Ahead of the anniversary of the world’s first baby born via in vitro fertilization, July 25, 1978, and 40 years since the birth of the first American infant born through IVF, Lifetime announces Switched Before Birth, a moving story about two women’s fertility journeys, starring Justina Machado (One Day at a Time, Family Pictures) and Skyler Samuels (Scream Queens, The Gifted and American Horror Story: Freak Show). Inspired by IVF stories of actual couples, the powerful film follows two strangers whose paths intersect and become forever intertwined following their IVF procedures. Directed by Elisabeth Rohm, author of Baby Steps: Having the Child I Always Wanted, Switched Before Birth delves into the complicated subject of the federally unregulated fertility industry and fertility challenges that many women around the world are facing as they try to build their families.
Switched Before Birth follows Olivia Crawford (Samuels) and her husband Brian (Bo Yokely), who after multiple miscarriages, numerous failed IVF trials and stretching themselves to the limit financially, finally receive the joyous news that she’s pregnant with twins. While going through her latest round of IVF, Oliva meets and became fast friends with Anna Ramirez (Machado), who is struggling to have a child after years of focusing on her successful restaurants. When Anna becomes pregnant as well, the ladies celebrate and begin to prepare for their babies. Olivia is also there for Anna when she suffers a devastating miscarriage and struggles to move forward while her marriage to restaurateur Gabe Ramirez (Yancey Arias) crumbles. When Olivia and Brian finally welcome their twins Olivia’s life feels complete, but the happy couple’s world is turned upside down when they discover that not only are the babies not twins, but one of the babies is also biologically Anna and Gabe’s that was implanted into Olivia by mistake. Now pitted against each other, Olivia will do anything to keep the baby that she carried, while Anna will stop at nothing to bring her son home.
Switched Before Birth marks a reunion for Elisabeth Rohm and Justina Machado, who both worked on Lifetime’s Family Pictures, based on the bestselling novel of the same name. Rohm also recently made her directorial debut with Girl in the Basement as part of Lifetime’s Broader Focus initiative, which champions hiring women both in front of the camera and in key production roles. Author, director, actress, advocate, and co-founder of The RESPECT Project, Elisabeth Rohm brings a unique perspective to the topic as she has worked with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. In addition, she’s shared her personal fertility journey while blogging for People.com and in her book Baby Steps.