Saviour Siblings

A savour sibling is a child conceived through selective IVF as a potential source of donor organs or cells for an existing brother or sister with a life-threatening medical condition.

Task 1: Watch this video.

Sometimes, a couple with a sick child whose illness requires treatment with tissues or organs from a compatible donor, but who have been unable to find a suitable donor, will use Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) to select a compatible embryo from among a number created through IVF or similar techniques. Following the screening process, the chosen embryo is implanted in the uterus. It is worth noting that there is no guarantee that any of the embryos will be a close enough match – but because a number of embryos are created, the chances of finding a compatible one are better than if a couple simply aim to conceive a child naturally and hope for the best.

Task 2: Think of five reasons why someone may object to this process.

Task 3: How would a Catholic respond to the idea of creating a ‘saviour sibling’?

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