Human Genetic Engineering, Saviour siblings & Desi
Human genetic engineering is the artificial alteration of genes in a living thing. It aims to prevent genetic diseases such as Alzheimers, cancer and provide immunity towards certain deadly illnesses like HIV.
A saviour sibling is a child concieved through IVF. As an embryo, its genes are checked to make sure it is free from any illnesses before its cord blood can then be used to save the life of a terminally ill brother or sister.
Some people say it is good for parents to do whatever they can to save their ill children. Also, the saviour sibling is not harmed from this however what if this leaves them feeling used and unwanted? Some may say it is 'playing God' as it is creating and designing life.
A designer baby is one whose characteristics are chosen by its parents. It is lawful in the Uk if it is used to cure a disease or prevent the birth of a child with a particular disease but this involves 'Selecting' a healthy embryo. Designer babies are illegal if done only to choose the sex of the baby or choose its appearance.
Religious views in relation to Saviour siblings, G
What a Christian might say:
Human life is created by God in the womb; 'life begins at conception' (Psalm 139)
Even before birth God has given everyone a purpose (Isaiah 49:5)
Most Christians are against 'designer babies' because it interferes with Gods plan and alters his creation. Many also disagree with embryos being destroyed as a result of genetic engineering but some think it is acceptable when it is aimed towards treating diseases.
What a Buddhist might say:
Samsara means the cycle of rebirth. Being born in human form is rare and therefore precious. Buddhists believe that life begins before conception so destruction of an embryo or genetic manipulation at any stage is ending or distorting an already existing life.
Enbryology & Cloning
Embryology is the study of human embryos. Embryos can be created for IVF purposes or for research however there are strict rules. All research must be licensed by the Human Embryo Fertilisation Authority and is only permitted if that is the only way a particular type of research can be carried out. The consent of both parents of the embryo are needed and the research may only be carried out for up to 14 days after the embryo was created. Afterwards the embryo must be destroyed.
Some believe that this kind of technology might be abused and that life does begin from conception.
Cloning means to create a genetically identical copy of a living thing. The most famous example is Dolly the Sheep. Reproductive cloning is illegal here in the UK.
Religious views on Embryology and Cloning
What a Christian might say:
Christians are generally against cloning because they believe the soul of the person enters the embryo at conception so embryos are considered as a murderous act. They believe that dividing cells are against Gods intent for that person and think it is unnatural as well as 'playing God'.
What a Muslim might say:
There is some debate about when life begins in Islam. Some Muslims believe that the unborn child does not recieve a soul until 120 days after conception whilst other Muslims believe it is until 40 days. Despite this, this does not mean embryos can be misused. Allah (God) has given us humans the skills to help improve peoples quality of life however a cloned person might not have a soul. "It is he Allah who crafted you from a single person" (Qur'an)
Stem Cell (therapeutic), Transplant surgery & Bloo
Stem cell is a type of cloning used to find ways of curing diseases. It can only be carried out in institutes licensed by the Human Embryo and Fertilisation Authority. The embryos must be destroyed after 14 days.
Many religions think that this research is aimed at saving lives and is therefore a good use of the skills God has given us however many religious believers also think that destroying embryos goes against the sanctity of life.
Transplant surgery is an organ donation to someone else who needs a transplant. Hundereds of peoples lives are saved each year by organ transplants. The organs taken after death are transplanted into the body of someone else who desperately needs it. Organs such as hearts and kidneys and much more can be used.
A blood tranfusion is when a patient is given extra blood that has been donated. Many operations require blood loss in a patients body to be replaced.