Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saviour Siblings

Sydney IVF is believed to be the only place in Australia that offers the "saviour sibling" testing - which allows parents with a terminally ill child to conceive another child who can donate stem cells or blood.

I am glad this article was written because we need to talk about it. Really need to talk about it. This is a hard one. Parents who go through the process of creating another IVF child so  their blood and stem cells can be used to save the life of a sibling are neither approved nor unapproved. We can't just talk about it, though. We have to look at the facts. I would imagine initially the parents are grasping desperately at anything which will save the life of a child whom they have loved and nurtured and who is terminally ill. So yes, initially the IVF child would be created as a life saving person for the sibling. So we need to look at other reasons people create children. They might seem dispassionate too. Would that IVF created child be neglected because the other child is more important? How does this work in real life? Parents just can't do this. They have to go through quite a screening programme and IVF in itself is expensive and has its own risks. We need to look at the real people and the real families because at the moment we are saying things and it is okay in Sydney but not okay in other places in Australia. That in itself is a problem. I know what I'd be doing as a mother  and I would do it with all my heart and determination and it would be something we'd manage as a family. I would have another child. Some children are carers for their parents. We have all sorts of things which occur in families these days and the rights of the individual need to be looked at , but so do the facts and the families. One day we won't have to create a child to offer a terminally ill child hope, until that day we need to be clear about where we stand on this so that the terminally ill children and their parents are not made to skulk around when it's a time where they need all the support we can offer them.

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