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When Laurie Strongin’s son Henry was born with the rare, often fatal disease of Fanconi anemia, doctors told her that the best way to save his life was with an umbilical cord blood transplant from a genetically matched sibling. But Henry had no matching siblings. Laurie and her husband then got a call from a doctor with a novel idea of combining three technologies to create a child who was guaranteed to be a genetic match, raising the question: is it ethical to create a life in order to save another?

Show Notes:

In addition to Laurie Strongin, this episode features interviews with:

John Wagner, Co-Leader of the Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program, Professor in the Division of Transplant and Cell Therapy in the Department of Pediatrics, and the McKnight-Presidential Endowed Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation & Cellular Therapy, University of Minnesota

Jeffrey Kahn, Andreas C. Dracopolous Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

You can learn more about Fanconi anemia, learn about the latest research, and find resources for those affected by the disease here. You can read more about the Strongin-Goldbergs’ and the Nashes’ stories in this New York Times article from 2001.

Laurie Strongin went on to found the Hope for Henry Foundation, which works with hospitals to help provide support and better care for pediatric patients.

To learn more about the ethics issues raised in this episode, visit the Berman Institute’s episode guide.

The Greenwall Foundation seeks to make bioethics integral to decisions in health care, policy, and research. Learn more at

The Host

Lauren Arora Hutchinson, PhD, MPH

Lauren Arora Hutchinson, host of playing god?, joined the Berman Institute in June 2022 as the inaugural director of the Dracopoulos-Bloomberg iDeas Lab. She was previously a BBC journalist, award-winning audio storyteller,…