20 January, 2021

Offspringing Questions

Conceiving a child to gather stem cells for a sibling, parents tread an ethical bog

Sanjay Rawat
Offspringing Questions

Banking On A Child...

  • Parents, on doctors’ advice, are conceiving a second child to farm stem cells for an ailing elder child
  • At least 24 ‘saviour sibling’ transplants have been carried out in Delhi, Chennai and Calcutta
  • Cost: around Rs 10 lakh
  • There are ethical concerns, such as the abortion of foetuses unsuitable as donors. Also the question of the harm extraction of marrow from infants can cause.


Rachit Jain, aged three, has only cheerful babble to offer when asked why he was wheeled into hospital. Neither does he understand the complexity of donating part of his bone marrow and cord blood to save his brother Mudit, aged six, from thalassaemia. But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming the “hero” of the Jain family—as Mudit’s born saviour. “We decided to conceive a second child to try and see if healthy stem cells recovered from the second could be used for...



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