Medical Controversies: Nicole

Medical Controversies: Nicole
Dr. Phil talks to a woman who wants to be a surrogate for another couple, despite her husband's objections.
"I have two children and I'm very content with my family. Now I would like to carry a baby for a friend of mine who couldn't have children," says Nicole, who's considering becoming a gestational surrogate. "I think the best gift in the world is to be able to hand somebody their own biological child."

Her husband, Bryan, is against her decision. "I thought it was a crazy idea. Nicole has only known this lady for a couple of years. I might feel a little bit better if I knew the people, but I've never even met them."

Nicole tried to explain her feelings in writing and asked Bryan to do the same. "He had 27 different reasons why he didn't want me to do a surrogacy," she reveals.

Among Bryan's fears are if the parents get killed in a car accident, Nicole having a miscarriage or their other children being impacted negatively. "My number one concern about Nicole being a surrogate mother is at the end of the nine months, simply giving the child away," he adds.

Wanting Bryan's support, Nicole says, "How can I get my husband to understand that I am not crazy for wanting to be a surrogate mother?"
"I don't think it's crazy to want to give this gift to someone that can't do it. I think that's a noble thing to want to do," Dr. Phil tells Nicole, as the audience applauds. "Don't you think this is a joint decision?"

"Yeah, I agree that it's a joint decision," she replies.

Dr. Phil is unconvinced. "Or do you think, 'It's my body and if that's my final decision, I'll make it.'"

Nicole explains, "That's why we're here because I don't want to make this decision on my own. I want him to support me and to be able to accept what I want to do."

"Do you think some of his concerns are valid?" Dr. Phil probes.

Nicole agrees.
Dr. Phil reads a quote from Nicole: "'I desperately want to help these people.' Do you remember saying that?" he asks.

"Yeah."

Dr. Phil stresses, "You don't even know them! She's a co-worker ... Why do you desperately want to help them?"

"I guess it was just out of emotion. I just think it's such a wonderful thing to do. She doesn't have anybody else around her that could do it for her."

Bryan is against his wife becoming a surrogate, but thinks that if he discourages her, she'll resent him. "I would feel much better if I maybe knew the people, but nine months and she's just simply going to give this child away and she says she's not going to be emotionally scarred," he says.
Dr. Phil raises a concern that neither of them have brought up. "We do have a 50 percent divorce rate in America. What if in the next nine months, those two just get at odds with each other and wind up getting a divorce? And it comes time to deliver and they both say, 'I don't want to be a single parent.' Over half of the disputes involved with surrogacy are that the intended parents walk away and do not accept the baby," he points out.

"I've thought of that, although, like I said, we haven't really gotten to an agreeable point to where we can actually pursue it any further," Nicole explains.

Dr. Phil asks about the parents. "Do you know anything about the state of their relationship?" he asks. "Do you know what kind of parental legacy each of them grew up with?"

"I never really got that deep into their background yet because I was trying to get him to accept the idea first," Nicole says, admitting she doesn't know them that well.

When Dr. Phil questions what will happen if she becomes bedridden during her pregnancy and misses work, Nicole says that she and Bryan didn't discuss that. "It just didn't get that far. We got stuck at, 'Hell no,'" she laughs.
"Is it possible that you're making a decision that could put your family in harm's way?" Dr. Phil asks. "Sometimes these feel-good decisions — 'I just want to give the gift of life to some wonderful people' — I don't mean to mock that, but they may not be wonderful people," Dr. Phil says. "Before you get into this kind of deal, I don't even think you are even almost sort of, kind of, maybe close to making this kind of decision. I think you need to ask a lot of questions before you do. And then if you find out that logistically, this situation could work, then I think it's time to sit down and talk with your husband and make a determination as to whether or not this is a gift the two of you want to give, a sacrifice the two of you want to make."

Dr. Phil stresses that he is not against surrogacy under the right conditions. "I just don't think you know whether those exist here or not," he tells Nicole. "My advice is to absolutely not go forward with this unless and until you have the answer to just the few questions I asked, and I have a whole lot more. I'm not against surrogacy, but you've got to do your homework first."