Length: 29 minutes (ZDF, 16 May 2006, 10:15 p.m. in the series “37°”; rerun on 14 June 2006, 12:30 p.m.)
Being a surrogate mother is prohibited by law – that’s what the lawbooks say. Yet the black market flourishes in the anonymity of the internet. That’s where Hildegard and Anton ran into Sarah. The conception of their child took place in a toilet with the help of an enema syringe. Hildegard and Anton don’t tell a soul about this, not even their parents. The child is supposed to see the light of day in the utmost secrecy.
As for Sarah, who receives a considerable sum of money for acting as a surrogate mother, she too hides her pregnancy from her parents. She knows that they would never agree to this. Sarah relates the terms of the contract she has negotiated with Anton and makes an effort to suppress any kind of emotional relationship to the baby in her womb. It’s not as easy as it sounds, because she is the baby’s genetic mother. For better or worse. At last the time comes when delivery is imminent.
Yet when the yearned-for call on the phone finally rings at Hildegard and Anton’s that “The baby’s born”, the scheduled changing-of-hands doesn’t take place. Hilde and Anton have apparently been taken in by a swindler. It never becomes clear whether Sarah ended up wanting to keep the baby or sold the child to another couple: The surrogate mother is nowhere to be found. Hildegard and Anton don’t want to chance the risk of a fraud like that again. They decide to look for a surrogate mother in the Ukraine and find one in Kiev. Surrogate mothership is permitted in the Ukraine, which has led to the existence of a downright tourism business in surrogate mothership there. Ole and Ingrid already made the trip to Kiev months ago too in order to find a surrogate mother for their baby. The couple is convinced that they are not doing anything wrong.
With most surrogate motherships, the ovum comes from a woman who is a complete stranger. Technically speaking, only the man is the child’s genetic “parent” as a result of his donated sperm. In the case of Ingrid and Ole, they see this completely differently. Genetically the child is 100% theirs; all the surrogate mother did was to carry it until birth. At the notary she signs over all the rights to the baby to Ole and Ingrid. Overjoyed, Ole and Ingrid travel back to Germany with their child, who has been officially verified as their natural-born child before they set off.
Diana and Steffen find their surrogate mother in South Africa. Surrogate motherships are legal there, too. The insemination is performed at a clinic. Diana and Steffen deal frankly with the planned surrogate mothership situation and have already told their families, neighbours and colleagues at work about it. They are convinced that the German authorities for juveniles can’t do a thing about it when they adopt the baby pursuant to South African law.
“37°” tells of the 3 couples and poses questions about the responsibility for a child born via surrogate mothership. When a child learns of its different mothers, finding its own identity can prove to be a lifelong problem.
Video (approx. 10 min(German))
Screenplay and Director:Valentin Thurn
Camera: Rainer Friedrich, Hans Hausmann, Wladimir Galitski
Editor: Dorothee Plass
Executive Producer: Brigitte Klos
Narrator: Richard Hucke
A production of Valentin Thurn Filmproduktion
commissioned by ZDF, 2006