Article by: Marley McClean

43 PEPP. L. REV. 837 (2016)

On February 3, 2015, Members of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, in an historical move, voted to approve the creation of human beings from three different parents, i.e., the creation of three-person DNA.   In doing so, it became the first country ever to approve laws regulating such a procedure.  The procedure uses a customized version of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to mix the DNA of two parents with the healthy mitochondria of a donor woman. While three-person DNA is not yet practiced in the United States, there is a controversial ART procedure practiced and unregulated in the United States that also provides a “light at the end of the tunnel” for parents. It is called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).

One prevalent use of PGD is for the creation of “savior siblings.” A couple creates a savior sibling when they have a severely sick or dying child who needs a tissue or organ donation. This couple will undergo IVF, and doctors will then use PGD to pick an embryo that will be the near-perfect genetic organ or tissue match for the sick sibling.

Savior siblings present many ethical and legal dilemmas—dilemmas that become more glaring when examining the virtually unregulated legal landscape of PGD in the United States. This Comment identifies those ethical and legal dilemmas and gaps in the law, and suggests a change in the legal framework regulating informed consent of minors and tort law, rather than a total ban on PGD.