CREATING SAVIOR SIBLINGS: MORAL OR IMMORAL?
Keywords:Savior sibling, morality, Immanuel Kant.
A savior sibling is a child conceived through in-vitro fertilization for the purposes of saving a sibling, who needs an organ or cell transplant because of a fatal genetic disorder. The procedure involves pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which analyzes the embryos to detect potential genetic disorders prior to implantation. This is to reduce the possibility of passing such disorders to offspring. However, the creation of savior siblings also raises issues of morality. The idea that a child is born for the sole purpose of saving the lives of others, even if siblings, is not acceptable to some sections of society. This is because such a child is being born not for the sake of having it, but merely to be used as an instrument by the parents to save their sick child. Different countries, such as Malaysia, the UK, U.S. and Australia take various positions on whether or not to permit PGD. This article examines the rationale for the conduct of PGD, and, specifically, whether or not the act of creating a savior child can be considered as immoral. Importantly, the examination is undertaken with a focus on Immanuel Kant’s moral theory. The notion of the end in itself by Immanuel Kant demands that we always treat humanity not only as a means to an end, but also as an end in itself. Impliedly, parents should not conceive a child solely for the purposes of serving as a donor to a sick sibling, but should also genuinely desire that child. In other words, they should also respect the savior sibling and recognize its inherent value. In this way, the savior sibling is treated not merely as a means, but also as an end. By implication, the creation of savior siblings is not unethical as such, and should be permitted. A more significant factor that should be considered is how they are treated by parents after birth. This article uses a qualitative research methodology and relies on scholarly writings, such as books, journal articles, as well as laws and decided cases.
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