The Oprah Effect in My Life

And so after 25 years, Oprah Winfrey says farewell to daytime television. Yet the phrase "leaving nothing but the memories" will never be linked with Oprah. Someday, I suspect, there will be studies and statistics revealing just how many lives Oprah, and by extension, Dr. Oz and others have touched, improved and even saved.

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And so after 25 years, Oprah Winfrey says farewell to daytime television. Yet the phrase "leaving nothing but the memories" will never be linked with Oprah. Someday, I suspect, there will be studies and statistics revealing just how many lives Oprah, and by extension, Dr. Oz and others have touched, improved and even saved.

Mine is one such life. My daughter Sophie, now 11, was born as the result of an Oprah segment on surrogacy that inspired my gestational carrier to volunteer to share her womb and give Sophie life.

I have written about my heart attack back eight years ago. What many don't know is that back in 1994, when pregnant with my son, I experienced a TIA (transient ischemic attack); essentially a 24-hour stroke, when I was 28 weeks into the pregnancy.

Following two previous miscarriages, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called anticardiolipin antibody syndrome. It is typically known as a condition where the body clots off the placenta resulting in loss of the pregnancy; in rare instances it can be life-threatening to the mother as well.

That would be me: TIA accompanied by a clot thrown to a fallopian tube that ended with an emergency C-section, seriously ill premature (10 weeks early!) newborn. The doctors' recommendations were that I not have more children.

A few years later I would learn of surrogacy, find an incredible local agency, and become the mother of the first test-tube baby born to a gestational carrier at my doctor's infertility lab. (Gestational carrier is the term used when the fetus comes from the genetic parents.  Surrogacy refers to the birth mother donating her own egg). Yet none of this could not be possible had a woman in a small farming community in Western Kansas had not seen and been inspired by Oprah.

Oprah is now an integral part of our family's story of how Sophie came to be. The show may be over, but the legacy lives on. Thank you, Oprah!

Blog written by Audrey Kunin, MD
Dr. Audrey Kunin is a board-certified dermatologist, author, clinician, educator and President of DERMAdoctor, Inc. Dr. Kunin...