The Child the Stork Brought Home
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by Gillain Goslinga
color, 59 min, 2000
The Child the Stork Brought Home is an intimate portrait of a gestational surrogacy arrangement, from the embryo transfer that "took" and got both the gestational surrogate and genetic parents "pregnant," to the birth of a slightly premature baby girl 34 weeks later. The film captures, through spaced interviews and cinema verite scenes; doctor visits, the baby shower, the birth and its emotional aftermath. The ethical complexity of this most controversial of reproductive arrangements is revealed, at once celebrating its potential to transform understandings of the nuclear family and motherhood, while raising an alarm: that class privilege, and genetic laboratory assisted procreation, can seem to make breeders out of gestational surrogates.
The Child the Stork Brought Home has been used in Women's Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Science and Technology, Bioethics and Contemporary Studies classes at UCSC, UCLA, and U. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The film was made at the Center for Visual Anthropology, at the University of Southern California. An accompanying essay, "Body Boundaries, Fiction of the Female Self: An ethnographic perspective on power, feminism and reproductive technologies," has been published in Feminist Studies (Spring 2000, V.26, N.1, 113-140).
The filmmaker, Gillian Goslinga-Roy, is now pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of California at Santa Cruz, in the History of Consciousness Department. Her dissertation project is an ethnography, including a visual component, of a South Indian temple whose main deity is famous for curing women of their infertility through the idiom of possession.