Saving or Subordinating Life? Popular Views in Israel and Germany of Donor Siblings Created through PGD

Journal of Medical Humanities 38 (2):191-207 (2017)
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Abstract

To explore how cultural beliefs are reflected in different popular views of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for human leukocyte antigen match (popularly known as “savior siblings”), we compare the reception and interpretations, in Germany and Israel, of the novel/film My Sister’s Keeper. Qualitative analysis of reviews, commentaries and posts is used to classify and compare normative assessments of PGD for HLA and how they reproduce, negotiate or oppose the national policy and its underlying cultural and ethical premises. Four major themes emanated from the comparison: loss of self-determination and autonomy; loss of dignity through instrumentalization; eugenics and euthanasia; and saving life. In both countries, most commentaries represented a dominant position, with a few negotiated positions. We also highlight the decoding of a relatively less explored bioethical aspect of My Sister’s Keeper’s narrative, namely the meaning of euthanasia. We conclude by discussing how the findings relate to attempts of providing cultural explanations for the regulation of HLA-PGD.

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