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  • Writer's pictureRalph M. Tsong

Documentary Film Review: ‘Baby God’ 


baby god

'Baby God,’ directed by Hannah Olson, explores into the deceptive acts of Dr. Quincy Fortier, a fertility doctor whose actions profoundly affected many lives. Like our previous review of ‘Our Father,’ in which Dr. Donald Cline deceptively used of his own sperm, 'Baby God' explores Dr. Fortier’s deceptive acts over the course of decades. 


Dr. Fortier was highly regarded in the medical community for his expertise in assisting couples struggling with fertility issues; he even established Las Vegas's first women's hospital. His career began in the early 1960s, a time when infertility was a taboo subject, and viable options were scarce. Additionally, the absence of frozen sperm technology, which only became common in the 1980s, further limited available solutions. 


However, beneath his professional façade lay a troubling truth: Dr. Fortier used his own sperm to impregnate numerous of his female patients without their knowledge or consent. 


The documentary presents firsthand testimonies from individuals, often referred to as ‘Fortier's children,’ who discovered their genetic connection to Dr. Fortier through DNA testing. These personal stories shed light on the profound impact of the shocking discovery on their sense of identity and family dynamics. 


‘Baby God’ also features accounts from patients who sought Dr. Fortier's assistance with fertility issues, only to later uncover his deception. Wendi Babst, whose experience is highlighted in the documentary and is among the first interviewed, learned of her numerous genetic matches through DNA testing. Many families similar to Wendi’s share a deep sense of betrayal as they placed their trust in Dr. Fortier's expertise and integrity. 

 


What are the legal aspects of the movie? 

While there is discussion in ‘Baby God,’ of potential legal action or considerations of accountability, the documentary film does not include scenes of individuals consulting lawyers or engaging in legal proceedings. As Dr. Fortier is deceased, it appears his victims have no recourse.  

 


Contrasts in Legal Standards: From Dr. Fortier's Time to Today 

The legal standards regarding assisted reproduction and donor conception portrayed from the mid-to-late 20th century differ significantly from today's standards. During Dr. Fortier's time, donor anonymity was common, and regulations surrounding assisted reproductive technologies were less comprehensive. At the time, no law prohibited the sort of act Dr. Fortier engaged in and donor-conceived individuals faced barriers to accessing information about their genetic origin. 


Today, legal standards emphasize transparency, accountability, and increasing the rights of donor-conceived individuals. Laws in Washington and California among other states grant donor-conceived individuals the right to access medical information about their donors and a potential right to contact them, and ASRM guidelines ensure safety, ethical practice, and the protection of all parties involved in assisted reproduction. Some states have enacted laws that criminalize donor deception.  



Where Is Dr. Fortier Now? 

Dr. Quincy Fortier passed away in 2006, leaving behind a legacy tainted by controversy and ethical scrutiny. He is no longer alive to be held accountable for his actions. However, the questions raised by his unethical behavior continue to resonate within the medical community and society at large, serving as a stark reminder of the importance of ethical standards and accountability in healthcare.  


As viewers reflect on the revelations brought to light in ‘Baby God,’ they are left to contemplate the lasting consequences of Dr. Fortier's actions and the ongoing efforts to ensure transparency and integrity within the field of reproductive medicine. 

 

Should You Watch It? 

While “Baby God” offers a chilling story, the documentary is unfortunately very slow paced. With many transitions and without a set timeline, the exposition jumps from victim to victim and the pacing leaves a lot to be desired. All the content could probably have fit in a half hour show. However, if enjoyed “Our Father” or enjoy learning more about the wild west days of fertility, then “Baby God” is worth a view.  


In the pursuit of parenthood, it's essential to consider all aspects, including legal matters. If you or someone you know is navigating fertility treatments and requires legal guidance, don't hesitate to contact us now. 

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