Genetic Engineering Final
My Sister's Keeper
My Sister's Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
Ethical Questions for Discussion
Setting the Scene:
Anna Fitzgerald, the narrator in the video clip, was Genetically Engineered to be the
perfect donor match to supply her older sister, Kate, who suffers from acute
leukemia, with umbilical cord blood to use in Kate's lifesaving treatments. Initially, the
treatments were successful, however, a few years later, Kate relapsed, and ever since Anna has
been used as a donor for not only blood, but bone marro
w and organ donation as well, while
Kate continues to swing between remission and relapse.
Do you think it is ethical to design and conceive a child that meets specific genetic
If so, is
ethical in all cases? (prevent miscarriages,
prevent inheritable genetic
diseases, sex selection for social reasons, etc)
If not, do you believe there should be specific exceptions
such as saving another
is this just a "slippery slope"?
Knowing what you now know about
, do you agree with the parent's
choice to "design" Anna to save Kate? Is it ethically ok to screen embryos for desired
genetic traits, and reject the "undesired" embryos?
Although not shown in the video clip, the physician in the movie recommen
ethically questionable Genetic Engineering procedure "off the record." If you were the
physician, would you recommend the same procedure for a couple in the same situation?
Should there be regulations put in place for physicians in this situation?
If so, what
should they include?
How does the knowledge that Anna was conceived to save Kate affect Anna's and Kate's
perceptions of themselves, and their relationship with each other? For instance, you might
consider the following:
Will Kate feel guilt
y knowing that Anna was created to save her life?
What if Anna can't save Kate? Will Anna face lifelong psychological damage?
Does Anna feel objectified as a "spare parts baby"? Does Kate feel objectified as
a sick person