Life often throws us obstacles we’re unable to control. While we may not have the power to prevent these challenges, we can choose how we respond to them. Wendy Litner, the creator and writer of How to Buy a Baby, is taking this approach to life.
On March 1, the teaser for How to Buy a Baby was released online. In this new web series, Litner portrays the widely unrecognized subject of infertility through the lens of comedy. Litner, who personally suffers from infertility and has been undergoing fertility treatments for two and a half years with her husband, hopes the series will educate viewers on the subject while also providing encouragement for those who experience a similar struggle.
How to Buy a Baby follows married couple Jane and Charlie Levy as they cope with the challenges of infertility. The teaser shows the pair enduring in vitro fertilization treatments and unsolicited advice from Debbie, a new mother who believes that diet alteration will result in pregnancy.
The web series aims to raise awareness towards infertility and the billion-dollar treatment industry that surrounds it.
“What we’re trying to do is educate viewers about infertility,” says Tanya Hoshi, U of T alumna and the producer of the web series. “A lot of people don’t know about [infertility] and [How to Buy a Baby] is a good way for people to understand that there’s this entire community of people who are trying to have kids and they are constantly bombarded with unsolicited advice… The world around them is just popping out babies while they’re struggling for one.”
Litner discovered the inspiration for her web series through her blog “SadInTheCity”, in which she posts stories about her life with infertility. After receiving an immense amount of positive feedback and realizing that followers wanted to learn more about the subject, Litner decided to create content that followers could watch as well.
Litner premiered How to Buy a Baby at the Women on Screen’s Web Series Incubator in last November. Women on Screen is an organization dedicated to the representation of Toronto women in the film industry. At the Web Series Incubator, Litner was given the opportunity to showcase her pilot script to an audience.
Since the release of the teaser two weeks ago, Litner has already received an enormous amount of positive feedback from the infertility community and others interested in the series. “The infertility community is overwhelmingly positive and very encouraging and they love this,” Hoshi remarks. With Litner’s personal insight into the subject, How to Buy a Baby promises to give a voice to this underrepresented community.
“Wendy is definitely hoping to encourage people and say, ‘Don’t be discouraged by the world around you and the fact that you’re not getting results.’ She’s hoping [How to Buy a Baby] will be an outlet for [infertile] people to realize that there are others going through the same thing,” Hoshi adds.
Although the topic of infertility is weighty, Litner’s comedic approach is a powerful way of conveying her message. While the endeavors of Jane and Charlie educate viewers on IVF treatments and the impact of infertility on a marriage, the quirky couple also makes us laugh during the process.
“We’re taking a subject that is so delicate and sensitive and not necessarily funny, but we’re trying to get people to laugh at the world around it,” Hoshi says. “I think it’s so important that [How to Buy a Baby] is a comedy. It’s less dramatic and shows less of the bad side [of infertility], which would really only target the people going through this. At least with comedy, everyone can laugh and everyone can enjoy the short episodes. It’s making them laugh and it’s educating them at the same time.”
An important aspect of the web series is that it’s not specifically targeted towards the infertility community. Due to the comedic element, How to Buy a Baby is a series that everyone can enjoy, whether they relate to the content or not. “We want this to be a show that can be enjoyed by everyone because we’re focusing mainly on Jane and Charlie’s marriage through the niche lens of infertility. It’s about the trials and tribulations of marriage. It’s about love, friends, and, of course, family. But we get to look at it through the lens of infertility,” Hoshi says.
Currently, Litner and her production team (including Hoshi and co-producer Priscilla Galvez), are competing for the Independent Production Fund, which will allow them to complete the remaining 14 episodes of the show. Visit How to Buy a Baby on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to support their content.