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My Sisters Keeper

January 2, 2011

I love a good book and this story totally gripped me over the last few days, leaving me feeling challenged, confused and more than a little bit thankful that as a mother, I haven’t had to face these tough decisions in my life.  The book tells the story of a family who get placed in a no-win situation when they find that their daughter has a rare and difficult to treat form of leukemia.  After being told that their best chance of a cure for their daughter would be to receive cord blood from a genetically matched donor the family embark on a quest to create a ‘designer baby’, a living donor, an angel sister.  They get what they asked for only to find that happiness and a cure is a long and winding road away.

The book, told from multiple view points encourages us to consider the rights of the child donor, the morality and ethics behind the creation of designer babies, of living donors and the right of the individual vs the rights of the family unit.  Although eloquently written, the book is a difficult read as the moral dilemmas facing a family in crisis play on your mind with every turn of the page.  Having said that the book is amazing and a must for any budding philosopher looking for some real-life issues to get their teeth into.  I loved it and am now rushing out to hire the DVD from my friendly local…..

My Sisters Keeper

My Sisters Keeper,  read it, think about it and cherish life, however it pans out for you.

The take home message for me is this,  the most important aspect of human rights is that they begin with the individual and this is something that often get’s missed when we adopt a utilitarianism approach to decision-making.  The ‘may all be well’ philosophy is not an easy one to adopt as it is impossible for us to comprehend the implications of every action that we take.   However,  if we break that philosophy down to a more practical  level it can be very helpful – we  make every decision based on doing the best for our partner or child, then our close family, extended family, community, town etc. 

Using this approach with the’ my sisters keeper’ story would not necessarily have stopped either the birth of the donor child or the use of her tissue, what it could have done is ensured that her voice was heard and her wishes respected much sooner than they were.  It could have also bonded the family on a much deeper level and allowed them to become closer rather than further away.

In families it is sometimes easier to avoid talking about difficult issues especially those that see us jump out of our traditional roles and become needy and scared when we feel we should be strong and sure. 

For me this book reinforces the need to talk amongst sisters……

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