POLL: Choose between your spouse and your soon-to-be-born child (warning -- morbid)

This is a very touchy subject and I’d like to state up front that I cannot fathom having to go through anything like this and my deepest condoloences if this is something that anyone reading has had to go through.
Having said that, here’s the scenario:

Men: You are in the hospital with your pregnant wife who is in delivery. You get escorted out of the room, and a doctor tells you that due to complications, it is impossible for your wife and your child to both survive the delivery. You have to make the decision on who gets to live.

Women: Imagine for a second that men could get pregnant and you are in the same situation and you have to choose between your husbnd and your minutes-away-from-being-born child.
What choice do you make? If you’re going to reply to this, please indicate:

Your gender
Your marital status
If you have any kids
I would choose that my wife lives. I am getting married in a week and I have no kids.

I choose my life, oh wait, US law doesn’t let me have a wife, or make any decisions regarding her welfare.

Without going into the probability of which happens first (legal lesbian marriage/legal union with full legal benefits, or men having babies) I’m gonna paraphrase Bill Cosby. I brought you into this world, I can take you out and make another one just like you.

Despite the crushing agony of losing a child, I would believe that my wife and I could try again for another child, or adopt a child. I couldn’t condemn my life’s partner.

Unless of course she was a bitch, and I was only in it for to use her as a baby factory so’s I could have kidlets.


You wouldn’t have to choose. It is all in God’s hands.

I am a female.
I am married.
I have 2 children that I birthed and 3 stepchildren.

I would save my spouse and I would want him to save me if the situation were reversed.

Somebody’s headed for a pit-meltdown. ^^^
Wife, I’d say. I agree with Whte Ik.

Why is it impossible to make one of these questions without someone making a weaseling-out answer?
I would choose for my wife to live. I am a single male with no kids.

My first comment, was directed at Sunrise.

I forgot, 16 and un-married, last time I checked.

I’m married, male and have two children.

I’d choose my wife. I wouldn’t be comfortable with the decision either way, but that’s the choice I’d make, I think.

I’d pick my spouse. As painful as it would be, I couldn’t ask my husband to die just to save my child.

I’m female, unmarried, and have no kids.


Married male, no kids.

My wife, no question. While the loss of a child would indeed be crushing, the loss of missus jockey would be much worse

I’m engaged, no children yet.

The way I was raised was that you always put your children first. Their lives are more important. I love my boyfriend, but he’s already lived. Maybe not to the fullest, but he’s experienced what life is and had many chances and opportunities. A child that is about to be born has not. There’s just so much I would be depriving that child from if I chose my boyfriend. If the situation were the other way around I’d want him to choose the life of the child over me.

I’m single, childless, and female.
I’m not sure what I would do if I had a pregnant husband. I’d probably choose the child, but it would be really hard either way.
In the event I was the pregnant one (which is obviously a lot more likely) I would want my husband to save the child instead of me. I think it would be hard to live with the guilt of knowing I had sacrificed the child for my own needs. It seems natural for parents to sacrifice for their kids. Besides, I’ve had a good chance to experience life already. I would want to give the child a chance at life too.

Married, female, one child.

Before I answer, I have a question: Can the pregnant person in question get pregnant again? That is, all things being equal is their fertility unaffected?

I would save my husband. On the other hand if it was between me and the baby I’d tell him to save the baby.


Married, female, two living children, one still-born, several miscarriages.

I do not know what I would chose or what I would want my partner to choose if it were my first child. Certainly when our first son was stillborn, I would have died in his place quite happily and I know my father was bitter that his grandson died while he was still alive himself.

Now I have living children, I think I would rather live for them than give them a sibling.

Just out of interest (and without wanting to hijack the thread too far), supposing that there was an unlikely real-life sitaution such as this, where it was really quite certain that only the mother OR child could be saved (and also assuming that there was a minute or two to decide), would the doctors actually ask the next of kin or would they just act to save the adult?

I think doctors usually try to save the one with the most viable chance for survival. Sometimes that’s the mother, sometimes that’s the father.

BTW, FTR I am straight, female (duh!), unmarried and childless.

And I made a typo in my original response, it should have said I would save my Wife, not my life.

I wasn’t trying to weasel, I just don’t respect a bad dichotomy. I fail to see how a lesbian wife cares any more or less for her partner than a straight woman, and I think imagining a pregnant man is a sillier supposition.

I would definitely choose my husband over any unborn child.

If it was me, I would want him to save me instead of the child.

I can always have another. The child can never have another mother.

A bit different from the OP’s specific scenario, Mangetout, but back in the late 80’s there was a highly publicized battle here in New York over a husband’s right to abort his unborn child in an effort to give his comatose wife a better chance of recovery after a severe car accident. He ultimately won that fight, IIRC arguing at the time that he preferred to have his wife alive so they might try again for another child, if it was meant to be. They already had a child, so maybe that influenced his decision. Of course, there was time to arrive at that decision, so no need for the doctors to decide independently. I would be interested to hear from the MDs on the board what the protocol would be if no next of kin were available, but I would guess the docs would weigh in favor of whoever had the better chance to live.

I’m female, single and childless. Personally, I would choose to save my husband. I love my nephews dearly so I’m certain the prospect of losing my own child would be devastating, but I think I would have a very hard time, on multiple levels, making it through life without the father of my child on the scene.

For what it’s worth, I have a friend who claims to have been born under just such circumstances, and he says the doctors did in fact ask his grandmother whether she wanted to save his mother or him. (Both are very much alive.)

However, I don’t believe his version of the story can possibly be accurate, unless for some reason it was his paternal grandmother they asked – I doubt that any mother would choose a grandchild’s life over her daughter’s, and I also suspect that it’s curtains for the baby if you choose the other way.

Oh yes, and I’d choose to save my husband if I had one, and if men got pregnant. (Both of which are beginning to look about equally unlikely.)