Zain Hashmi: IVF choosing an embro which could donate stem cells?

Zain Hashmi needs a bone marrow transplant but no donor has been found. It is possible to use IVF techniques to check for embryos that are healthy and a good match, and when it is born, use stem cells from the umbilical cord to cure Zain.

Up to this point I would have said a ‘designer baby’ was wrong, but for this case I would want to allow it. I just don’t know. (Aside: Some people hae commented that the baby may be less loved because of this, but I think parents would love a child regardless.)

Do you think this is ethical?

PS. Apparently the decision has been reversed.

i see nothing wrong with it in this case. It’s not like they are making a kid with designer blue eyes or just to harvest his heart and leave him for dead.

I see your point. But does no-one think this is open to abuse? How about to prevent serious medical conditions in the new child? Is obesity serious? Is dark skin in a cloudy country?

OK, maybe there’s no debate to be had.

It would be unethical if they planned to leave the child in a dumpster after they harvested the cord, but as long as the child will be taken care of I don’t see how it’s an issue. Everybody wins.

This type of thing is exactly why my wife and I looked into banking the cord blood from our last couple of children(we have four). We contacted research institutes, hospitals, blood banks, etc and offered to donate the cord blood for research, transplants, whatever they may want it for, and while many of them thought this was a splendid idea, they simply didn’t have infrastructure set up for it. We could bank the blood for ourselves, in case one of us ever developed a condition where new stem cells would be useful in a treatment regimen, but we couldn’t give it to others or to research. We were quite frankly baffled by this. Cord blood, raw stem cells, is phenomenally useful and desireable.

I, like others, don’t have a problem with a baby being born who can meet Zain’s needs as long as the baby is taken care of as well. I hope this raises awareness of the usefulness of cord blood though and that in the future people like my wife and I will be able to donate to some bank and people like Zain won’t have to look any further than the bank to get the stem cells they need. At the very least this would save the pain/cost/inconvenience of IVF and nine months of further pain for Zain. He could have the stem cells he needs now if such a bank was available.


I see no problem with this. And frankly, wouldn’t see a problem if the parents wanted to screen for a baby w/ blue eyes (not possible yet, but it should be fairly soon). As long as they found a doctor willing to do the screening for eye color (that might be a problem). They are not causing any harm to anyone.