Infertility Goes to Hollywood

Even back in 1941 the hardships of a couple trying to conceive were portrayed by actors on film. The movie Penny Serenade (1941): starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, chronicles a couple starting their life together. They meet, marry and try to have children. The main character loses her first baby to miscarriage and is diagnosed as no longer being able to have children. The remainder of the heartfelt movie is about their challenges with adoption.

In the past 20-30 years, more so recently, we have seen an enormous amount of movies shedding light (as if it wasn’t in a spotlight for many for years) on trying to conceive and the emotions behind it.

Raising Arizona (1987): the couple (Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter) are so desperate for a baby, they decide to steal one. Although from a comedic standpoint (Nicolas Cage plays a holdup man), the emotion is still so raw in the film- the characters are so desperate for a baby; they feel (and actually do) go so far as to steal a child.

Miss Conception (2008): stars Heather Graham. In this film, the character learns she can only conceive for another month. In this scramble, she loses her non-wanting children boyfriend, dates/sleeps around only to miss her “window” of opportunity. Of course, like all the rest there is a perfect ending and she ends back with her original boyfriend and alas, pregnant. In the movie the character tries to use a turkey baster for artificial insemination.

The Switch (2010): starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman is again about artificial insemination using a sperm donor. The “sample” is switched and the movie continues about unspoken love and less about fertility.

Even in the children’s movie UP there is a montage of the couple planning a nursery and then tearfully speaking to a doctor.

The Back Up Plan (2010) (J.Lo), the character uses artificial insemination to become pregnant after deciding she is happy with her career and does not have a boyfriend to have a family with. She then, of course, meets the “one” and the remainder of the movie is about their 9 month long path to baby in a new relationship.

These movies have all explored some of the many different paths a woman may take in life and their paths meet infertility. While all these movies continue the awareness that infertility and the challenges of trying to conceive are a life crisis, they all lead to happy endings. They do not portray all the real heartaches, emotions, physical toll on a woman’s body and financial costs infertility takes. What are some other popular movies about infertility?



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