I would have never picked up The Match by Beth Whitehouse on my own. I read it as part of our Friends of the Libraries book discussion group. They read three books each semester and I try to read most of them. The Match is eye-opening, but definitely not a book to approach lightly.
The story follows the Trebing family after their daughter is diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan anemia, a debilitating disease that requires monthly blood transfusions. Because the transfusions lead to a build up of iron in the heart and liver, her parents begin to search for alternative methods. They find out that the bone marrow of a sibling with the same genetic match as their daughter could cure her, but would require a potentially life-threatening transplant. They use several cutting edge procedures to give birth to a “savior sibling,” including preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilization.
The book does a fine job bringing up the ethical issues of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and the idea of “savior sibling”. One question she discusses with doctors and ethicists is whether parents may use PGD to choose traits like eye color or intelligence. Another is the protection of the savior siblings and whether desperate parents wanting to save another child will consider fully the medical interests of the savior sibling. I can’t imagine any parent not loving their child, treating them equally, and keeping them from as much harm as possible, but people are crazy (Toddlers in Tiaras are evidence of this).
Well-researched book about an extremely difficult subject. It is short and accessible though. I definitely recommend if you are interested in issues of medical ethics.