The Show

Parents' Biggest Fears

If you could customize your perfect child, would you? What about choosing your child’s sex, eye color, height or IQ? Plus, a deserving family with a sick child gets a house call from Dr. Phil and his wife, Robin.

A Tall Order



Ellen, who's 4 feet 8 inches tall, is a mother who would never even consider trying to alter her child's height. "I absolutely don't regret not using human growth hormone with my son, Matt. Ethically, I have a problem with giving a healthy short child any kind of treatment," she says.

"I'm 5 feet 3 inches tall, and I'm not bothered by my height," says Matt, 18. "My mom decided not to put me on HGH as a child, and I agree with that decision."

"It's putting the child at risk," Ellen says. "There is potentially very serious side effects with a treatment that's only been in existence, synthetically, for 15 or 20 years."

"I believe you don't need to change your physical appearance to change who you are. My height doesn't affect my life at all," Matt says. "I was elected co-captain of the soccer team. I'm a good student. I'm in the National Honor Society."

"You know, I always say, you can't measure your self-worth and self-esteem by inches on a tape measure, but by growing into your truest self. Whether that's 6 feet 3 inches or 5 feet 3 inches, it really shouldn't matter," Ellen says.

Ellen is the author of Beyond Measure: A Memoir about Short Stature and Inner Growth. "Heightism is definitely a form of discrimination, and it's one of the last acceptable prejudices," she says. "We glorify the tall and stigmatize the short. You would never walk up to somebody fat and just on a whim say, ‘Oh, my gosh, you're so fat. How much do you weigh?' And yet I can walk down the street and hear over and over, ‘Oh, my gosh, you're so short. How tall are you?'"

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