Would you create another life for the sake of the other?
“If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone?”
Critically acclaimed Jodi Picoult zeroes in on the issue of human genetic engineering in her book My Sister’s Keeper. It’s a powerful story about the Fitzgeralds, a family united in their love for each other but divided on where the boundaries of family obligations, love and sacrifice should end.
Anna Fitzgerald was genetically designed, conceived, and born to be the perfect genetic match for her sister, Kate. Kate suffers from a rare form of childhood leukemia and will die without blood and bone marrow transfusions from Anna. At 13, when Kate needs a kidney, Anna decides she has had enough. She hires an attorney and sues her parents for the rights to her own body. As her case works its way through the intricate legal system, things at home fall apart for the Fitzgeralds. Their father, a firefighter, is torn between the competing needs of his children. Their mother, an attorney who retired when she had children, struggles to hold the family together and keep Kate alive at all costs. Picoult did an amazing job of presenting the dilemma. She takes the issue and handles it with compassion and sensitivity. Read this book and you will probably never be indifferent on the issue.
I cannot really say what is right in this situation but I know many parents would do anything to save their child and I would probably do the same. In Vitro Fertilization and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis have many bioethical issues because we are in a sense playing God when we do this. It is not natural to make a child how you want to. This goes back to the issue of “designer babies.” We need to decide where to draw the line. In order to save Kate, another person was created and this person was basically Kate’s saviour over and over again. I have read the book before I have seen the movie and the book made such a great impact on me. I don’t know if it’s because I have read the book first but I definitely like its ending better. Although I didn’t want anyone to die, the book has a twist. I like that the book doesn’t end as you would expect like the movie does. I think it is more thought-provoking because Kate lives and Anna doesn’t. It leaves you wondering if it was all worth it and what was the value of Kate’s life compared to Anna’s life. The movie makes it seem like all of the surgery and everything was unnecessary because Kate dies in the end and Anna basically continues to live without any complications like she would as a normal child. I also didn’t like how the movie left out parts I thought was relevant to the plot such as how the illness kind of tore the family apart. It didn’t really go into detail in the movie about their brother for instance. Another ethical issue this movie brings up is where to draw the line. It is a life issue. When should a family give up on trying to save someone and when is it just time to let them go. Kate wanted to be let go but her family didn’t want to allow that. That is a topic that many people face often and many people have different opinions. Ultimately I think the choice should be left up to the patient and if they are not conscious then whoever is closest to them should make the final decisions. However, there are many other factors that go into that. Overall, it was still a tear jerker, I just think that there should be options for people who are very sick and in critical conditions, but creating another life to save one should not be an option. I highly doubt that I would come to this conclusion if I had a child who was dying. I guess it all depends. I pray that I will never be in that type of situation and my heart goes out to all that are. I think that this is why designing a new child to save the first isn’t the best option. When it’s time, God will call each of us home, and we need to accept that. Obviously this is way easier to say than to actually do, but I’m starting to think that this really would help me and others to accept those things that we can’t change, no matter how hard we try.
“Sometimes to get what you want the most, you have to do what you want the least.”