It’s time for the monthly installment of ControverSunday. What is ControverSunday? It’s a collaborative blog meme, whereby the goal is to share, discuss and hear out different perspectives on parenting, society and other stuff that matters. All those who participate bring to the table a unique perspective and approach others with mutual respect. Participating is a way to build community, to learn something and to reflect and evaluate our own choices. If you’d like to join us, just let our hostess with the mostest Kathleen know!
This month’s ControverSunday is, indeed, a controversial subject. Inspired by this article, we’re looking at our thoughts on the idea of savior siblings–meaning, kids who are conceived for the possibility that their genes could help save their sick older siblings.
I have to say, my first reaction, before reading the article, was a big old HELL NO. I mean, I love my son, and I hope I never have to face an illness with him where this idea would even come into play. But to me the idea of conceiving a child to be a factory of spare parts for an existing child steps beyond the realm of wanting to save your child and into a realm of basically medical slavery and subjugation for the “savior” child.
Of course, then I read the article, and became a little more conflicted. Because the article, in essence, was talking about the unborn child’s cord blood.
Cord blood, and the encased stem cells, seem to represent a huge possibility in the medical world. I don’t know that enough testing has truly been done to determine the reality of the potential, but in my mind, it seems almost like a new frontier in medicine. And specifically, in medicine that can potentially be a perfect genetic fit for your family.
For some reason, this opened my mind a little about the idea of a savior sibling. I feel a little less…firmly in one camp or another. Because the whole idea of cord blood seems different than bone marrow, or even blood. The cord is not used by the new child. It’s not something that would only be removed in these cases–everyone loses their cord.
And yet, I still come down on the idea of why are you having a child? How will a child who was conceived (and in this case, chosen specifically for their genetic makeup) to save a sibling ever feel like they were really wanted for who they are? Wouldn’t that hang over the family forever? It’s not enough to put the normal sibling pressures on a child, but the pressure of keeping your sibling alive? I just…it seems wrong. Not medically, but from the standpoint of caring and loving each child.
I don’t know. I hope I’m never in a position where I have to make a call like this. But it just seems to me that conceiving a child specifically to SAVE another just holds too many landmines of pain and hurt down the road.