Savior Sibling or Spare Parts Baby?


by Carly Hill

Savior Siblings. Babies born with the purpose of saving existing children with their healthy parts, cells, blood – whatever it is that the existing child needs.

Quite the ethical discussion.

Grey’s Anatomy had an episode with a fictional, full grown “savior sibling.” She was in the hospital about to have another procedure done to help her sibling. And, the Callie character gave her the freedom to finally say “no more.” My Sister’s Keeper was a book turned movie starring Cameron Diaz – exploring the topic in a worst-case-scenario type of way.

Watching Grey’s, I didn’t realize that this was actually a real thing that was already happening. The fictional stories portrayed on TV and in the movies are based off of a real family who did this.

They had a genetically engineered child and used the blood in his placenta to save his life. His terminally ill sister was cured and he never had to undergo any sort of medical treatment as all that was needed was his placenta – which is discarded at birth.

Sounds harmless and beneficial, right? The family seems to love all their children and on the surface, it looks like a win-win.

But, the reality is, in order to create that perfectly engineered savior sibling, the mother had multiple eggs fertilized (meaning, multiple Petri dish babies were made and only one was “selected” to keep on growing into a human. What happened to the other lives that were formed in that dish? They were discarded, or as the mom said in the video of the interview above, they “dissolved.”

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