Would you make a baby to save the life of your other child? [POLL]

You’d do anything to save your children. ?Wouldn’t you? ? But would you sentence your last born to knowing all s/he was needed for was to save the older brother or sister? ?Hellloooo life long therapy…

A woman is pregnant with New Zealand’s first “made-to-order baby,” chosen for its genetic makeup to save its sibling’s life.

The baby was selected from other IVF embryos as a genetic match for its sick older sibling and will donate stem cells at birth.

Critics say the process is a slippery slope towards treating children as commodities.

The cells will be harvested from the baby’s umbilical cord blood and used as a transplant for the older child, which might save it from life-threatening sickle cell anaemia. The parents already have several children, and the sick child is the oldest.

The creation of Baby X comes as outgoing Health Minister Tony Ryall approves the expansion of genetic testing, which will open the door for doctors to select “saviour siblings” to help save existing children sick with certain diseases.

The parents of Baby X were given approval to use IVF to test and select an embryo to genetically match their sick child by New Zealand’s ethics committee for reproductive technology (Ecart).

The couple’s doctor, Fertility Associates Dr Mary Birdsall, confirmed the mother is now 13 weeks pregnant.

Under the procedure, fertilised IVF embryos are tested for genetic compatibility to the sick child. Only the embryo which will result in another child who is a genetic match – and from whom stem cells can later be harvested – will be implanted in the uterus.

Of course, human beings are the best 3D printers to make other human organs and other spare parts.

Concerns about the psychological welfare of a child born for a specific purpose have been raised by researchers and critics. United States author Jodi Picoult covered these complications in her book My Sister’s Keeper, made into a movie starring Cameron Diaz, where character Anna grapples with the knowledge she was born to save her sister.

Voice for Life criticised the creation of “made to order babies”. National president Bernard Moran said he understood a parent’s desire to go to any lengths to save their child, but it was morally wrong.

“We realise that it’s done with the best of intentions, but at the end of the day you’re cannibalising a little human person who has no say in the matter. I’m afraid I have to object to that.”

“Choosing” the right embryo was too much like playing god, he said. Each embryo that was discarded was a potential person.

But advisory committee for reproductive technology acting chairwoman Alison Douglass said families who want to create a saviour sibling would have to go through a rigorous ethics committee vetting process. Tissue donation between siblings did have benefits, and the new guidelines provided safeguards.

“This is not a rubber stamp.”

Otago University bioethics researcher Dr Jeanne Snelling said the technology was not new and in the United Kingdom, the first saviour sibling transplant was carried out in 2010. Toddler Max Matthews saved his nine-year-old sister, Megan, by donating his bone marrow.

“I think it’s an exciting thing for this family that they’ve been able to do this,” she said.

The next step is for surrogate mothers to start making babies for spare parts. ? Cast your mind into the future when we pay women to have highly engineered babies so their spare parts can be used to save others. ?Or… rejuvinate others

Far fetched?

 

 

– Michelle Duff, Sunday Star Times

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