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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Test Tube Babies

Stream now or tune in Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

IVF example

Credit: DrKontogianniIVF / CC0 / Public Domain

Above: IVF example

This film is currently available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport.

For ages, the prospect of conceiving a human being in a laboratory seemed ripped from the pages of science fiction. Then, in 1978, everything changed.

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE “Test Tube Babies,” from filmmakers Chana Gazit and Hilary Klotz Steinman, tells the story of doctors, researchers, and hopeful couples who pushed the limits of science and triggered a technological revolution in human reproduction. In so doing, they landed at the center of a controversy whose reverberations continue to this day.

Trailer | Test Tube Babies

When the first human egg was fertilized in a lab in 1944, the news spread like wildfire; the press quickly coined the term “test tube baby.”

Much like the current debate over stem cell research and its applications, "the battle over in vitro fertilization (IVF) drew in scientists, social activists, religious leaders, lawmakers and everyday Americans," says Gazit. "More than a scientific debate, it was a philosophical and moral struggle."

Despite the controversy, scientists refused to give up their pursuit and today more than 400,000 babies have been born in America as a result of in vitro fertilization, and more than two million around the world.

Chapter 1 | Test Tube Babies

This one-hour documentary tells the story of doctors, researchers, and hopeful couples who pushed the limits of science and triggered a technological revolution in human reproduction.

"IVF revolutionized reproductive science," says executive producer Mark Samels. "It has changed the lives of thousands of Americans and offered new hope for families around the globe."

“action-packed drama” -The New York Times

“intriguing” -The Wall Street Journal

Watch On Your Schedule:

This film originally aired in 2006 and is currently available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport.

Films are available for streaming on demand for a limited time after broadcast. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

Join The Conversation:

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and you can follow @AmExperiencePBS on Twitter. #AmericanExperiencePBS

Credits:

Steward/Gazit Producitons, Inc. for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Written by Chana Gazit. Produced/ Directed by Chana Gazit & Hilary Klotz Steinman. Edited by David Steward. Cinematography: Erich Roland. Eddie Marritz, Stephen McCarthy and Peter Nelson. Music by Mark Suozzo. Narrated by Blair Brown. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a production of WGBH Boston. Senior producer Sharon Grimberg. Executive producer Mark Samels.

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