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a pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant, even when that sibling is a child or adolescent.
Yet how often are these potential donors informed about the risks and benefits of being a donor, and should parents insist they be told? Better yet, do parents feel siblings should even be given a choice in the decision to be a donor for their sibling?
Pentz et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2013-3067) tackle this ethically challenging topic by sharing the results of qualitative interviews with more than 30 families (and over a hundred family members) who were interviewed pre- and post-transplant, regarding siblings being given a choice or concerns that parents and siblings had about being worked up as donors for transplant.
Clearly, this is a controversial area, so we also enlisted two medical ethicists Drs. Lainie Ross and Armand Antommaria (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-0375) to reflect on the findings in this study in an accompanying commentary.
Whether or not you have had one of your patients undergo a bone marrow transplant from a sibling donor, you will find these two articles well-worth your consideration and reflection as to your role in making sure siblings are fully informed before they are evaluated as prospective donors.