Movie Review: The Sinister Surrogate
The Sinister Surrogate is a 2018 drama and thriller film that stars Brian Ames and Kelly Thiebaud. The movie features a perfect couple Danielle and Josh having everything in their lives: a beautiful house and successful lives. Despite this, there is one thing that the couple feels like missing: a child. They had multiple attempts to start a family, however, it all ended up in failure, giving them the chance to go for surrogacy route. While on their surrogacy journey, they meet Kailee, their perfect candidate as a surrogate. She is cheerful and lively and her pregnancy goes along smoothly. All is well, until after she gives birth.
Kailee the surrogate kept on coming to Danielle and Josh’s family surprisingly offering them different gifts. Although this is supposed to be normal, Danielle can't help but feel there's something dark lurking behind Kailee the surrogate. This left the couple unsettled thinking that perhaps she felt attached to their daughter. As the story progress, it is revealed Kailee’s plan is to take Danielle and Josh’s daughter and claim her as her own.
In the first act, the movie examines how couples choose surrogacy as an option after unsuccessful fertility treatments. When Kailee was picked as the ideal surrogate candidate for the Danielle and Josh, the latter are very supportive and engaged throughout the pregnancy. In reality, intended parents are allowed to attend pregnancy appointments (though not birthing classes), and the delivery of their surrogate.
One major issue portrayed in the movie is the contact by Kailee post-pregnancy. In reality, while many parties can continue to have contact after the delivery, others choose to have no contact with their surrogate post-pregnancy. There is no indication in this movie that the parties addressed contact after delivery in their gestational surrogacy contract. If Danielle and Josh were clients of Tsong Law Group, they would have had a section in the surrogacy contract on permissible contact. This section would allow either party to cease contact in writing, and hold the other in breach. It should also be noted that there is no legal uncertainty about who is the parent. Kailee should have signed paperwork that relinquishes and waives all her claims to claim parental rights and stipulated to a judgment that Danielle and Josh are the parents.
One thing that is also disappointing in the movie was the ability of the agency to put a stop to Kailee’s plan but failed to do so. Kailee’s interference would have been prevented only if the agency had properly screened Kailee in the first instance. It is apparent that Kailee has never given birth before. Under ASRM guidelines, surrogates must have experience delivering babies so that the doctors know they are ideal candidates without complicated deliveries. I am unaware of any U.S. agencies that allow surrogates who have not given birth. Even had she were qualified, Kailee would have undergone a psychological screening to assess whether she had any mental illnesses or understood her role as a surrogate or would be attached to a child. Further, she should have had her own separate attorney to review the surrogacy contract, ensuring she understood her role as the surrogate, understood permissible contact, and understood she had a right to receive psychological support during the journey.
Assistance from the agency during the journey would also be warranted. Agencies often provide support group meetings as well as psychological assistance. If Kailee was surrounded by surrogates who understood their role, and had to discuss how she felt, she might have appropriate feelings for the child she was carrying, or perhaps red flags would be raised to show she needed more psychological assistance.
If you’re into thrillers or dramas, The Sinister Surrogacy is a movie still a miss. Perhaps not surprising, the movie is another by-the-numbers that calls on the trope of the obsessive surrogate who wants the baby, though the actors playing Danielle and Josh do a good job. Although the movie depicts a bit of what happens in reality in the first scenes of the movie, it veers into camp with the all-too familiar storyline of the obsessed surrogate.
We don’t think that The Sinister Surrogacy is realistic and the concept of the surrogate wanting to claim the baby is extremely overblown in movies. However, whether you are an intended parent or a surrogate, you should always have competent, experienced counsel for your journey, who can answer all your questions. Contact us today.