I've just read the article again and I'm interested in this bit (my highlighting):
"Medical teams in Cambridge, Bristol and Nottingham coordinated treatment to create a baby who was a perfect tissue match and then to use donated cells to treat Megan's blood disorder.
CARE Fertility in Nottingham carried out IVF treatment, taking cells from the three day old embryos and testing each one for the disease and also checking if it was a suitable match for the transplant.
Two embryos were implanted and a single baby boy, Max, was born 18 months ago.
Max's umbilical cord blood was preserved and he later needed an operation to recover bone marrow."
I'm not an expert in such things but does that mean that the donation required the donor to undergo an operation? The first time I read the article I thought the donated cells were from the umbilical chord but it looks like I probably read it to quickly and was careless.
If my interpretation is correct then what are the ethical considerations of making a child who can't give consent undergo a surgical procedure for the sake of another? That question isn't specific to this situation though as there must be many cases of children needing transplants that only their siblings can provide.
I'm sort of thinking aloud there but to answer my own question I'd say that where the procedure isn't dangerous or unduly distressing to the donor it's ethically acceptable for the parents to decide on the child's behalf. Therefore if it's acceptable when the child isn't conceived to be a donor then it must be acceptable when they are.
Counter opinions or pointing out flaws in my logic are welcome.
Well spotted!! You can be forgiven for missing the nuance: the writer of the article has used a disgraceful sleight-of-hand. I wonder if it was intentional, or whether s/he was consciously tying to pull the wool over our eyes.
Either way it worked.
"Max's umbilical cord blood was preserved and he later needed an operation to recover bone marrow."
Clearly 'he', Max did not NEED an operation at all! That is a deceit. I am presuming that the operation to recover the bone marrow was that which saved Megan's life. So, it should have read; "Megan needed Max to have an operation."
This is a completely different scenario. I wonder what significance the umbilical cord blood has, or was this a bit of misdirection?
As far as I know a bone marrow removal can be a very painful experience, not without its risks.
I have no problem with the 'engineering' of the embryo in the first place, as that would have been acceptable in any case to have a viable second child without the disabling genetic disease. But there is a problem with consent of a minor.
I think the future for the parents might be a law suit against them by the second child, were the operation to have any adverse affects.