Was this contest a gesture of goodwill, or did it exploit the couples who desperately wanted a child?
The Sher Fertility Institute recently held a video contest where prospective parents-to-be entered a video explaining why they deserved a baby, and then their entries were judged by a panel in hopes of receiving a free IVF treatment. Forty-five couples entered, three won — each with their own tale of struggle and heartbreak. Does such a contest speak of generosity and raise awareness of infertility, or is it cruel and exploitative?
Couples were not given specific instructions for entering the contest — they were simply told to submit a video that explained why they were deserving of a baby. The tone, direction and voice of the video were all up to the entrants, but all had a common thread — the desire for a baby, and the inability to have a child on their own. The entries were voted upon by a panel of judges, who sent their favorite entries to the institute. The finalists were judged again, this time by what amounted to a popularity contest on Facebook.
“I was also a participant in this contest but wasn't chosen partly because I already had a child with the help of IVF,” wrote Bobby Franco on the Time website. “Sher Institute should be commended for putting on this contest and giving 45 hopefuls a chance at starting a family instead of being scrutinized for it.”
There haven’t been any reports of hard feelings from the couples who weren’t selected — in fact, most of them reflect Bobby's views in that they were grateful for the opportunity. And it’s no small prize, either — IVF can run around $20,000 a cycle. Hopefully the winners have successful IVF treatments and those who weren’t selected can have their dreams come true, in one way or another.
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