04 Oct Private Life. The film about infertility you should see!
Private Life is the latest great success you can find on Netflix about infertility. Released in January 2018 at the Sundance Film Festival, this comedy-drama is about the difficulties of a couple from New York in their struggle for pregnancy.
The birth rate in the United States has declined in all age groups, except one: women over 40. And the fact is, we’ve started to normalize that celebrities announce pregnancies at age 45, thus many think there is no problem in delaying motherhood. But the truth is that from the age of 35 and up, the chances of pregnancy decrease. As well as considerably increase the chances of a spontaneous miscarriage or of transmitting genetic abnormalities to the offspring. In addition, from 40 to 44 years, the success rate of in vitro fertilization is usually around 5%.
Infertility is rarely shown on television or movies. And when it is shown, it tends to be a complementary plot in the life of the main characters. But Private Life manages to reflect the drama of a middle-aged couple with reproductive problems and their struggle to have a child.
Private Life argument (contains spoilers)
Rachel and Richard are a couple without children over 40 living in New York who are desperately trying to get pregnant through fertility treatments. The couple undergoes in vitro fertilization when they discover that Richard has a blockage that prevents him from producing sperm. So they must request a loan from his brother for a quick surgery and continue with the process.
At the same time, they try to adopt a child after a previous failed attempt. After the IVF fails, the doctor suggests they could use a younger donor’s egg, which would greatly increase their chances of success. Rachel rejects this idea since she believes that she is being set at the margin of the process, by not contributing with her genetic load. Yet, IVF with donor eggs is her only hope to get pregnant, and so little by little, she begins to consider the idea.
While looking for a donor, Sadie (the stepdaughter of Richard’s brother), appears in their lives. Sadie is a 25-year-old girl who has decided to leave her university career and move to the city to readdress her life. They decide to ask Sadie if she would donate her eggs to them and, surprisingly, she accepts. Sadie feels that this is an opportunity to help them out and at the same time give purpose and sense to her life.
Infertility in Private Life
In the course of the film, the main characters will face all the stages that a couple can encounter during fertility treatments. And at the same time, the vision of the egg donor and their motivations reflected in the young Sadie.
Hormone injections, medications, egg collection, side effects, implantation failures… And not just medical problems. Private Life manages to gracely show the consequences that this process can have on a couple.
It is a story with which many of us can feel identified. Either because we suffer from infertility or because we know someone who struggles with infertility.
Tamara Jenkins, director and writer of the film, also underwent fertility treatments. Jenkins personally went through 10 cycles of IVF, suffered a miscarriage and looked into international adoption process.
In the film, we also see 3 portraits of women at different moments in their lives:
- A fertile young woman in her twenties, who tries to find her place in the world
- A middle-aged woman who sees her fertility in decline
- And a woman with adult children who begins to feel the empty nest syndrome.
What topics are there?
Private Life exquisitely reflects the problems that any couple can face on the road to parenthood. The couple crisis, lack of sex, anxiety, difficulties in treatment, the costs, the relationship with friends and family … The movie was also valued by critics as a metaphor of marriage and a representation of a midlife crisis, connected by the struggle with infertility.
The film shows how painful and difficult infertility can be. Her writer and director achieve an almost perfect balance between drama and humor. This film also raises the viewer questions like: how far should a couple go to have a child? How many attempts are necessary? Is it worth it to keep on trying?
Private Life is a very human movie, funny and a little sad at the same time.
We invite you to see it and share your opinions! Do you know other films that deal with infertility?
Medical Director at Reproclinic
Specialist in Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
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