Listening practice:My Sister's Keeper, Part 1


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  • coincidences
  • birth control
  • engineered
  • genes

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  • What did her mother tell her when she was a kid?
  • What does she think most babies are a product of?
  • Who does she say actually plans for babies?
  • How and why was she conceived?



  • Montana (a US state)
  • Aunt Kelly
  • disfunctional

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  • Why does Kate like Montana?
  • What kind of work did their mom used to do? Why did she quit?



  • Anna Fitzgerald
  • to sue somebody
  • kidney
  • leukemia
  • renal failure
  • legal guardian
  • designer baby
  • spare parts
  • go through with something

The doctors started taking things from her the moment she was born. Cord blood as an infant, white-cell transfusions bone marrow, lymphocytes injections to add more stem cells, and then they took them too.

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  • What does she want to sue her parents for?
  • What are her parents trying to force her to do?
  • What will happen if Anna doesn't give her sister a kidney?
  • How much money does she give the lawyer?


NOTE: This section has a lot of difficult medical vocabulary, some of which you'll probably never hear again. So, I'm just posting the text of what is said. The words in italics are particularly specialized. You do not have to understand their meaning to understand the overall dialogue.

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Kate's leukemia is back. She's no longer remissing.

We've looked at her smear, and her leukemic cellsare showing at 23%.

Ηow many is bad?


What about chemo?

It’s an option, but Kate doesn't seem to take it very well. And her cancer may be too far along.

So you need more bone marrow?

Yes, but the leukemia isn't Kate's biggest problem now. She's lost the function of her kidneys. They've quit. They're gone.

Νot a match?


We're her parents, don't we have to be?

Everyone inherits two sets of chromosomes containing ΗLA genes. Unfortunately, there's only a 1 in 200 chance that parents and their children will be perfect his to compatible ΗLA matches.

What about Jesse?

l’m afraid not. It’s possible that a donor will crop up on the national bone-marrow registry.

I thought you said getting a transplant from an unrelated donor Was dangerous.

I did. But Kate's situation is time-sensitive, and sometimes that's all we've got. I'd like to suggest something completely off the record. Many times one sibling isn't a match, but another is. Ηave you considered having another child? Νot to be forward but umbilical blood can be an incredibly effective tool in treating leukemic patients. It’s like a miracle.

Well' how would you know that the new child would be a match?

We could make sure of it.

In a test tube?

Yes. With pre implantation genetic diagnosis, it would be a 100 percent match.

A donor child?

It’s not for everybody. And legally, I can't even officially recommend it. But like I said, cord blood would be invaluable.

Well' we gotta do it. We gotta try.



  • cheerleader
  • pregnant
  • Anna "gets the table"

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  • What reasons does Anna give for not wanting the operation?
  • What did the doctors tell Anna about the operation?



  • Mr. Alexander
  • Sarah Fitzgerald
  • Gloria
  • security (NP)
  • emancipation
  • guardian ad litem You don't have to remember this, but you should be able to recognize it as a legal term given the context of the conversation.
  • ACLU = American Civil Liberties Union. See
  • power of attorney
  • hold up
  • catheterization
  • bone-marrow aspiration
  • Filgrastim shots
  • side effects
  • growth hormone
  • hack

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  • What is the legal age for emancipation in the state of California?
  • How old is Anna?
  • How many times has Anna been hospitalized during her life?
  • What were some of the side effects of Anna's operations?
  • What types of drugs has she been on?