Made-to-Order Babies

Is it ethical for a couple to have a baby with the intent of using tissue from that baby to treat their other children with medical conditions? That is the question raised in an article from the Chicago Times.

Nine couples underwent in vitro fertilization, in which eggs are fertilized by sperm in a lab. Chicago-based Reproductive Genetics Institute determined which embryos would genetically match older siblings for possible stem cell transplants. Matching embryos then were transferred to the women. Five got pregnant and had healthy babies.

The babies' umbilical cord blood contained perfectly matched stem cells. One sibling with anemia has undergone a successful stem cell transplant, and a second sibling with anemia is getting a transplant.

Three other siblings have leukemia, which is in remission. Stem cells from cord blood were frozen in the event a sibling's cancer rebounds and a stem cell transplant becomes necessary.


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They're morally responsible

They're morally responsible to take care of the children they create, but as long as they do so they're not acting unethically.

bq. _Is it ethical for a

bq. _Is it ethical for a couple to have a baby with the intent of using tissue from that baby to treat their other children with medical conditions?_

Would it be ethical for them *not* to? Would that not constitute witholding medical care from the other children?

It's analogous to the

It's analogous to the abortion issue.

What you're basically doing when you do this, is to create a set of embryos, then directly choose which ones live or die based on their DNA. The ones that don't match, you don't insert, and they die.

If you're pro-life and believe that life begins at conception, then you're sacrificing all the 'lives' you created to save another life that just happens to be further along.

I agree with John T. Kennedy

I agree with John T. Kennedy on this one.