Thursday, February 19, 2009

Barry Stevens' BIO-DAD

[From Diane Allen of the Infertility Network]

A man born of artificial insemination searches for his biological father - and takes a look at the brave new world to come. 


February 26, 2009 at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) on CBC TV

CBC is proud to present BIO-DAD, an E1 TELEVISION documentary that follows the quest of Barry Stevens, one of the first people produced by artificial insemination, as he sets out to identify the anonymous sperm donor 

who produced him and hundreds of Stevens’ unknown half-siblings a half century ago.  
 The film, which is set to premiere Thursday, February 26th, 2009 on CBC at 8:00 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT)  is a DNA detective story, full of twists, turns, and big surprises. Along the way, Stevens (who previously made the award-winning “Offspring”) discovers a brother, who joins him in his search – and before long, more family than he knows what to do with.
Stevens also takes us into the controversial world of making babies through science instead of sex in Bio-Dad. “As we’ve just seen in the news, quite elderly women can have babies and a young woman can have octuplets,” says Stevens. “Thousands regularly choose their baby’s sex, and some children now have five parents. Our culture is having trouble dealing with this -- but what’s coming up is even more challenging: a near-future where two men could have a biological baby (or two women), where working artificial wombs can be developed and where already we have the technology to modify humans, even adding non-human genes. It may be just a matter of time before people do it, take control of our evolution and enter a post-human world.”
Often forgotten in the rush to the future are the rights or needs of the children. And many of the first wave of donor offspring are furious.  Stevens documents the emerging political battle for the rights of those offspring to know their genetic origins – which has resulted in a ban on anonymity of donors in several countries, including the UK where he was conceived. And an angry backlash elsewhere.  
Bio-Dad, which was written and directed by Barry Stevens, always makes this important public story personal. Stevens, with his sister and new brother David, uncovers the origin of sperm donation in their search for their own donor. He is obsessed by the man who selected the donors, an eccentric and pioneering scientist and Jewish refugee who worked in a time when eugenics was widely accepted. He begins to find new evidence that this man himself was his biological father, driving his search into new adventures.
All along his journey, Stevens introduces us to extraordinary characters. There’s the ‘exhumation consultant’ who plans to help him dig up a suspect, the DNA detective who has pioneered a way to read his father’s name from the DNA itself, the 94-year-old inventor of earwax remover who may be Stevens’ father, the California doctor who hopes to be able to sell genes for height, longevity and math ability for his patients’ kids. And we meet a growing clan of people, all related through a mystery masturbator, who discover a new kind of family.  
After many disappointments and surprises – Stevens himself discovers he is also a bio-dad and his newly discovered daughter joins him in the search! – Stevens closes in on the mystery and finds the identity of the man they never knew, the man from whose loins they all sprang. And both he and his brother David have to come to terms with having twin fathers, both social and biological.  
Bio-Dad is a roller-coaster detective story about the meaning of family and the genetic tie, told with humour and compassion. It is the first film to take a look at the brave new world to come from the point of view of one of its first children.

For further information:
Lisa Wookey  
E1 Television, Head of Marketing
Tel: (416) 646-2400 EXT 326

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