Creating a life to save a life? Reflections on the conception of 'saviour siblings'

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Blyth, Eric (2005)
  • Publisher: British Council of Fertility Counselling
  • Subject: HQ | H1

The term “saviour siblings” refers to children whose conception is – at least partially – motivated by the desire of their parents to secure human stem cells to provide treatment for an existing child with a life-threatening illness. It has comparatively recent origins, Spriggs and Savulescu (2002) making the first specific reference to “saviour sibling”, although an article entitled “The Made-to-Order Savior” had appeared a year earlier in the New York Times Magazine (Belkin, 2001).\ud While conceiving a child to act as a potential donor of tissue for an older sibling is not new (see, for example, McBride, 1990), what is new about using reproductive technology techniques is the explicit conscription of health care professionals and the state (where this has an interest in regulating the activities of health care professionals) in the enterprise.
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