posted on May, 5 2004 @ 07:53 PM
In a growing practice that troubles some ethicists, a Chicago laboratory helped create five healthy babies so that they could serve as stem-cell
donors for their ailing brothers and sisters.
The made-to-order infants, from different families, were screened and selected when they were still embryos to make sure they would be compatible
donors. Their siblings suffered from leukemia or a rare and potentially lethal anemia.
This is the first time embryo tissue-typing has been done for common disorders like leukemia that are not inherited, and the results suggest that many
more children than previously thought could benefit from the technology, said Dr. Anver Kuliev, a Chicago doctor who participated in the research.
"This technology has wide implications in medical practice," Kuliev said Tuesday at a news conference.
The Chicago doctors said the healthy embryos that were not matches were frozen for potential future use. But some ethicists said such perfectly
healthy embryos could end up being discarded.
"This was a search-and-destroy mission," said Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The chosen embryos "were allowed to
be born so they could donate tissue to benefit someone else."