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“Saviour siblings”
  1. M Spriggs,
  2. J Savulescu
  1. Ethics Unit, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Childrens Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia;

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    In Victoria, Australia, some parents are now able to select embryos free from genetic disease which will provide stem cells to treat an existing sibling

    A n Australian couple from Victoria have been given permission to use in vitro fertilisation (IVF) technology to screen an embryo in order to “create a `perfect match’ sibling” for their seriously ill child. In vitro fertilisation is regulated in Victoria by the Infertility Treatment Authority (ITA) which restricts access to people who are medically infertile or who have a family history of genetic disease. The approval given to the Victorian couple is for a new application of IVF consisting of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) together with tissue typing.

    The couple’s three year old daughter Christina has Fanconi’s anaemia, a rare genetic condition, that means she will die before she turns 15 unless she receives blood from the umbilical cord of a “perfect match” sibling. Some people are saying this use of IVF amounts to the creation of a genetically engineered “designer” baby. 1–6

    Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is an IVF technique …

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