Almost Family – A New TV Series on FOX About IVF

From the same writers and producers as “About A Boy,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Parenthood,” FOX is premiering a new TV dramedy Oct. 2 called “Almost Family”. The series is about an only child JULIA BECHLEY (played by Brittany Snow), who discovers her prize-winning fertility doctor dad used his own sperm to conceive upwards of a hundred children. Julia connects with two half-sisters and their complicated relationship explores issues like identity, human connection, and what it means to be a family. With 2.9 million trailer views at the time this article is being written, we can expect this show to spark a lot of conversation during its run.

The premise of the show sounds wild, perhaps un-realistic, but actually, it is art reflecting life. The Anonymous Us Project—a story-collective for anyone whose life was impacted by third party reproduction—has been hearing and collecting stories of many donor-conceived people over 8 years. Privately and publicly donor offspring from around the world came to us whose family stories reflect this exact premise in the series. For example, we have heard from several of the children of Dr. Wendler from the Kansas City University of Kansas Medical Center. He was christened “Dr. Papa” when Hard Copy ran this news special on him and the estimated 500 children he fathered by manipulating and lying to his patients. 

When we sat in on a special town hall meeting with Kansas governor Sam Brownbeck regarding how to prevent family breakdown in the state, the topic of deliberate fatherlessness through sperm donation was brought up by Anonymous Us. A local government official confidently stated, “That’s not relevant here. People in Kansas don’t do that.” Oh yes they do, and it’s beyond what you can imagine Toto.

There are lots of “Dr. Papas” out there. Others that comes to mind are Dr. Donald Cline in Indianapolis, Cecil Jacobson in Salt Lake City, Dr. Norman Barwin in Canada. There are many others.

Dov Fox, a bioethicist at the University of San Diego and the author of Birth Rights and Wrongs, told the Times. “The number of doctors sounds less like a few bad apples and more like a generalized practice of deception, largely hidden until recently by a mix of low-tech and high stigma.”

Narcissism and Donors

While not a practicing physician, Japanese millionaire Mitsutoki Shigeta became involved with the law and some difficult custody battles when it was discovered that 13 babies were being raised by several nannies in a Bangkok condo he owned. He began engaging a fertility clinic in 2011, initially hiring two surrogates to gestate and birth his genetic children. He disclosed plans to create 1,000 children with as many as 20 children per year in this way. 

Jeffrey Epstein, the defamed hedge fund manager and sex trafficker aimed to do something similar by “seeding the human race” with his DNA according to the NY Times. He told friends he wanted to impregnate 20 women a year at his New Mexico ranch. What is with the number 20? Anyways…

Dada Dads

“Almost Family” will be released October 2nd, so obviously I haven’t seen any episdes yet. But judging from the trailer I anticipate the writers will Photoshop the doctor a bit to emblematize good-meaning, “present” fathers. “I was always jealous of you” says one of the sisters to the main character Julia. “You had a dad that would come home and sit down with you at the dinner table. I spent my whole life looking for that.” 

Whether you view these men as well-intended while misguided, or more like rapists in lab coats—what is clear is that there has indeed been systemic misuse of power and authority exploiting others’ dreams of family.

In one well-documented case, Nicholas Isel was conceived using an anonymous donor from the Repository for Germinal Choice. Termed the “Genius Sperm Bank,” this sperm bank claimed to collect sperm from Nobel Prize Winners and MENSA members. Their aim was to make the world a better place by having the smartest men in America abandon as many of their children as possible. Nick Isel has used his story effectively and has started a citizens’ petition to change federal law outlawing anonymous sperm and egg donation. 

Most people are unaware that the first sperm banks and fertility businesses were eugenic in their foundational philosophies. “The Genius Sperm Bank” is one example, but there are also companies like Elite IVF and Cryobank’s “Celebrity Look Alike” segments that advertise “exceptional” donors like Olympic athletes and supermodels. 

Documentaries

In the film Future Baby, by Geyrhalter Films an American couple uses eggs from a 20-year-old Brazilian model, mixed with the husband’s sperm, and then they pay to have the embryo transferred into the womb of a Mexican single mother to be gestated. The film crew is present for the planned c-section birth of the child. The Mexican mother-now-surrogate lays paralyzed on the operating table. The doctors cut open her abdomen, pull out the baby, and immediately scoop the baby up to take it to a step-and-repeat backdrop for a facebook live promotion of the fertility clinic. The legal, non-genetic, non-gestational mother is elated to have the baby, but the first words out of her mouth are ad copy. Then finally they take the baby to the surrogate so she can meet the person she’s been carrying inside her for 9 months. When the surrogate suggested to the commissioning mom that the baby looked cold and needs to be swaddled, the commissioning mother dismisses her outright—a silent power play demonstrating coldly the social class disparities between buyers and suppliers. 

It is very easy to get upset by these stories. At Anonymous Us, we have spent years despairing and wondering what the solution is. But there is a solution! If you haven’t already seen the film Sexual Revolution: 50 Years Since Humanae Vitaeyou simply must. It pans the horizon of history which has led to the current crisis of the justification for overreaching the boundaries of nature. Not only does the film include a series of expert interviews with todays original thinkers on the topic of donor technology, it also presents the phenomenological approach to the problem and its solution.

All of these sex crimes and reproductive trafficking nightmares are predictable outcomes of a world that A) has lost sight of our Creator and B) has normalized hormonal contraception and thus instituted sex and reproduction as selfish consumerism. But the warning signs were there. In his prophetic 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI outlined what would happen to our culture if we were to embrace these drugs that treat female fertility as disease. Aldous Huxley brilliantly spelled out the disregard for mothers inherent in a contraceptive culture in his 1932 book Brave New World. We need not be surprised. 

In the film, Sexual Revolution: 50 Years Since Humanae Vitae, audiences are introduced to the two respective teams of scientists that gave us The Pill and Natural Family Planning. After years of complaining about use of donor-conception, the new message seems to be: Natural Family Planning is our best recourse. 

Philosopher-Queen, Professor Janet Smith, had this to say about the film, “The film has a message that must be heard. I urge you to show the film as a great way of educating people of the harms of contraception and the sexual revolution it spawned.” This film really is an awesome tool to inspire people to learn NFP and reject The Pill – and it is all done artistically.

Reason #1 you need to learn Natural Family Planning:

The Pill causes infertility. 

As most people know by now, the synthetic estrogens in these drugs end up in the water supply and feminize aquatic life, causing fish population depletions. The Pill is a Type 1 carcinogen and it dramatically ages the cervix?

Reason #2 you need to learn Natural Family Planning:

It’s profoundly more effective and cost-efficient than IVF.

One round of IVF costs on average $10,000 and has a failure rate of 76%. Natural Family Planning methods like The Billings Ovulation Method or Creighton have a success rate upwards of 80%. The average costs vary but usually peak at $400. The reason you don’t know about these options is the same reason you’re not aware of a branded crisis pregnancy center, but everyone knows the name Planned Parenthood. That is, these fertility clinics make millions of dollars and thus have millions of dollars to reinvest in marketing. They give professional PR puppets like Kim Kardashian free surrogacy services so she’ll tweet and instagram their clinic names. Meanwhile, future saints like John & Evelyn Billings and Dr. Thomas Hilgers are plugging away in Calcutta or Omaha teaching farmers’ daughters how to interpret cervical fluid. 

Reason #3 you need to learn Natural Family Planning:

Because it gives women their power back. It makes sure that every time a man approaches a woman romantically, he is fully aware of her body’s power to create new life, and that power commands respect. This is the real antidote to the #MeToo movement, Porn, and even human trafficking.

BONUS: Reason #4 you need to learn Natural Family Planning:

Because all the information you need is available now!

And this is information you want to have. You can masterfully manage your own fertility without the use of carcinogenic drugs, and without the use and abuse of other people (Big IVF). You can avoid the beyond-creepy Dr. Papa’s of the world and, together with your spouse, co-create with God that new eternal soul and buy all the Mathilda Jane onesies your heart desires.

And I am eager to help you. I’ve been teaching the Billings Ovulation Method for three years and now I’m teaming up with Springtime Productions to make it easier for people like you to learn this information. Online classes are available. The prices are a bargain compared to the scam of hormonal contraceptives and IVF. You will never regret knowing the truth about your cycle and fertility and this is an education you get to keep for a lifetime—like getting your driver’s license but never having wait in line at the DMV to renew it!

Sign up for my next class right now by sending me an email to: alana@alananewman.com

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