Cutting Edge – Addicted to Surrogacy Review: Wife Swap + Juno =….

March 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

CUTTING EDGE – ADDICTED TO SURROGACY, Channel 4, Mon 9th March, 9:00pm Alert Me

And there I was thinking my coffee addiction was bad.

The next time I’m on my 17th double-shot latte and my colleagues are firing me those damning 12-step stares, I’ll just point them in the direction of Carole Horlock – coined here as the World’s Most Prolific Surrogate. After carrying 12 babies for other people, she may not officially own a shiny Guinness Book of Records Medal, but I challenge anyone to argue her uterus doesn’t at least deserve one.

And on top of all of that? She’s aiming for her 13th. Ouch.

Cutting Edge’s latest documentary – Addicted To Surrogacy – explores the widespread stigma surrounding the Crazy Wom… I mean ‘Surrogates’, and the somewhat bizarre relationships that blossom (or in some cases sour) between the Oven (mum) and the Chef (biological parents). With two often strong female characters fighting for superiority, a whole heap of hormones flying around and an almost continually fluctuating power struggle, this is more like Wife Swap: The Baby Years than you’d probably initially suspect.

That isn’t to say that this is trash television though, with a surprisingly tender, unsurprisingly maternal eye cast across the whole affair. Most intriguing of the families followed is Surrogate-Virgin Amanda’s first-time carrying for Mr Burns look-alike Steven and his basket-case Russian wife Olga. A woman so highly strung you can’t help but assume her kid will be a Bubble Boy before it turns 4.

God help their future boyfriends/girlfriends.

The dynamic between Olga and Amanda is fascinating, and as Olga reprimands Amanda’s own children for their attempts at doodling, you can see the flicker of doubt and reprehension behind Amanda’s eyes as to whether she’s doing the right thing or not in giving ‘her’ child away.

It’s like viewing Juno through decidedly English eyes.

Add to them an aging, mildly delusional surrogate who’s desperately clinging onto her one reason for living in the face of a withering reproductive system, the World’s Most Prolific Surrogate, the brutal (expensive) realities that both parties have to deal with, and a heart-stopping, complicated birth and you’ve got some decent Monday night telly.

Matt Risley