Invisible Saviour Siblings

Topics: Cord blood, Sibling, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation Pages: 5 (1865 words) Published: March 25, 2012
The philosopher Immanuel Kant said “Treat others as an end and not as means to an end.” People need to value others for themselves rather than for what they can achieve by the means of them. The idea of selecting an embryo, conceived by IVF, which will become a child that can donate for an older sibling suffering from a genetic disease, has created a difficult moral dilemma. Concerns over the creation of what are called “savoir siblings” are specifically created to help an existing child. In the novel “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult there is a girl named Anna who was brought in to this world for the purpose to save her sister Kate. Anna suggests that while her method of coming into the world is not conventional, since most babies born are unwanted; she at least was a wanted child. But she is wanted as a product, as a medical treatment, as a donor. Anna came to a decision that she wanted to stop donating to her sister, so she starts a lawsuit for medical emancipation; the right to control her own body. The child is used as something instrumental and has a welcome that is far from being unconditional. Even the label "savoir” is a misnomer. When we speak of a savoir we refer to someone who has made an active choice to donate. The child never has a choice. When a donation occurs it will have lifelong effects on the body. The possible psychological problem the child will have from being a savior sibling. The parents do not think about the saviour child in the terms of an individual. The parents need to realize that there is a line that separates the value of preserving life and the costs of the quality of life. When a child is born it is up to the parents to make the decisions for them, but what if the parents are not focus on that child? It is their zeal to make things better for their sick child, but the parents have forgotten that their donor child is a person with feelings, not a something just to pick at when needed. In the case of babies who are selected as a source of cells, the “savior " is passive and is treated as a product. The choices being made about donation is not even being discussed about. Anna is not even being asked about what she wants to do, “You make it sound like there’s some process involved. Like there’s actually a choice.” (192) the parents are deciding what is for the best. They do not even consult with Anna about how she feels about everything. Anna had to quit hockey because she was missing two many games, but the only reason why she was missing games was that she had to be there when Kate might need something. Her choice to play hockey was taken away from her and no one in her family even cared. They did not even notice when she started to play hockey, so why would they notice when she stopped. There is a big chance that the family would not even listen to Anna if she would have said that she does not want to continue being the donor. The doctors do not ever consult with Anna about what she wanted to do; they only talked to the parents. They never let Anna make her choice. She was brought in this world as a savior sibling, but it did not mean to make her sacrifice her whole life. The use of savior siblings have raised the issue of the possibility of psychological trauma that the created sibling may suffer from knowing that they was created partly for reasons of imposed selflessness. The child could feel as if they had been used. The donor sibling would feel that they were around to provide “spare parts”, and were not valued for who they are. Remember the adolescent cry “I did not ask to be born” and add to it the accusation that the parents only had them to save their siblings life. The moment the child is brought in to this world they have a job to perform. How the parents treat Anna makes her feel like her only purpose in life is to help heal Kate. With these feelings it makes her think about what if Kate was not sick, “It made me wonder, though, what would have happened if Kate...
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