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French bishops lament IVF ‘savior sibling’

Catholic World News - February 11, 2011

Archbishop Pierre d’Ornellas of Rennes, joined by the other bishops of his ecclesiastical province, has issued a statement lamenting the utilitarianism surrounding the birth of Umut-Talha, a “savior sibling” conceived through in vitro fertilization for the purpose of providing a treatment for his siblings, who suffer from a rare genetic disease. Umut-Talha was born recently in Paris.

“The child’s embryo was genetically selected to ensure he did not carry the gene for beta thalassemia, from which his siblings suffer, but was also a close enough match to provide treatment cells from umbilical cord blood, a rich source of stem cells,” Agence France Press notes. The other embryos conceived through IVF were presumably killed or frozen.

“To want to cure a brother in humanity honors man,” the bishops wrote. “Many people dedicate their lives to this! To support parents in their suffering who have a seriously sick child is a duty of society. We understand their anguish and their hope in medicine.”

“However, to legalize the use of the most vulnerable human being to cure is unworthy of man,” they added. “To conceive a child to use him-- even if it is to cure-- is not respectful of his dignity.”

“Such utilitarianism is always a regression.”

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