Could we have a discussion on "saviour siblings"?

(13 Posts)
Jacksmania Fri 15-Jul-11 20:05:00

Wikipedia article here.

I stumbled upon this, strangely, Googling a plot from one of the Adult Fiction threads What is the plot with the best twist you've ever read - didn't know if I wanted to read waste my valuable reading time on a Jodi Picoult book, so looked up "My Sister's Keeper". Decided I don't want to read it grin but really started to think about Saviour Siblings. I know a family who conceived a Saviour Sibling and used his cord blood - IMO that's pretty benign, but I really don't know how I feel about someone having another child in order to use his/her organs. I really don't mean to be crude and awful, I can't imagine what it would be like to have a child who could be saved by a sibling's organs, but it does seem to me a bit like harvesting a car for spare parts sad.
As I said, I don't know what I would do/ how I would feel if I were in a situation like that, so I may well be talking out of my arse... would anyone like to have a discussion about this?

I don't think it can ever be right to produce a child and put them through invasive medical procedures just to help another child. Cord blood is different, as there's no harm to the new child, so long as you love them for themself now they've arrived.

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 15-Jul-11 20:33:48

I don't really think anyone can usefully comment unless they have been through the whole rl situation.

Jacksmania Fri 15-Jul-11 21:05:52

In that case, bibbity, we may as well do away with the concept of a talk board. People comment, and often usefully, on things they have no RL experience with. Happily married people on troubled relationships, for example.

When my DD was being treated for leukemia, I was surprised at the number of couples, parents of similarly affected children, who decided to have another baby to increase the chances of a bone marrow match.

Jacksmania Fri 15-Jul-11 21:18:30

MyNameIsNotEarl, how did you feel about that? Is it something you'd have considered?

We didn't want any more children Jack - DD was (is, thankfully - she made a good recovery) our last child.

Had she been our first and only, we may have thought differently, but until the other parents talked about it, tbh it wouldn't have occurred to us to do it.

Jacksmania Fri 15-Jul-11 22:16:16

So glad your DD is ok - should have said that first!! blush Sorry!!

That's ok Jack, so are we smile

Jacksmania Mon 18-Jul-11 21:28:00

Anyone? Was really hoping to be able to discuss...

I think the trouble is that on a parenting website it's bound to be a very emotive subject, and people are maybe reluctant to think about what they would do if their child were so ill that this was a possible solution.

It's also such a broad subject - at one end you may have a couple who were going to have another child soon anyway, and use the cord blood, which doesn't raise nearly as many ethical issues as a couple who wouldn't have had another child otherwise, maybe didn't really want more, and the procedures will be invasive and possibly harmful - that's a lot trickier and gets into pretty big questions of what a person can legitimately be used for.

For me, even the "minor" issues of the first case would be problematic - I decided long ago that (for me) I could not have had IVF because it would be deliberately starting off a number of potential lives which would then be deliberately "stopped", and I could not choose to do that. I don't judge anyone else choosing to do it, as I know that it's so hard to define when life starts that a bundle of cells may not count, but for me personally it's not something I could have done with a clear conscience. Likewise I don't use forms of contraception which might allow fertilisation to occur.

But I'm lucky - I can use the pill, and conceived without assistance. How much I would have stuck to my ethical principles if faced with different situations myself I can't be entirely sure - its easy to say I would never do something when I don't feel any great need to do it anyway IYSWIM?

AMum - I feel like that too about IVF, it makes me sad that potential lives are discarded.

I don't know much about it but don't some health authorities offer IVF at a discount if you donate your 'spare' embryos to other childless couples? Or is it egg-sharing? I couldn't bear the thought of someone else giving birth to and raising what I would consider to be my child.

I have to say though, that this is said from the position of having had 3 children with relative ease. Had I not been able to conceive naturally I'm sure my thoughts would have been different.

Likewise with my daughter. Perhaps I would have considered anything to save her. Who knows until you're in that situation?

Jacksmania, My Sister's Keeper is really quite a good book and tells the story from the other side, so to speak. I found it very thought-provoking.

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