Saviour-siblings is the term referring to babies created specifically for their genetic material to help an older sibling with a serious illness. Tissue is taken from the saviour-sibling and transferred to an older sibling who is ill. Saviour-siblings are created by IVF – each tiny embryo is tested for its genetic structure until the embryologist finds the perfect match with its sick sibling. It’s possible and probable that many embryos would have to be created before the perfect match is found. All the genetically unsuitable ones (unsuitable for the purpose of being a saviour-sibling but otherwise healthy) will be destroyed. The saviour-sibling will then be allowed to develop and be born for the sole purpose of giving its tissue to an older sibling.
Three questions to consider (thought up by greater minds than mine) –
Will a baby born solely to ‘save’ its sibling feel equally loved and cherished by its parents?
Will scientists stop at using insignificant tissues? Could it be that organ transplants from live healthy babies be allowed to take place in the future?
Will designer babies be next?