Ian is a West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran. His partner Troy is a successful kidney doctor. They are an interracial couple living in Denver, Colorado, together for six years, and ready to take the next step in their relationship… creating a family. But what do two loving, committed gay men do if they want to have children and don’t want to adopt? They use the marvels of today’s science. This couple is about to embark on a life-changing, eye-opening journey that is equal parts love, determination, science, and hope.
The plan is to use two eggs from Ian’s sister LeAndra and fertilize them with Troy’s sperm. These fertilized eggs will be implanted into Kelli, a married 31-year-old mother of three. Contracts have been signed, promises made, and the science is about to begin. Currently, both the surrogate and the egg donor are taking hormones so that their cycles will be in sync for egg retrieval, fertilization, and implantation later this month.
But this journey is not without risks. All pregnancies are complicated, especially ones that depend on implantation. It is possible the eggs could split, creating more children. The surrogate has committed to carrying up to three babies to term, but if the eggs split further, a new dilemma will present itself. Another possibility is that the eggs do not implant in the uterus and the process will have to be repeated. At each step, communal decisions and agonizing choices may need to be made by the parents, the surrogate, and her family.
More Than a Village will take an eye-opening look at two men’s journey as they attempt to procreate in the 21st century. The couple has already been turned down by other surrogacy agencies because of their sexual orientation—but their determination is steadfast. I plan to document their unique process of procreation from start to finish, capturing the egg harvesting, in vitro fertilization, pregnancy, complications, birth of the children, and everything in between.
The film will also look closely at the surrogate’s life. Her selfless act is not one taken lightly. No doubt it will be difficult for her to carry a life to term, as she has done three times before, yet not have the baby become a new part of her family. The pregnancy will also affect her husband and three young children as well; after all, how does one explain to a small child that the new baby will not be coming home with them?
The relationship that will develop between Ian, Troy, Ian’s sister, the surrogate, and her family, will be an amazing journey. Together, they are about to enter undocumented territory at the frontiers of modern science and social change.
More Than a Village will be a film at the intersection of engaging storytelling, visual artistry, and vital subject matter. Quite simply, a story like this one has never been told before, and the subject material is of vital relevance to the present moment. Our society is currently poised between acceptance and rejection of homosexuality as an acceptable orientation on par with traditional marriage. Our media continues to portray homosexual men as stereotypes: feminine, flamboyant, and sexually promiscuous. As a result, millions of Americans believe same-sex couples, especially gay men, do not offer the necessary parental structure for raising children. Today, in over half the states, homosexual couples are still not allowed to adopt children.
More Than a Village will show these stereotypes are false. Ian and Troy are traditionally “masculine” men, one a war veteran, the other a life-saving physician, committed to one another for the long-term and ready to start a family. They are amazing, successful, caring men who deserve the same rights that heterosexuals enjoy.
At the same time, Ian and Troy are not saints or caricatures: they are real men with deep emotions who will be undergoing an adventure that entails hope, fear, dedication, and love. In personality, Ian is stoic and easy-going, while Troy is sarcastic, quick-witted, and hilarious. At the same time, the surrogate mother will undergo many of the same emotions while seeking to help two strangers begin a family.
I am certain that audiences will fall in love with these subjects, rooting for them through the process. What is more engaging than watching a gripping journey that ends with the creation of new life? This story is guaranteed to be moving, socially relevant, and beautiful.
- (31 days)