'A Surrogate's Nightmare' Uses A Common Trope

by Kayla Hawkins

If Lifetime has taught me anything after decades of producing original movies, it's that doing someone a favor is always a bad idea — you never know what disaster a simple gesture of good faith can bring. So when kind, bereaved Angela offers to carry a baby for her younger sister Shelley in one of the network's latest original movies, you know there's going to be some serious drama. But is A Surrogate's Nightmare based on a true story of a good deed done wrong? While Lifetime has ripped the plotlines of its films right out of the headlines in the past, that's not the case here, as there's no specific story of a surrogate situation gone wrong that it used as inspiration.

And while there have been some reports of real women who had negative experiences as surrogates, none share similarities with this melodramatic thriller. So if anything about the fictional A Surrogate's Nightmare feels familiar to you, it's likely because at this point, movies about pregnancy/surrogacy/adoption gone wrong have practically become a genre of their own — especially on Lifetime. Here are just a few examples of such films that came before its latest entry in the genre.

The Surrogacy Trap & The Surrogate

Both of these are pretty similar: they're Lifetime original movies about couples who hire gestational surrogates to help them conceive, and they both feature a surrogate who is (spoiler alert) revealed to be an unhinged murderer.

Jane The Virgin

This CW telenovela is about a virgin who is accidentally artificially and if that's not complicated enough, the baby's father is her former crush who also happens to be a wealthy hotel scion and her boss. The situation doesn't take a horrifying turn the way A Surrogate's Nightmare does, but Jane can't seem to catch a break or her breath ever since this accidental impregnation.

A Deadly Adoption

This goofy spoof of Lifetime's usual fare actually wound up being far more straightforward than it seemed, with Kristen Wiig and Will Farrell playing a couple who take in the woman carrying the baby they plan to adopt.

Baby M

This ABC miniseries tells the real story of Melissa Stern, who was born via surrogate and became the center of a 1988 custody battle.

When The Bough Breaks

In this 2016 film (which came out in theaters, rather than on Lifetime), a couple's surrogate basically seduces them into thinking everything is fine, before revealing herself to be, essentially, a horror movie monster.

Sorority Surrogate

In this Lifetime movie, it's neither the surrogate nor the future parents that are the villains so much as... mortality, I suppose? In the grand tradition of the "People Who Don't Expect a Baby Being Forced to Care for a Baby" genre (other examples include Life as We Know It, Three Men and a Baby, etc.), when the baby's parents die unexpectedly, the college student who was carrying their child is forced to figure out who will ultimately take custody.

So if you really enjoy A Surrogate's Nightmare, there's plenty more where that came from — especially on Lifetime.