Human cloning, including the cloning of embryos, has stirred the “bee’s nest” in today’s society since the success in cloning of Dolly the sheep in July, 1997 in Roslin Institute, Ireland. Before the success of Dolly, human cloning was nothing but a science fiction thriller made popular by numerous cult movies like “Multiplicity,” were a construction worker clones himself so he can accomplish everything in his life while maintaining his marriage, or even Dr. Frankenstein, a mad scientist creating life. But as time has shown, new discoveries tend to make controversy until it is accepted. An outstanding example of this would be that, at one point, everyone thought that the earth was flat and that it was the center of the universe.
The uncertainty of cloning is worldwide. In a poll conducted by CNN in February of 1997 revealed that 66% said that it was unmorally unacceptable to clone animals and 89% said the same for humans. When asked if they were willing to eat cloned products; 49% said yes and 10% said no to fruits or vegetables, 33% said yes and 56% said no to meat from cloned animals. The data revealed that people felt unsafe and uncertain about cloning. However, when given some time and under rational thinking, it also helps those who cannot help themselves. About 15% of humanity is infertile, and doctors usually cannot help them. Statistics show that invitro fertilization and related technologies have a success rate of less than 20%, hence cloning may provide an efficient solution to infertility. This is the key point that advocates argue for cloning. Cloning is believed to be the solving problem of infertility. Women that are infertile can have their own babies with the help of this scientific technique by implanting the cloned embryos into their bodies. This can eliminate the mental and physical pains among the infertile couple.
In August of 1998, scientists from Japan and United States cloned a pig named Xena and used its organs for transplant in human subjects. Cloning of pigs is useful in which they can alleviate the shortage of human organs available for transplantation. For example, pig livers can be transplant to a patient who suffers from liver failure when there is no human liver available. In this case, the pig liver can be transplanted to the patient temporarily until he can find a suitable human liver, as both humans and pigs are mammals. Human cloning is theoretically available as well. If scientists can clone the patient, they he can have an identical liver. The operation will have no repulsion at all. It will be safer and would directly benefit the patients. In a case located in San Francisco during 1988, a girl, by the name Anissa, suffered from cancer. The only therapy was to kill all the stem cells by high toxic radiation. But she could not live without stem cells. The parents of Anissa could not find a donor for suitable bone marrow transplantation. So they decided to have another baby which may provide a suitable bone marrow, which only has a 25% probability of success. They performed the bone marrow transplantation when her sister was 14 month old, 5 years later, Anissa recovered. This case sparked a controversial debate in the scientific society. Advocates of human cloning said if human cloning succeeded, the comparability of the transplantation is 100%. This can eliminate risks and hence save more patients. But this thought received more opposes than agreement. The opponents think that this will deprive the human value, because the child is born on purpose, that’s to rescue other’s life. The child will become the equipment of therapy.
Cloning can eliminate all the worrying regarding the child’s health. Scientist can alter the genes to ensure a healthy child. For example, if a mother has given birth to two children which suffered from Down’s syndrome. Doctors can manipulate and balance out the number of chromosomes in the embryo to give the mother a normal and healthy child. Cloning gives parents the opportunity to choose what characteristics they want their children to have. For instance, if the parents want their child to have Albert Einstein’s IQ or the extraordinary athleticism of Michael Jordan, it would not be impossible. Some scientists think human cloning is a good benefit because human being can control their evolvement, so that humanity can ‘‹Å”create’ more artists, athletes and scientists which would enhance the human achievement.
Scientists and ethicists who favor human cloning research argue that cloning may provide a better understanding of the nature of genetic diseases and aid in the production of embryos from which cells could be obtained to grow various organs for organ transplant. Cloning of stem cells will provide treatments for variety of diseases. Because stem cells can turn into many other cell types with the right prompting, doctors may be able to replace tissues and organs damaged by disease or injury to restore healthy function. Therapeutic applications of stem cells potentially could treat illnesses including: Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, heart attack, multiple sclerosis, blood, bone and bone marrow ailments, severe burns by providing skin grafts, spinal cord injuries, and cancer patients who have lost cells and tissue to radiation and chemotherapy. In addition, stem cells could be harnessed and packaged to deliver gene therapies to specific targets in the body to treat genetic problems. These stem cells would act as a proving ground for drugs. Ramped-up stem cell technology would permit the rapid screening of thousands of chemicals.
In June 1998, President Clinton publicly condemned human cloning. He states that ‘‹Å”any discovery that touches upon human creation is not simply a matter of scientific inquiry. It is a matter of morality and spirituality as well. Each human life is unique, born of a miracle that reaches beyond laboratory science.’ Obviously, there are some potential crises lurking behind cloning. Of course, these kinds of uncertainty are not reasonable to stop all the developments of science and technology. But some people believe that we should ban such extreme cases (such as human cloning) as long as they have potential in damaging humans’ future.
Human life on Earth relies on the diversity of genes. And the diversity of genes comes from parents having different sets of genes. The most horrendous part of identical genes is that it will weaken our power and adaptations, which make us subjected to a tremendous array of diseases easily. In addition, human cloning is just copying the identical genes, which means it will decrease the diversity of genes. Furthermore, the beauty of humanity lies in the differences we see in each other. Cloning would eliminate surprise and predict expectancy.
As mentioned above, in human cloning, all human beings will be identical, which means that the entire human race would be at a risk of getting infected by the same type of pathogen. In the scientific point of view, if everyone has the same type of genes and they are close to each other, they may not be able to defend against the same kind of serious disease. Then cloning will be detrimental in terms of a great disaster. Another negative effect of cloning is inbreeding, as everyone has the same genotype and keep reproducing among themselves. This would lead us to our own extinction. Finally, Richard Nicholson of the British Bulletin of Medical Ethics said that cloning research may well be “sowing the seeds of our own destruction.”
Clergymen argue that human cloning is playing the role of god. Albert Moraczewski, a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, mentioned that ‘‹Å”the power that God gives humans is over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small. (Genesis, chapter1, verse 26). Adam and Eve have all the power, except they cannot eat the fruit of the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. If they do so, they will die.’ So, Albert Moraczewski believes that human cloning is out of the God’s permission. There is no evidence that proves humans have the right to change God’s will. Human cloning transgresses nature, because it is not via the natural reproductive process, which is by a man and a woman. Human cloning is creating life without love, but a cloned human is no different from a natural created human. A clone must eat, drink and carry out any other metabolic processes in order to survive. The clone may even be better than his original host. It would be inhumane to treat them as ‘‹Å”special species’. If human is cloned, this will turn us to be a property which can be sold to anybody else. In other words, selling humans is unethical, inhumane and immoral.
The basic concept of a family is a couple falls in love and determines to care for each other. Then the couple may decide to have children which they will love them dearly. But parents of clones might value their children according to how much they look like themselves. Cloning, as a result, undermines the basic elements of loving, nurturing family and to accept each child as a unique individual. Cloning might arouse social side effects. It is ridiculous that reproduction is separated from love and other human relationship. The entire world may use cloning for eugenics that would lead to efforts to breed selectively children who are of more intelligent, heavier and extraordinary. Both Human Reproductive Cloning and Therapeutic Cloning Should Be Banned. George W. Bush.
Contemporary Issues Companion: Cloning. Ed. Sylvia Engdahl. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006.
This was a speech that George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, that was given at the White House in 2002 and was televised. President Bush argued in favor to ban cloning for four reasons, it is unethical, it would be impossible to enforce a ban against reproductive cloning, no evidence that therapeutic cloning would provide provide cures for disease and it could lead to exploitation of women.
The Perils of Cloning. (Science). Alice Park. Time 168.2 (July 10, 2006): p56
This is a byline written by Alice Park in Time magazine in 2006. In her article, she brings to light that since Dolly, the cloned lamb, there has been dozens of other animals cloned and that it was becoming clear that they are all, in one way or another, defective.
Slavery plus abortion. (Biotechnology: A House Divided). (human cloning). Diana Schaub.
Public Interest (wntr 2003): p41 (7).
This article argues the fact that cloning people would cause a new form of prejudice. That clones would feel different due to the fact they are not created by nature or nurture, but by being hatched and decanted. Some people feel that cloning is another form of slavery since they are being harvested for organs.