Israeli documentarian Zippi Brand Frank won an Emmy Award for Google Baby – her film about creating a baby via the internet.
Brand’s film was nominated as the HBO representative in the Outstanding Science and Technology Programming category, and was up against Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking of the Discovery Channel, PBS’s NOVA and the Science Channel’s Creating Synthetic Life.
Frank, who served as producer and director, won the coveted American award together with executive producers Sheila Nevins and Yona Wiesenthal.
The film shows the business aspects of the reproduction industry alongside couples desperately wanting to be parents but who cannot afford the high costs of IVF or surrogacy.
One of the main characters in the documentary is Doron, an Israeli entrepreneur who started a service for baby production, using eggs donated from the US and surrogates in India. While in the US people will pay over $100,000 for IVF treatments or surrogacy, in India the process will cost just $6,000.
Google Baby shows how technology and globalization has made ‘making a baby’ affordable.
“The business aspects of the reproduction industry are intriguing, as well as frightening,” explains the Tel Aviv-born Frank. “With no real existing legal barriers to overcome and lots of money to be made, the human reproduction industry is steaming ahead, and a cold and distant business is emerging, guided only by the principles of the free-market dealing. Given the complexities and sensitive issues surrounding reproduction and birth, this could be very dangerous.”
Google Baby won first prize at the DocAviv Festival in 2009. The film was also broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 and was screened at international film festivals.