Monday, August 3, 2020
Barbara Pfeffer Billauer (Institute of World Politics), Savior Siblings, Protective Progeny, and Parental Determinism in the age of CRISPR-Cas, SSRN:
The current state of technology and law allows for creating children, called ‘savior siblings’ for the primary purpose of transplanting their stem cells to cure an existing, sick sibling. If both parents agree, court oversight is unnecessary – even though the procedure is risky for both children. Ethical paradigms evaluating the legitimacy of the procedure focus only on the process of savior sibling creation and ignore considerations incident to later transplantation: i.e., issues of consent, autonomy, dignity and the best interests of the savior child. Legal analysis which focuses on the best interest rule leads to counter-normative results. Recent data, e.g., that 95% of such instances require invasive bone marrow transplantation, and technological advances such as gene-editing, further confound the analysis. This essay details the contradictions and conflicts in legal and ethical paradigms in light of recent data and technological advances, and proposes that societal and biological input is necessary before the law or bioethics can provide consistent guidelines.