D-baby—a new Australian play about donor conception

Submitted on: August 16, 2017

Australian playwright Jane Cafarella (author of e-baby, about the relationship between an intended parent and the surrogate she hires in the US) has a new play in development – d-baby –  which answers the question raised in e-baby: “But what about the child?”

d-baby is the story of a 17-year-old-girl who discovers she is donor conceived and sets out to search for her donor.  It is the companion piece to e-baby and a stand-alone piece, not a sequel. The play currently is in development and has the support of a director, but is looking for a producer – and an audience.

d-baby is a mythic  tale about the universal search for identity that draws parallels between how the Gods in Greek mythology played with the lives of humans, and how the technology enabled by the medical community plays with the lives of humans today. Set in present-day Boston, Massachusetts, it is about coming of age in an era when, for many people, it is increasingly complex and difficult to answer the basic human question: who am I?

As with e-babyd-baby presents both sides of the debate through the different perspectives of the characters. Both plays are set in the United States, as the commercial gamete-trading industry and the resulting religious dilemmas provide greater potential for dramatic conflict – and a cautionary tale for what might happen in other countries if commercial donor-conception is legalised.

A play featuring fictional characters but based on real events also allows the issue to be presented and discussed without having to expose and distress real people. The play aims to entertain as well as enlighten.

Jane chose to write a play rather than an essay or a journalistic article because the issue can be more fully explored in a play, which allows the audience to empathise with the characters and become emotionally involved in the story.  Theatre also has the power to transform an audience through a shared experience.

Her interest in donor conception stems from reporting these issues in the 1990s and from her own experiences of grief and loss through her fractured family.

What do you think about the idea of a play on donor conception? Would you go to see such a play or help promote it? If you would like to comment, please contact Jane at jane.cafarella@gmail.com.