A new Lifetime movie coming this fall is inspired by real experiences of couples navigating in vitro fertilization, or IVF.
“Switched Before Birth” tells the story of two women whose lives become unexpectedly intertwined after a mistake during the IVF process. Skyler Samuels of “Scream Queens” stars as Olivia, who is finally pregnant with twins after enduring multiple miscarriages and failed IVF treatments.
During the IVF process, Olivia meets Anna, played by Justina Machado. Anna has also struggled with infertility, and when the two women become pregnant around the same time, they celebrate together. The elation doesn’t last long, though. Anna suffers another miscarriage.
When Olivia gives birth to her precious twins, it’s clear that the babies aren’t twins at all. In fact, one of the babies isn’t even Olivia’s child, but Anna’s, implanted into Olivia by mistake. With both Anna and Olivia feeling like the baby’s mother, the former waiting room friends are suddenly at odds.
‘Switched Before Birth’ Pays Homage to Real Couples
According to a press release via Futon Critic, the “powerful film” is “inspired by IVF stories of actual couples.” The film aims to shed a light on issues within the fertility industry.
“With more and more women turning to fertility experts to help them create the families they have always dreamed of, devastating mishaps and regulatory gaps have been exposed within the industry. With lack of federal government regulatory oversight, there are little repercussions for facilities that misplace genetic material or make other mistakes that have lasting effects,” the press release states.
The 2020 podcast “Donor 9623” also exposed the industry’s problems by telling the story of a sperm donor who fabricated personal information on his donor profile, including his mental health history, and is the biological father of thirty-six children.
The announcement of “Switched Before Birth” comes just before the anniversary of the first baby ever born from IVF methods.
The Film’s Director Had a Baby Using IVF
Actress and director Elisabeth Röhm is no stranger to infertility and IVF. In fact, she wrote a memoir about conceiving through IVF called “Baby Steps: Having the Child I Always Wanted.” Her daughter Easton was born in 2008.
She also wrote a blog post for People back in 2011 about her experiences. “I never thought I’d come out and talk about my experience with in vitro fertilization (IVF). It’s not that I’m shy or hugely private — it mainly comes from the subject being socially taboo and very personal. As a woman who has had to receive assistance to be able to carry a child and deliver a healthy baby girl, I am grateful that I had the right to make a choice for my family and regarding my own body,” Röhm wrote.
The director and mother recently announced the film via Instagram, stating that “Switched at Birth” will air in October. “I personally endured an IVF journey and I’m so grateful to share this topic with you in what I hope will be well-received,” Röhm wrote in the caption.
Röhm is now seperated from her daughter’s father. In 2019, she told People, “my only regrets as a parent would be that I couldn’t give her a perfect family dynamic and that she had to go through a separation and to live in this modern family of going back and forth between two houses.”