Synthetic blood and the well of Bethlehem

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Today’s NZ Herald has a story ‘Scientists to create synthetic blood.’

But developing blood made from the cells of spare IVF embryos will raise difficult ethical issues for people not happy with the idea of destroying embryos to create stem cells. It also raises the intriguing philosophical question of whether the synthetic blood will have come from someone who never existed. In theory, just one embryo could meet the nation’s needs.

If I were run over by a bus and needed blood trasfusion, please do not use this kind of blood even if it is the only kind available. I am not suggesting that this blood would not be precious. It would be precious beyond words. Too precious for me.

I am reminded of another situation from the life of David:

At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD. “God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it. (1 Chron 11: 16-19)

Did David save anything by throwing away the precious water? The men had already risked their lives. In one sense, he wasted the water and threw away their efforts. So too, by refusing this blood, I cannot save the life of the child. It is the principle of the thing. That water represented the blood of three men who could have been killed. This synthetic blood is the blood of a child that has been killed. I want none of it.

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