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The Baby Borrowers: Birth Control or Child Abuse?

The Baby Borrowers premiered on NBC on Wednesday night. The premise of the show is to give teenage couples a real baby to look after, so they can find out exactly what it’s like being parents.

The supposed aim is that teenagers will watch the show, and realize that being a mom or dad is actually much, much harder than they think. This show is especially timely after the recent furore over the 17 pregnant teens in Massachusetts who had an alleged pact to become pregnant and raise their babies together.

The show is modeled after a British show of the same name, and it provoked controversy in Britain over the safety and well being of the babies and children involved. Critics likened The Baby Borrowers to “kidnapping” babies and expressed concern that permanent psychological damage would be done.

NBC say that while the show was filmed, nannies and paramedics were on the set 24 hours a day, the teenagers and babies lived in childproofed houses, and the babies’ parents were present and allowed to intervene for any reason. The teens will look after babies for 3 days.

I lived in Los Angeles when The Baby Borrowers was being cast, and the producers approached a Mom’s group I was a member of, looking for babies to be on the show. Would you volunteer your baby for a show like this?

The teenage girls wore fake pregnant bellies in the first show, and the teenage couple get their babies next week. Then after that, they will try looking after toddlers, teenagers and seniors.

Will you be watching this show? Do you think it will deter teenagers from becoming pregnant? Do you think any potential damage to the babies and children (and seniors!) used outweighs the social good? Or do you think the whole idea is horrendous?

And would you volunteer your child for a show like this? My mom friends, and me – we all said “no”. Actually, it was more like NO NO NO NO! What would you have done?

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