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Musings of a Massachusetts Witch

My Sister’s Keeper

 

I recently purchased the film My Sister’s Keeper, which was based on a novel written by Jodi Picoult, which I have not read but may in the future. It is an older film that was released in 2009. The plot evolves around an eleven-year-old girl, Anna Fitzgerald, who was conceived by means of in vitro fertilization and looks to earn medical emancipation from her parents who have relied on her since the day of her birth to help her leukemia-stricken sister, Kate remain alive. It was an emotionally infused film that had me crying throughout the viewing but also had me contemplating some serious concepts one of which is the idea of ‘donor children’.

 

Now when searching the Internet for more information on ‘donor children’ I found different definitions however the definition I want to focus on and the concept that was used in the plot of the film is the one that follows: donor children are offspring that are conceived via the donation of sperm or ova or both either from two separate donors or from a couple. When I discovered this definition it didn’t seem as unsettling as it was presented in the movie. You see, within the movie Anna’s parents donate both the father’s sperm and mother’s ova so that their new baby (Anna) will be a genetic match to Kate, their older daughter who has cancer. Under Kate’s doctor’s ‘unofficial’ medical advice, they genetically engineer a child that will be able to donate whatever Kate may need because the sibling would be a perfect match. There would never be a rush to search for a genetic match and no fear of Kate’s body rejecting an organ. This idea was unsettling to me. This child was conceived for the sole purpose of keeping the first child alive without any consideration for the child as a unique individual. How could two ‘loving’ parents do that? I was annoyed, disgusted, angry and saddened.

 

Anna was a living bank for her sister. Need stem cells? Got plenty! Need a blood transfusion? Right here! Need bone marrow? Here you go! How about a kidney? Lung? Eye? Where is the boundary? Is there a line that would be crossed? Does the sacrificing ever stop if the sole purpose of the birth of the child was to be a living donor? And what if at some point in their life your donor child refuses to donate? Do you guilt them into doing it? Do you force them to fulfill this monstrous destiny you’ve created for them? At that point what kind of message are you giving this child? I mean, seriously. I honestly don’t understand how someone can do that to another human being. It seems to me that at that point if it is ever reached the parent is no longer viewing the child as a human being but more as a possession.

 

As much as I can imagine the level of desperation a parent would feel when told their child will die before them of some dis-ease such as leukemia, I just cannot imagine bringing myself to the point of conceiving another child so that I would have at my disposal a complete body of spare parts. You see, I have two amazing children; a son who is fifteen and a daughter who is ten. I love them both for the exceptional individuals they are. They excel in different areas, posses different skills and enjoy different activities. I have a unique relationship with each of them and could never imagine myself sacrificing one for the other no matter how dire the consequences.