Saviour Siblings

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What Are The Risks And Down Sides To Creating “Savior Siblings”?

Outline
Thesis Statement: What are the risks and down sides to creating “savior siblings”? I. Why have a “savior sibling”
II. What is a “savior sibling?”
A. How are they created
B. What is their purpose
III. How does it not work?
A. Flaws in the procedure
B. Complications after the birth
IV. “Savior Siblings” that weren’t born for it
A. Emotional issues of donor
B. Emotional issues of recipient
V. Who gets to decide?
A. Medical emancipation
B. Refusing medical treatment
C. Conditions
VI. It could all work out
What are the risks and down sides of “savior siblings”?
Nothing is more wonderful than the birth of a baby. Babies are a symbol of life and love that a man and woman create together. It is heartbreaking when a man and woman just can’t seem to conceive a child, but with the medical advances today we have something called in vitro fertilization. The process of in vitro fertilization is not guaranteed to be 100% to always work but it definitely increases the chances of a woman giving birth to a baby. Now imagine that baby is sick or not healthy. Maybe that baby has a rare disease and there is little to no hope of him or her surviving. Is there anything you would not do to save your baby? What if it meant giving birth to another baby? Unfortunately this is a scenario that happens. Parents of terminally ill children make the decision to have another baby in order to save the child they already have. The babies are called “savior siblings”. This sounds like a great solution for the problem, but what about the new baby as it grows up? What are the risks and the down sides to creating savior siblings”?

The term “savior sibling” first appeared in The Journal of Medical Ethics in October 2002 (Quinion). “Savior siblings” start off with in vitro fertilization. Following the in vitro fertilization the embryos are put through a process called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). This involves the removal and genetic analysis of one or two cells from the embryos created. These cells are tested and the results are used to select embryos to transfer to the woman’s womb to initiate a pregnancy. This process was originally developed to prevent transmission of serious diseases (Genetic testing). With “savior siblings” the process is done to

ensure blood and tissue types will match the needs of the ill, older child. Cord blood can be a crucial key to helping a sick child if there is a match available. Currently in the U.S. only about 3% of babies born here have their cord blood banked and the majority of those are kept private and paid for by the parents (Lahl). If this was something that was more available and less expensive, the term “savior sibling” may not exist.

A survey done at The Johns Hopkins University showed that most Americans approve of using genetic testing and selection of embryos to make sure a baby will be a good match to donate blood or tissue to a sick brother or sister (Genetic testing). In most cases many embryos are fertilized and tested. The cells that test to be a match are implanted into the mother’s womb and the others are discarded or destroyed in research. When does life begin? That’s the million dollar question (Gianelli). Is it right to just discard these multiple developing embryos (Berg)? In 2005, an experiment showed that the embryos that were labeled “defective” during the PGD process were able to correct the defects as they matured. It was noted in the experiment that half the cells in the “defected” embryos became normal by the blastocyst stage. This means these embryo may have been a source for embryonic stem cell donation and some of them could have potentially developed into a healthy fetus (Judy). On the other hand, what if the entire process doesn’t work 100% of the time? Nothing in life is guaranteed, right? With PGD there...
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