Friday, November 07, 2008

Savior Sibling Thoughts

Last week I posted part of an article reminding me of a concept I've heard termed "savior sibling." (If you haven't already, read my previous post here, or the full article here.) I still haven't had the time to fully develop my thoughts, but wanted to post some before I forget.

The thrust of my thoughts result from the following portion of the story:
... Twenty-six eggs were fertilized and began to develop. Ten were genetically compatible. Two of those were disease-free, and both were implanted in CeCe's uterus in case one of them didn't develop.
I hate to use the phrase "collateral damage" here, since no real "damage" is intended, but that's what comes to mind. In order to cure their son's sickle cell anemia, 26 embryos were created. Two were allowed to continue to develop. The article speaks of CeCe's "guilt" at being pregnant with the twins, whose purpose was to save Carmani (this guilt was said to fall away after their birth), but there was no further mention of the other 24 embryos.

If I may, let me take a moment to detach my comments from the Boozers. I know that a single article cannot tell the whole story, cannot tell all the Boozers thought, did, and felt. I cannot imagine the hurt and anguish that they must have gone through.

So instead, I want to focus on the telling of the story. I think this speaks to the flippant way we view the miracle of life. We now have medical advances such as in vitro fertilization and advanced in utero diagnostics, so that we can tell (to various levels of certainty) if an embryo is a genetic match for a sick sibling, or likely to have Down syndrome, or even what gender the baby is very early in development. With the results of these tests we can decide whether or not a developing baby is worthy of life or not. We can convince ourselves that creating 26 embryos to try to have one baby to save another child is worth it, even if it means all the other embryos are frozen indefinitely (with the possibility of further attempts at implanting by in vitro), thrown out, or destroyed in research.

Back to the Boozers - my heart breaks for Carmani. My heart breaks for Carlos & CeCe having to watch their son go through a life threatening ordeal. My heart breaks for them going through the uncertain process of in vitro. My heart rejoices that Carmani has been cured. I hope that the whole family will glorify their Creator for years to come and ultimately enter into His rest. But my heart breaks for those other 24 embryos.

In closing I have a question. What do the following words have in common?
  • Zygote
  • Embryo
  • Fetus
  • Newborn
  • Infant
  • Toddler
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
These are simply stages of development that we all have gone through (assuming a purely adult readership). Why should any particular stage(s) have any more or less "right to life" than any other? Why should it be okay that, in America, more than 80 percent of babies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome are aborted? Would we allow this with newborns/infants? Toddlers? Teenagers? Senior citizens? I really didn't intend to go on this much, but I'm reminded of a story that I heard from Glenn Beck and posted on my blog in November of 2006:
I want to share a story with you about a baby that was born -- baby Knauer -- born blind, missing an arm and a leg. The parents were just beside themselves.

The dad decided he's going to write and ask for some help because all the doctors weren't helping. They wrote somebody who is pretty powerful, and they trusted him. And they said, "Please, can you help us put our child into a better place? Please remove the burden on us."

Well, he saw the pictures. He read the letter, talked to the parents, flew out to meet with them, just filled with compassion, tears filling his eyes. He said, "I will personally give you my personal doctor to review the case." The doctor came back and said absolutely no justification for keeping this child alive. The baby was allowed to die.

Who was that compassionate, powerful man who so graciously put that baby boy to sleep? You probably guessed by now it was Adolf Hitler. Baby Knauer was the first victim of the Holocaust. Hitler later signed a decree permitting the euthanasia of disabled infants based on this case and creating a panel of expert referees which judged the infants and found out which ones were eligible for death.

Once he was through with the babies, the elderly were next. As it has been said over and over again with tragedies regarding the Holocaust: Never again.

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