Ethics of Human Cloning
Two Major Types of Cloning
In the 1980 epoch, numerous scientists initiated researching formulas of cloning the high order animals, particularly mammals (Kass 2002, p. 7). The heightening success of their research and experiments has resulted into pervasive discussion over the probability of human cloning. This discussion has elicited extensive disagreements within the scientific society and the entire public over whether the research of human cloning is right. The two major techniques of cloning animals of higher order are subject to widespread scientific study.
One method occurs naturally to some humans when a woman bears triplets or twins. This occurs when the zygote or fertilized egg, when in the initial development stages divides into detached units (McLaren, 2002 p. 25). These parts then grow into identical and genetically matching persons. Scientists stimulated such an artificial process in cattle. Researchers in Washington DC conducted trials on human twinning by artificial means. The researchers willingly performed cloning on embryos that were genetically abnormal and had no survival chances.
Nuclear transplantation is the other cloning technique. In this method, the cloning specialist transfers the nucleus of a living cell to an egg or fuses the nucleus with it. The egg itself does not have a nucleus. When most people discuss the issue of human cloning, they envisage use of some sort of nuclear transplantation. Since September 2000, this activity has never or no one knows if it has ever occurred (McLaren, 2002 p. 39). For a long period, numerous scientists have affirmed that application of nuclear transplantation to build a clone from a mature mammal cell was impractical due to alarming biological obstructions. Since all mammalian cells contain similar complete genetic information as the foremost-fertilized egg, they have developed to specialization. When cells develop, some genetic information is regularly turned on and off for the formation of skin cells, nerve cells, blood cells and other kinds of cells.
The major barricade to scientists’ success in cloning human beings was the lack of knowledge of assimilating and reprogramming cells. Their aim would be subdividing a cell, developing it into a whole animal, and not reprogramming the cell to produce more cells. In 1980 and 1990, scientists managed to clone mammalian cells through nuclear transplantation, but the experiments they performed used cell nucleus from developing embryo and not from grown animals (McLaren, 2002, p. 35).
Early in 1997, various researchers from Scotland shocked the world by affirming that their team had successfully cloned a sheep by application of nuclear transplantation (Kass, 2002 p. 73). The clone, referred as Dolly had three female parents. The scientists used the nucleus of a cell from an udder of one sheep and fused it with another enucleated egg from the second female and the inseminated the resultant embryo into the uterus of the third sheep. Immediately, Dolly became renowned and a celebrity. She reproduced through normal reproductive processes proving that she was a complete functional unit.
The scientists who architecture Dolly refuted intention of cloning human beings, claiming the purpose of their imminent research was to boost methods of bulk production of genetically matching animals. The announcement however fueled public criticism centered on the issue of cloning humans. A poll stipulated that a majority of people greatly disapproved cloning of human beings. Numerous scientists and bioethicists were firmly disapproving human cloning. The Roman Catholics summoned a global ban on human cloning. President Clinton initiated a federal funding of research on cloning.
Responding to the heightened public concern, the NBAC, an expert team that Clinton created to explore and study ethical concerns surrounding the biotechnology body got into task to investigate the matter. After receiving testimonies from ethicists, religious bodies, scientists and other parties, NBAC suggested a five-year continuation of the announced federal funding on cloning research that cloning specialists had designed to form a human child (Kass, 2002 p. 65). NBAC further announced a cessation of research on cloning of human tissues and cells.
The ethical queries numerous people have raised regarding human cloning pose on several levels. Some opposition surrounds the safety of the human cloning experimental procedures. Cloning is nevertheless not a foolproof process. Scientists took 277 trials to form Dolly (MacKinnon, 2001, p.3). The fused egg gametes did not develop successfully and in other cases, the fused gametes had abnormalities that appeared hazardous during gestation. The instance of a dichotomous success/failure ratio regarding animals is enough to ban research on cloning as most people argue. Queries linger as to the enduring physical health and probable premature aging of clones such as the sheep. NBAC concluded in its report that such safety queries necessitated a suspension on experiments involving human cloning.
Premature aging and safety issues surrounding cloning are technical barricades that may or not fail as the intelligence of cloning advances. Numerous people have raised moral objections to human cloning that extend beyond questions of well-being (Dudley, 2001 p. 34).The art of cloning contravenes basic and pertinent religious beliefs and conceptions on how reproduction in humans ought to occur. Some people fear that the art cloning could result in dismantled and unclear family relationships.
Additional ethical queries concentrate on intentions behind human cloning and whether some explanations are acceptable than the rest. For example, people may deem it moral for a married couple at risk of reproducing a child with genetic abnormalities to clone a healthy parent. It is questionable whether it is moral for a couple to clone and produce a child because the father desires an exact replica of himself. It is also questionable if parents would clone cells of their dead child to obtain a replacement. Some people question the society’s role in delving into reproductive affairs of individuals by restricting cloning (Dudley, 2001 p. 50).
The principle that forms the foundation for numerous human cloning disagreements is the declaration by the philosopher Kant that human beings ought to receive treatment as ends in themselves and not mere means to an end. The starkest utilization of such reasoning is the issue of human cloning to offer organs for transplantation into the donor devoid of fear of rejection (Messer, 2001 p. 12). Cloning advocates defend the utilization of fetuses and embryos while others dismiss such practices as farfetched. Many would concur that forming a human clone of a person as a source of grafts is a stark violation of Kant’s claims.
Some persons go further and purport that cloning by any means and for whatever purpose violates Kant’s opinion on some level since a manufactured clone would wonder expecting what type of person they would become. O’Connor, the retired Catholic archbishop affirmed that there is an immense ethical disparity between naturally reproducing a child and designing a child. It means that the naturally born child is a blessing while the clone child is a manufactured, a product that is not appreciated but merely priced for its service. Bioethicists such as Macklin refute the argument and claim that people would still treat and love clones as they treat the rest (MacKinnon, 2001 p. 150).
Enthusiasts of human cloning affirm that the foremost negative reaction is an ordinary human response to anything new that is unknown (Messer, 2001 p. 22). Human cloning supporters further compare human cloning to other induced reproductive methods such as in vitro fertilization. When the notion of removing a woman’s ovary out the uterus, artificially fertilizing it and placing it back into the womb came up in the 1970 epoch, numerous people argued that the practice was unnatural and disconcerting and wondered how test tube children would develop psychologically and socially (Dudley, 2001 p. 22). Contemporarily, in vitro fertilization is acceptable to most people as an option for infertile couples to get their own children. Cloning enthusiasts claim that reactions towards cloning will go through a similar evolution and the process shall be acceptable as an alternative method for unviable people who wish to have their own children.
It is intricate to predict what the future has for the new cloning technology. The ethics groups will continue their deliberation on the matters and governments will undoubtedly decide on their stipulations regarding the issue. If human cloning does not continue, the initial rate of success will not be high. Regardless of whether cloning of human beings shall or shall not be as acceptable and common as in vitro fertilization, it is succinctly predictable that the ethical debate regarding human cloning may not subside soon. Though human cloning is in various ways continuous with reproductive technology, it also embodies a new prospect that is unique and has foreseeable repercussions.
Dudley, W. (2001) The Ethics of Human Cloning, San Diego: GREENHAVEN PressINC.
Kass, L. (2002) Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President’s Council on Bioethics, Jackson: Public Affairs Publishers.
MacKinnon, B. (2001) Human Cloning: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy, Illinois: University of Illinois Press.
McLaren, A. (2002) Cloning, Strasbourg: Council of Europe.
Messer, N. (2001) The Ethics of Human Cloning, Cambridge: Grove Books, Limited.
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