A new reality show has sparked controversy in the US following the broadcast of its first episode.
Titled Labor of Love, the series – which is hosted by Sex and the City star Kristin Davis – sees 15 men compete to father a child with a woman named Kristy Katzmann.
The first episode, which aired on the Fox network, saw the male contestants immediately asked to provide sperm samples, with Davis stating: “I did not see this coming, no pun intended.”
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The winner of this particular segment was determined by who had the highest sperm count.
Each episode ends with Kristy, 41, deciding which contestant she wants to send home.
Katzmann will name the winner at the end of the series and, in a last-minute twist, will choose to either have a relationship with the victor or use his sperm as a donor.
“It’s a journey where she has every option available to her: falling in love, co-parenting, sperm-donating,” said executive producer Anne Walls.
Speaking to The Los Angeles Times ahead of the series, the 41-year-old – who is a former Bachelor contestant – said: “I thought the baby would fall into place – I’d meet the right person, we’d start a family. But when I turned 40 those alarms were really going off. I think a lot of women are in the same position as me.
“So, what maybe seems outlandish at the start is actually a really relatable story.”
Viewers expressed their shock over the show’s premise on Twitter.
“A man just received top status for having the highest sperm count of all the men competing for the chance to impregnate a woman – this is a TV show on a network in 2020; we don’t deserve to survive,” one person wrote.
Another person called it the “craziest” reality show they’d ever seen, while one person tweeted: “Can we talk about this new show Labor of Love? Someone please tell me that I am NOT the only one totally appalled. Did we not learn our lessons from all the failed Bachelor/Bachelorette relationships? Now we’re getting someone pregnant? No. Stop it. Stop.”
The series, which was filmed in early 2019, continues in the US every Thursday. A UK air date is yet to be announced.