A Melbourne couple who genetically engineered their unborn baby to be a perfect genetic match for their sick son, is facing backlash for their “selfish” decision.
David and Olivia Densley have five children and Olivia is currently pregnant with their sixth, 9 News reported. Two of the couple’s children, Cooper and Fletcher, have been diagnosed with a fatal genetic illness called Wiscott Aldrich Syndrome, a rare genetic disease which effectively turns off the body’s immune system and reduces its ability to form blood clots.
The only way Cooper and Fletcher can be cured is by bone marrow transplant. Luckily for Cooper, his younger brother Jackson is an exact genetic match and in 2014 he provided the lifesaving bone marrow transfusion.
Fletcher was their second child to be diagnosed with the deadly condition. To save his life, his parents made the controversial decision to have a sixth child that would be genetically engineered.
Speaking on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes program on Sunday night, the Densley’s defended their decision.
“We can positively say to this child, yes, we did have you for some of your bone marrow, but it’s a good thing because we knew you were going to be OK,” Olivia said.
Your heart goes out to a tiny little boy who can't do what all other three-year-old kids are doing.' Andrew & Olivia wanted to share their story on Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome to raise awareness of drastic shortage in bone marrow donors: https://t.co/rmf1LkBuXn #60Mins pic.twitter.com/VVe6uiQGPg
— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) August 13, 2018
“Olivia’s a bit more sensitive to what other people think and say but I don’t really care, I’ll just live my life and you live yours,” Daivd said. “That’s the decision we’ve made.”
Viewers were quick to comment, branding the couple selfish, with one writing: “Imaging being that child and growing up knowing that the only reason you exist is so something can be harvested for you so give to someone else. It’s disgusting”.
Another added: “Just horrible. So utterly selfish.” And a third wrote: “Irresponsible, selfish and disgusting!”
However, one viewer didn’t see anything wrong with it, writing: “In this situation, with a very sick child suffering, I would do the same thing they did. To see one of my kids suffering, I would go to any length to do something to heal them.”