‘ Religion and/or moral principles are a hindrance within medical ethics? Examine and comment on this claim, with reference to the topic you have investigated’. The topic which I have investigated is Saviour Siblings. The term ‘ Saviour Siblings’ is given to process of someone having another child of the same genetic material to save another existing child’s life. The topic of Saviour Siblings is very conversational as it raises many ethical dilemmas and disagreements between different religious principles and viewpoints. In this essay I will explore wheather or not different religious/ moral principles are a hindrance to medical ethics.
There have many cases in which the method of Saviour Siblings had to be used to save an existing child’s life. Out of many cases there were two major two cases which captured a large amount of media attention and they were the Whitakers and the Hashmis. In 2000, Charlie Whitaker was born with a extremely rare genetic condition known as ‘ Diamond Blackfan Anaemia’, his parents Michelle and Jayson prayed after help for his condition but his only chance of survival was by stem cell transplant. In the need of Charlie’s best chances of surviving the Whitakers tried to conceive a ‘ Saviour Sibling’ naturally but where unsuccessful.
A license for a Saviour Sibling for them was also rejected, so Charlie’s parents tried one last time and flew to America in desperate need for treatment and finally from there they conceived Jamie Whitaker, Charlie’s Saviour Sibling, from his umbilical cord they took blood and gave Charlie a stem cell transfusion which was successful and by 2004 everything was all clear for Charlie and his life was saved. The other case which received a lot of media attention was the case of Zain Hashmi. Zain Hashmi was born with Beta Thalassaemia, a rare fatal genetic blood disorder.
Zain had to undergo regular blood transfusions and could have died without a bone marrow transplant. His only chance of survival was from a donor with the same tissue type which would have helped ‘ kick start’ healthy cell production but his family were unable to find a close enough match. So following an appeal the Hashmis were given permission to instead use a tissue type procedure, due to Beta Thaslemmia being hereditary and therefore producing a risk of other children suffering the same disorder, but unfortunately the procedure wasn’t successful and Shahana, Zain’s mother had to stop trying for a Saviour Sibling because of her age.
Furthermore there are many different religious viewpoints and principles on Saviour Siblings. The Church England have a viewpoint that you follow the teachings of the Bible and not act against God-given nature but and the same time, they want to do the most loving thing. So therefore the Church of England in there perspective would most probably accept the method Saviour Siblings being used if it’s the ‘ last resort’. On the hand the Catholic Church have a very different viewpoint on Saviour Siblings.
The Catholic Church is already against IVF and PGD because embryos are discarded. To create a Saviour Sibling using PGD, you have to discard totally healthy embryos, just because they are not a donor match, which the Catholic Church sees as murder. The Catholic Church states “ To conceive a child to be used — even if it is for treatment — is not respectful of his dignity, a child born specifically for use, even a noble use, is to turn a child into an object.”
Therefore this underlines that the Catholic Church would be against savior siblings, even if it is the last resort as they believe this is using a child for just for a specific purpose. Additionally besides the Christians views on Saviour Siblings other religions, such as Islam also take a approach to Saviour Siblings, they have a similar view to the Catholic Church but a different perspective towards it, they believe Saviour Siblings are a form of cloning instead because they say ‘ Allaah (God) has created man in the best of forms, and bestowed upon him the greatest honours’.
So there perspective is a different approach towards Saviour Siblings, this shows that each religion have different religious principles Looking at Bentham’s idea of Utilitarianism, this seeks to maximise pleasure over pain shows, the issue, of SS pivots on the pleasure and reason of having the child. The logical decision might be the acceptance of having the saviour sibling.
This needs to be considered with the pleasure or pain of the wider family. Situations Ethics looks at the concept of having a child which would maximise the value of agape love. As long as the saviour sibling is loved as a unique individual, then the situationist should have no problem with this because “ God is Love”. Furthermore looking at the more non religious views on saviour siblings some people believe saviour siblings is completely wrong,