Examining the Moral and Ethical Dilemmas of Creating Savior Siblings

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Graduate student, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Assistant professor, Ferdowsi University, Mashhad, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Ferdowsi University, Mashhad, Iran



This study examines the moral and ethical aspects of creating savior siblings using Kant’s moral-philosophical theory and Beauchamp and Childress’s (B&C) principles of medical ethics. In this study, the researchers argue that three of the four clusters of the principles of B&C framework are derived from common morality and Kant’s ethics. Besides, the second part of this article is designed as a moral qualitative question in order to see to what extent different participants from three different countries (i.e., Iraq, Iran, and the United States) would react to the moral situation of creating savior siblings. The results show how creating savior siblings violate the Kantian categorical imperative that prohibits the use of anyone as a mere means to someone else’s end. Also, through applying B&C ethical framework, it is found that the creation of savior siblings violates Beauchamp and Childress’ principles of medical ethics. Furthermore, the results of examining the moral and ethical dilemmas of creating savior siblings from the participants’ responses show that, in the 21st century, people from Iraq, Iran, and America practice morality and moral rules in their decisions. Also, the researchers found that Iraqi and Iranian people think more within a religious framework in deciding about moral cases than Americans.


Babbie. 2010. The Practice of Social Research. 12 th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Banyard, Flanagan. 2011. Ethical Issues in Psychology. London: Routledge.

Beauchamp, Childress. 2001. Principles of Biomedical Ethics. 7th edition. Oxford: Oxford               University Press.

Bramer, Marilea. 2010. “The Importance of Personal Relationships in Kantian Moral Theory: A Reply        to Care Ethics.” Hypatia 25 (1): 121-39.

Dickens, B. M. 2005. “Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and ‘Savior Siblings.’” International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 88 (1): 91-96. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2004.10.002.

Donagan, Alan. 1977. The Theory of Morality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 

Enck, Gavin G. 2009. “A Comparison of Two Bioethical Theories.”Master’s thesis, Ohio University.

Friedman. 2011. ‘‘How to Collect and Analyze Qualitative Data.’’ In Research Methods in Second Language Acquisition: A Practical Guide, edited by Mackey and Gass, 180-200. Chichester: Blackwell.

Gardner, Sebastian. 2003. Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason. London: Routledge.

Gert, Bernard, Charles M. Culver, and K. Danner Clouser. 2006. Bioethics: A Return to Fundamentals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hart, Joy L., Kandi L. Walker, and Jennifer L. Gregg. 2007. “Communication Ethics and My Sister's Keeper.” Communication Teacher 21 (4): 123-27.

Heubel, F., and N. Biller-Andorno. 2005. “The Contribution of Kantian Moral Theory to Contemporary Medical Ethics: A Critical Analysis.” Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8 (1): 5-18.

Höffe, Oftried. 1989. “Kant’s Principle of Justice as Categorical Imperative of Law.” In Kant’s Practical Philosophy Reconsidered,edited by Y. Yovel, 149-67. Dordrecht: Springer.


Kant, Immanuel. 2005. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lai, Amy T. Y. 2011. “To Be or Not to Be My Sister's Keeper? A Revised Legal Framework Safeguarding Savior Siblings’ Welfare.” Journal of Legal Medicine 32 (3): 261-93.

Mills, Janelle. 2013. “Understanding the Position of the Savior Sibling: How Can We Save Lives and Protect Savior Siblings?” Master’s thesis, Wake Forest University.

Nerlich, Brigitte, Susan Johnson, and David D. Clarke. 2003. “The First ‘Designer Baby’: The Role of Narratives, Clichés and Metaphors in the Year 2000 Media Debate.” Science as Culture 12 (4): 471-98.

Page, Katie. 2012. “The Four Principles: Can They Be Measured and Do They Predict Ethical Decision Making?” BMC Medical Ethics 13 (10):1-8. doi.org/10.1186/1472-6939-13-10.

Parsapoor, Alireza, Mohammad-Bagher Parsapoor, Nima Rezaei, and Fariba Asghari. 2014. “Autonomy of Children and Adolescents in Consent to Treatment: Ethical, Jurisprudential and Legal Considerations.” Iranian Journal of Pediatrics 24 (3): 241-248.

Picoult, Jodi. 2004. My Sister's Keeper. New York: Atria Books.

Timmermann, J., ed. 2009. Kant's ‘Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals’: A Critical              Guide.    Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wood, Allen. 2017. “The Final Form of Kant’s Practical Philosophy.” In Immanuel Kant, edited by Paul Guyer, 27-47. London: Routledge.