Terms like “baby bump” and “yummy mummy” have become part of everyday language, signalling a new era of marketing around making babies.
This week, Canada’s #1 documentary series explores a darker underbelly in the pursuit to give birth, uncovering a world in which modern science has run into a world of private deals, while changing the fate of childless couples facing infertility.
W5 examines controversial new reproductive options – everything from the trade in human eggs, embryos and sperm, to shady surrogacy arrangements, that desperate couples are turning to in their attempt to have a family.
W5’s Paula Todd presents “Baby Business” premiering Saturday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV. Also in this episode, W5 investigates the illegal trade of contraband cigarettes, a burgeoning underground industry that costs the Canadian government billions of dollars in lost revenue.
W5 repeats Sunday, Jan. 30 at 12 noon on CTV and at 1 p.m. ET on CP24, and Monday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery, and then on demand on the CTV News Video Player at CTV.ca (visit CTV.ca for local listings).
In Baby Business, W5 speaks to several Canadians who are navigating the booming industry of reproductive technology in their quest to conceive. W5 speaks to “Secaly” – her online name – who has spent $27,000 seeking a “perfect” egg donor with perfect genetic traits so she can have the perfect child – a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl.
In 2004, Canada passed The Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which outlaws payment for human eggs, sperm and surrogacy services. With the threat of a hefty $500,000 fine, or a jail sentence of up to 10 years the law attempted to regulate the new field of reproductive medicine but has driven Canadians underground or to other countries.
W5 explores the case of one such couple, Rachel and Cory. Six years ago Rachel was deemed unlikely to conceive. But she and her partner became “reproduction tourists,” traveling to the Czech Republic, where for $5,000, she had two anonymous Czech eggs implanted.
Fertilized by Cory, one of the eggs grew and nine months later their daughter, Violet, was born. For those who can’t afford to travel abroad, there is a thriving online marketplace where the basic ingredients of human life can be bought – for a price.
In its second story, W5 investigates the illegal trade of contraband cigarettes. Every year hundreds of millions of cigarettes are smuggled from native reserves – where they are sold legally to Aboriginals – and onto the streets of Canadian cities.
This trade in non-taxed smokes costs governments billions of dollars in lost revenue. Illegal cigarettes are sold through convenience stores and as W5 discovered, when the program’s producers went “undercover shopping” using hidden cameras, from the back of pickup trucks and vans.
The investigation follows police as they try to “Smoke Out” the smugglers and seize their contraband. Reporter Victor Malarek also goes to native reserves where many of these cigarettes are made before being smuggled across Canada.