Made in Boise

Made in Boise

  • BY Beth Aala | IN Women & Girls
    Premiered October 28, 2019

About the Film

In the idyllic city of Boise, nurses, nail technicians, and stay-at-home mothers are choosing to become paid surrogates for people from around the world. Made in Boise offers a rare glimpse into this mysterious world by intimately following the lives of four surrogates, as they build relationships with the intended parents, prepare for the rigors of pregnancy, and navigate the mixed feelings of their own families, who struggle to understand their choice to risk the physical and emotional complications of carrying babies for someone else. MORE

Legal in some states and illegal in others, a number of states, including Idaho, have no laws governing surrogacy on their books at all. As the number of surrogate births surge across the country, Boise has become an epicenter of the movement, with a large population of healthy women of reproductive age and a significant number of Mormon and Catholic communities who value large families. In this "City of Trees" with a population of a little over 200,000, it is estimated that one in 15 mothers will carry a baby for a stranger at some point in her life. For couples who struggle with infertility, for gay couples, and single men, this industry — outlawed in many countries around the world — is often the last resort to biological parenthood.

The Filmmakers

Beth Aala (Director) is a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer and recipient of a Peabody Award for her documentary work at HBO. Beth’s most recent feature documentary, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman (Sundance, 2017), which she co-directed and produced, is a film about unlikely conservationists based on New York Times best-selling author Miriam Horn’s book of the same name. Beth also directed and produced Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (Toronto, 2014) with comedian Mike Myers for A&E IndieFilms. The documentary is an intimate and entertaining portrait of talent manager Shep Gordon, the most famous man you’ve never heard of. It won a Hollywood Film Award and garnered a 2015 News and Documentary Emmy Awards nomination. Her directorial debut, Pool Party, is the untold story of McCarren Pool-turned-music venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, featuring music and performances by the Beastie Boys, the Breeders, M.I.A, Sharon Jones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo. It played in festivals around the world.

Beth Levison (Producer) is an Emmy and Peabody-winning producer/director based in New York with a track record of delivering films to public television. Levison produced the Emmy-nominated film Personal Statement (PBS, 2018), a feature-length documentary about three high school seniors who fill the college guidance gap in their under-resourced schools. She also produced The Trials of Spring (PBS, 2019), a cross-media project including a feature-length documentary and six shorts about women human rights activists in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. Levison’s additional independent producing credits include 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide, about director Hope Litoff’s efforts to come to terms with the mental illness and suicide of her sister (HBO, 2017), and her documentary directorial debut LEMON (PBS, 2011).  Levison is the founder of Hazel Pictures, a co-founder of the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA), producing faculty with the School of Visual Arts MFA program in Social Documentary Film, and as of 2019, a member of AMPAS. LESS

Film Credits

Produced by
Beth Levison

Directed and Produced by
Beth Aala

Executive Produced by
Sally Jo Fifer
Lois Vossen
Maiken Baird

Cinematography by
Jenni Morello

Music by
Melisa McGregor

Film Edited by
Jen Fineran

Supervising Producer
Amy Shatsky

Story Producer
Alex Pitz

Design & Animation
Molly Schwartz

Animation Producer
Jen Glabus

St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center
Angela Campbell, RN
Lisa Carlson
Peg Dougherty
Laura Fischer
Megyn Flood, RN
Brandi Gallaher, LCSW
Shelly Jensen, RN
Debra Ketchum, RN
Anita Kissée
Rachael Knuteson, RN
Sharlene McGrew, RN
Dana McKee, RN
Natalie H. Levin, RN
Kayli Lewis, RN
Cheryl Martin
Stacy Patterson, RN
Kadie Randel, RN
Tamara Rolan, CNM
Stacy Seyb, MD
Kyla Shaver, RN
Melissa Ward, RN
Hilary Warren, MD
Dixie Weber, RN

Story Consultants
Deborah Dickson
Susan Froemke

Consulting Producer
Caroline Waterlow

Spain Producer | Additional Camera
Maria Gisèle Royo

Taylor Roy
Jamaica Ruiz

Drone Operator
Becky Beachum

Post Facility
Cozy Post

Rob Burgos, CSI

Sound Edit | Mix
Mark McAdam

Additional Editing
Colleen Flanagan

Ariel Martian
Solgil Oh

Additional Graphics
Solari Creative

Birth Photography
Crystal Kulack

Assistant Editors
Max Hartman
Jaclyn Lee
Alex Pirrone
Amanda Rosado

Production Assistants
Veronique Engel
Vi Nguyen
Yang Yang

Map Information Courtesy of
Creative Family Connections LLC

World Sales
metfilm sales

Legal Services
Documentary Film Legal Clinic at UCLA Law

Additional Legal Support Provided by
Talla Al Khafaji
Marc Norman
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, University of Idaho College of Law
Katie Townsend
Caitlin Vogus

Samantha Garland

Paula Astorga
Brian Inocencio
Adielenah Perez

Archival Materials
Boise State Public Radio

Music Score
Main title orchestration by Steve Bartek
Mixed by Noah Snyder
Orchestra performed by F.A.M.E.’S Orchestra, Macedonia
Conductor Oleg Kantradenko

Additional Musicians
Solo guitar by Pelle Hillstrom
Solo piano by Irina Bazik Hurwitz

Additional Music by
Mark McAdam

“On Your Way Now”
Written by Mark McAdam
Performed by Sharon Van Etten
Courtesy of Jagjaguwar & Superhead Songs

Special Thanks
Maynard Aala
AWHONN, Association for Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses
Robert Bahar
Alisha Beverly
Boise Food Co-op
Lindsay Borjessan
Lisa Carlson
Chris Cechin
Deirdre Connolly
Christine Del Duca
Flavia de Souza
Sophia & Romeo Diaz
Jorge Dominguez
Lesley Durfee & Family
Danny Elfman
Madeline Feingold
Marcia Franklin
Beth & Gary Germann
Mark Germann
Nico & Noel Germann
Mina Guerra
Dusti Hall & Family
Heritage Hall
Justin Hall
Lloyd Hess
Missy Hess
Diane Hinson

Zeke Hutchins
i9 Sports League
Idaho Center for Reproductive Medicine
Negin & Josh Kamali
Liza King
Kristen Lawson
OGA Idaho Clinic
Rachel Oliver, MD
Alberto Oñate
Maribel Oñate Cordon
Adria Palmer
Tom Patterson
Matt Peccini
Kiran Perkins, MD
Ron Pisaneschi
Michelle Puccinelli
Pedro Simon Ruiz
Miren Sanchez
Amy Schatz
E. Donna Shepherd
Henry, Ben & Gabe Sidel
Molly Small
Kara Thompson
Laird Townsend
Rebecca Vahle
Amy Woydziak & Family

Fiscal Sponsor

Production Support Provided by

Funding Provided by
International Documentary Association Enterprise Documentary Fund
New York State Council on the Arts
Chicken & Egg Pictures
Daryl Roth

Original Series Funding Provided by
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Wyncote Foundation
The National Endowment for the Arts

This film is dedicated to Linda Hess, Grandma Esther, Grammy, Lola Inay & Lola Trining.

Made in Boise is a co-production of PINAY PICTURES, INC. and INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE (ITVS), with funding provided by the CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING (CPB), in association with GagaOoLala.

This film was produced by Pinay Pictures, Inc., which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2019 Pinay Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Did watching this film change your views on surrogacy? What was the most eye-opening aspect of Made in Boise? Would you be a surrogate or have you known someone who's a surrogate? Do you know the difference between a gestational and traditional surrogacy?


  • News & Documentary Emmy Award
    Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary (Nominee)


Please review our comment guidelines.
Did watching this film change your views on surrogacy? What was the most eye-opening aspect of Made in Boise? Would you be a surrogate or have you known someone who's a surrogate? Do you know the difference between a gestational and traditional surrogacy?