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This clinic's contest to win a baby may hit close to home for many couples.

People who struggle with infertility need our support.

This clinic's contest to win a baby may hit close to home for many couples.
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Tribeca Film Festival

If you wanted a child and couldn't have one, what measures would you take to make it happen?

Amanda Micheli took an intimate look at this question and couples' quests to have a child in "haveababy," a documentary that centers around patients at a Las Vegas fertility clinic. Each year, the clinic hosts I Believe, a YouTube-based competition that gives one of several hundred couples a chance at undergoing an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment.


OK, we know what you’re thinking. Why on Earth is there a contest to win a baby?

The idea of pitting couples against each other to compete for the opportunity to have a child seems kinda, well, abhorrent, but the reason for entering the contest is understandable. Most of us would probably agree with the founder of the clinic, Geoffrey Sher, and his statement that "For those that say that there shouldn't be a contest, I agree. There should be insurance. But that's not how the world works."

Infertility is not uncommon, and if you desperately want children but don't have tens of thousands of dollars to spare for fertilization treatments or adoption, there aren't a lot of options.

Image via iStock.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6% of married women at peak fertility age are unable to get pregnant after a year of unprotected sex. Contrary to outdated stigmas, about 7.5% of all sexually experienced men under the age of 45 — or about 3.3 to 4.7 million men — reached out to a fertility doctor during their lifetime.

Thanks to some awesome breaks in medicine, couples who have trouble conceiving have a variety of other ways to approach having a child. But just how accessible are these options?

The average cost of a basic IVF treatment starts at about $12,000. That’s not including the extra $3,000 to $5,000 for necessary medications needed during the strenuous process.

With the current American household income at about $51,939, it’s not difficult to understand why couples are looking for different — and less expensive — ways to approach IVF.

It's not only heterosexual couples who struggle with the costs of IVF. Same-sex couples and single want-to-be parents are looking for various options to have a child too, but the daunting price tag makes this journey increasingly difficult.


Image via iStock.

While medicine has certainly made huge strides, many of these options aren’t covered under the majority of health insurance.

The IVF process, which takes upward of six weeks, currently has a per-cycle success rate of roughly 40% for women with top chances of success and 20% to 35% for the average woman. That means that couples may have to go through this costly procedure multiple times.

Currently, the Affordable Care Act does not require coverage for infertility treatments, although 15 states have laws that require varying levels of insurance coverage for infertility treatments.

Adoption, an alternative that some families might consider, also carries a hefty price tag. Families pay an average of $40,121 to adopt a child from a traditional agency.

In addition, the stigmas surrounding infertility, though antiquated, still carry weight in our society’s understanding of the ability to reproduce.

The mental toll of infertility and the accompanying stigmas drain a lot of couples; infertile couples even have a higher rate of divorce. For years, most of the public thought infertility was a women’s issue. Women trying to get pregnant felt a sense of shame and failure, as though they’d somehow failed their biological duties. These stigmas couldn't be further from the truth and make a painful situation even worse for those who already feel shame and frustration because they are unable to start their own family.

The creator of "haveababy," Amanda Micheli, explained to Elle magazine, "As painful as it was for the subjects to put themselves out there, they did it because they wanted to help others understand what it's like to go through this. It's such a misunderstood and isolating experience because nobody talks about it."

To deny a couple that has spent more than a year trying to conceive the opportunity to engage in the joys of parenthood is not only heartbreaking — it’s preventable.

Couples seeking the joy of parenting deserve the opportunity to try and have a child — without having to compete for it. When we support couples in their IVF journeys and find creative ways to help those who can't afford it, we pave the way for a happier society.

That's something we can all get behind.

Amanda Micheli's "haveababy" is being shown at the Tribeca Film Festival as part of its Viewpoints section. Films in Viewpoints take on social issues, zooming in on topics that sometimes feel a little far away from some people but are incredibly close to others.

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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When Donato Di Camillo was a kid, his family couldn't afford film for their Polaroid camera.

So instead, he ran around the house with a film-less camera pretending to be a hotshot photographer on an African safari, mimicking the heroes behind iconic photos he saw in the discarded National Geographic magazines his dad grabbed for him out of the garbage.

Years later, when Di Camillo found himself in prison after collecting a lengthy rap sheet of thefts, he discovered a library full of those same magazines.

While other inmates were working out or getting into trouble, he pored over old issues of National Geographic, Life, and Time.

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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