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  • Writer's pictureRalph M. Tsong

Movie Review: The Wrong Mother (2017)

the wrong mother

The Wrong Mother is a drama thriller movie produced by Reel One Pictures in 2017. It stars Vanessa Marcil as Kaylene, Brooke Nevin as Vanessa, and Stephen Snedden as Kaylene's husband Drew.

The movie revolves around Vanessa, who is apparently a nurse, who provides home care to Kaylene, the mother of two who is happily married to commercial pilot Drew after she is a victim of a hit and run. Vanessa soon seeks to usurp Kaylene’s role as mother and wife of Drew while keeping Kaylene drugged and isolated from her family.

the wrong mother

Spoiler alert: Turns out Vanessa is Kaylene’s anonymous egg donor and after Vanessa learns she cannot have children of her own due to lack of egg reserve, she goes crazy, uses her guiles to find out information about her intended parents and plots to upend their lives. (It doesn’t appear to cross Vanessa’s mind she could be an intended parent through egg donation herself.)

Vanessa’s end game is to be the mother of Kaylene and Drew’s kids, and she will go to any lengths to remove anyone who is in the way of her plans.

Legal and Other Accuracy

the wrong mother

I’m not sure any lawyers were consulted in this movie. Vanessa’s actions are operating on the theory that “possession is 9/10th of the law” which is not actually grounded in law at all.

In reality, egg donors sign a contract in which they relinquish all legal rights or responsibilities to any resulting children or embryos. If Vanessa donated eggs in a typical contract situation, she would have her own attorney who would make sure she read the contract and understood it. Vanessa can’t reverse the donation because Kaylene is legally the birth mother as a result of being the natural parent of the child, and being on the birth certificate.

While it is a fear of expressed by some intended parents entering into an egg donation, especially a known donation, that their egg donor might seek to become a parent to the children, I am not aware of any instance of this happening, nor am I aware of any donors replacing intended mothers. Furthermore, egg donors receive psychological and medical screenings and should receive an explanation during those screening exactly what they are doing. Egg donors also understand, via the egg donation contract, that there may be medical and psychological complications as a result of the egg donation and agree to assume those risks.

If you are wondering, there does not appear to be a medical correlation between egg donation and depletion of ovarian reserve.


the wrong mother

We wanted to review this movie because there are a lot of similar movies about surrogacy with the Fatal Attraction formula where the surrogate lives with the family, and tries to seduce the husband and kill/take over the role of the wife, yet this one was about an egg donor, and maybe it would be different in some way. Unfortunately, it isn’t different and its potential “campiness” appeal is limited by its slow-moving pace and Lifetime movie-style predictability.

It would have been an interesting take if Vanessa, upon learning of her own infertility and obtaining information about the children, the movie shifted and considered what would the legal outcome be of an egg donor who makes a claim of maternity via a DNA test (spoiler: she would likely lose). But that would prevent a Cape Fear/Single White Female kind of thriller that The Wrong Mother was aiming for.

The movie is not to be taken seriously. If you are a donor or parent through egg donation with a sense of humor who feels left out that there are a lot of cheesy surrogacy thrillers but almost none about egg donors, check it out and let us know how you feel about the movie.

The movie is available to watch on Freevee on Prime Video.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon without additional research or consulting an attorney. This article is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with the reader.


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