Baby Fever is flared with comedy moments, but the severe tones of reality shine through in the drama.
This review of Netflix’s Baby Fever season 1 does not contain spoilers.
A story about fertility problems should be mounted with sensitivity. In a world where fertility is decreasing, due to a range of reasons that are theorized in many ways, this is surely going to be a regular topic for TV. Baby Fever, a drama-comedy-romance, gets to the heart of the issue, demonstrating the emotions and stresses that come with the female burden of the biological clock.
The main character, Nana (played by Josephine Park), is a fertility doctor who, in a moment of drunken madness, inseminates herself with her ex-boyfriend’s sperm from the sperm bank and spends the rest of the season panicking to explain her pregnancy. Her drunken actions were spurred by learning that she had six months left to become pregnant. She’s entering early menopause. The added spice to the story is that her ex-boyfriend is her lost love — “the one that got away” — Nana is desperate to get him back.
Baby Fever is flared with comedy moments, but the severe tones of reality shine through in the drama. The question of ethics comes to the surface; how a fertility doctor can enter a sperm bank, break data protection laws and inseminate herself with her ex’s sperm. It raises serious questions about the future of sperm donations and how the lucrative medical and family-saving business can remain protected. While the story is understandable from an emotional perspective, it doesn’t hone in enough on the ethical and moral standpoint.
And that’s what makes Nana a complicated character. Josephine Park plays her marvelously, but it’s difficult not to question the authenticity of the character. Keeping her insemination a secret puts her best friend’s job at risk, and then she flirts with the idea of planning sex with two men to try and make her pregnancy look like a timed coincidence. Funny? Yes. But it only makes our feelings towards the character neutral. A character that toys with other people’s lives at the expense of her desire is always questionable, even if it does involve the want of children.
However, it must be said that Baby Fever understands the emotional side of what women, independently and with their loved ones, go through. There are many emotional accounts of women who approach Nana with the stress they endure to conceive; some with supportive partners, others living in complicated matters. The series brings a brave script to encounter as many examples as possible, so it can be applauded for at least doing that.
I thoroughly enjoyed Baby Fever, and while my male perspective struggles to understand whether it hits the nail on the head entirely, I enjoyed the drama and the calamities the main character must endure to keep hedging her secret away.
Audiences will decide whether Baby Fever is a true reflection of the emotional weight of fertility complexities, but from a script perspective, it’s precise and wholesome to watch.
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