We’ve arrived at the top of the list on our #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) countdown of the top ten all time most popular posts here at CBC-Network.org.
The number one entry is Jennifer Lahl’s review of the film My Sister’s Keeper, titled “My Sister’s Savior,” published in July 2009. As she mentions in the review, this film is one of several (e.g., Gattaca, Million Dollar Baby, and The Island) where bioethics issues are a central element of the plot.
My Sister’s Keeper takes on a real-life issue commonly known as “savior sibling.”
A “savior sibling” refers to the creation of a genetically matched human being, in order to be the savior of a sick child in need of a donor. This requires creating human embryos in vitro, which literally means “in glass” (i.e. a test tube), using the egg from the mother and fertilizing the egg with the father’s sperm. Then, using pre-implantation technology, the embryos are tested, and the one deemed genetically compatible is implanted into the mother’s womb in order for the embryo to grow and develop. Once that baby is delivered, the cord blood is often collected because it provides a perfect match for the sick sibling. Later on, bone marrow, blood, or even organs, can also be taken and used for transplantation for the sick sibling.
What many might not realize is that savior siblings are already a reality.
Adam Nash was the first savior sibling in the U.S. Adam was born in 2000 to rescue his sister Mollie, who was diagnosed with Fanconi’s anemia. Mollie would have otherwise succumbed to death if not for a matched donor. The Nashes created 30 embryos and went through four rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to finally produce Adam, who was the match Mollie needed. Of course, the ethics of the disposition of the 29 other embryos is quite problematic. Adam was chosen, 29 other human lives were not, simply because their DNA was not able to rescue Mollie from a deadly diagnosis.
My Sister’s Keeper brings much-needed attention to this issue. And we are thankful for the opportunity to delve into the ethical issues that are invovled in the practice.
The fact that this article is the most read post on our site — and that the #3 post also addresses the ethics of this practice — shows that there is a deep interest in the ethics of these issues.
Top Ten Most Popular Posts
10. “Babies without Sex” by Jennifer Lahl, March 2012
9. “The Giver and Our Not So Dystopian Society” by Christopher White, August 2014
8. “Money Changes Everything” by Jennifer Lahl, May 2012
7. “Message to Governor Bobby Jindal: Women are Mothers not Breeders,” May 2014
6. “Experience of an Anonymous Egg Donor,” April 2010
5. “Thinking About Donating Your Eggs? Think Again,” February 2010
4. “The Trouble with Transhumanism” by Wesley Smith, August 2011
3. “’Savior Siblings’ Start Us Down Harrowing Ethical Path,” by Wesley J. Smith, March 2011
2. “Woman X: My Story as an Egg Donor,” May 2009
1. Jennifer Lahl’s review of My Sister’s Savior, July 2009