lot of time nowadays working on building their careers and a future. By the time they are ready to start or expand their families, the biological clock has already caught up with them, dimming their hopes of having little munchkins running around the house. Others just have challenges conceiving despite being in the prime age.
In Vitro Fertilization, simply referred to as IVF, is a scientific process that has helped many women, especially in the celebrity world, to conceive and birth their own children. Though it is pretty expensive, it has proven to be highly effective with those who undergo it, even giving birth to twins.
The latest movie from Lifetime, titled ‘Switched Before Birth’ is a feature that is inspired by this medical advancement and serves as a rallying cry for why the procedure desperately needs some proper federal regulation.
This heartbreaking feature is directed by Lifetime veteran Elisabeth Rohm from a script penned by Kelly Fullerton.
‘Switched Before Birth’ is led by Justina Machado and ‘Scream Queens’ star Skyler Samuels who play the roles of Anna and Olivia respectively with so much intense that the audience can literally feel the anguish, anger and grief as the story follows their journeys from expressing their fertility struggles to tearing each other apart for their son. Their performances are absolutely phenomenal.
Olivia finally gets pregnant with twins after several rounds of IVF treatments. She meets with Anna, who is also struggling to conceive but fortunately manages to get pregnant too after a successful IVF. The shared experience of these two women creates a bond that gels them into a family.
Sadly, Anna suffers a miscarriage which causes a strain on her marriage. When Olivia finally delivers her babies, the pair discover that the infants are not twins at all and to add insult to injury, one of the babies is brown. It turns out that there was a mix-up during insemination, and one of the babies belongs to Gabe and Anna and was implanted into Olivia’s womb by mistake, a grave error made by the clinic.
Things get pretty ugly as the two women battle for little Sam.
This feature expertly tackles the heart-wrenching issue of infertility which, to be honest, isn’t given the attention it deserves. Women who can’t bear children are looked down upon in society as they end up becoming the laughingstock or being plastered with disgusting names that are supposed to undermine their status as women.
The film excellently showcases the emotional and physical toll this aspect takes on those women who suffer from it. By acknowledging the severity of the infertility plight and shining the spotlight on each woman’s history, the perfect amount of context derived from the warring ladies over little Sam makes this feature rich and complex.
The way the film spends time establishing the relationship between the two women from strangers to friends is essential as these are two good friends who ironically met at the same fertility clinic that became the root of their problem.
However, all the action and drama is in the custody battle, which makes the whole situation pretty difficult to watch but entertaining all the same.
The leading ladies’ husbands Gabe and Brian, played by Yancey Arias and Bo Yokely, respectively, become fast friends. Though the narrative didn’t spend much time developing their relationship, the two men bounce off each other excellently and are fantastic in their supporting roles.
One of the most relatable cathartic moments exuded by the pair was having a deep conversation regarding how they grieved through their wives’ miscarriages and getting through the pain of their better parts while nursing their own.
Other cast members in this film include Celeste Oliva, Charles Green, Jerri Tubbs, Kurt Yue, Christie McLendon, among many others.
It is amazing how the two couples became so tight knit to the extent that they feel like a family, and audiences witnessing the set embark on their IVF journey simultaneously is really endearing.
Taking an intimate look at this movie, some elements are disconcerting at best. The film wanted audiences to empathize with both women equally. However, Anna endures a lot of awfully heartbreaking circumstances throughout the last half of the movie. This woman absorbed all this pain with ultimate grace; hence, one can’t help to applaud her strength and agility.
This film’s concept is to emphasize that IVF, however fantastic this scientific advancement is, is trending in uncharted territories. It is not federally regulated. There is little precedent to refer to when working with these kinds of scenarios, something that needs to be addressed with ultimate urgency.
For instance, it is the clinic’s negligence that should have been put on the hot seat here; however, with the infant’s life on the life, the narrative moves to the dreadful custody battle between two couples who were once great friends.
One can’t help to question, though, since these pairs were such good friends who understood each other’s struggles. Why wouldn’t the Crawfords give up one of their babies to the Ramirez’s so they can all be happy together? Furthermore, the quartet already considered themselves family.
Thankfully, the two clans were able to iron out their issues, and a happy ending happened to both of them. It would have been fantastic to witness the patching-up process, though.
All in all, ‘Switched Before Birth’ is not only highly resonating, but it is also educative to many people who don’t understand how the process works. It is a cautionary measure for those planning to employ the method to be extra careful how the process is handled. It is also a wake-up call to lawmakers to establish guidelines and regulations to govern these treatments. This movie will have you in tears, in anger, in pain and happy, all in an exhilarating roller coaster. It is worth giving a shot.