Animal cloning became recognized as a commercial venture in 2001, with the intention to improve the quality of herds. It is one of the many ways in the field of genetics that has been used to improve and advance the quality of life. However, serious scrutiny from several advocacy groups considers the venture as a violation against fundamental environment and ethic principles.
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‘Dolly’ was a sheep and the first living organism to be cloned, in 1997 in Scotland by Ian Wilmut and colleagues. This invention was associated with scientific and ethical implications hence, raised a lot of interest and concern from the public. The University of Hawaii subsequently came up with a process through which mass cloning could occur, while using mice. In both cases, somatic cell nuclear transfer was used. Scientists coined the term cloning in reference to duplication of biological material.
It is important to understand that, contrary to what the media reports on cloning, with a focus on reproductive cloning, there are a variety of cloning technologies besides the production of genetic twin of an organism. This paper will give insight into the various technologies behind cloning, will help in understanding what animal and human cloning are all about, and subsequently present an exhaustively argued out ethical stand.
The cloning of Dolly was received with great attention, and was seen as a theoretical possibility of human cloning. However, it was a shocking revelation that led to the proposal of various bans on human cloning.
Some scholars have taken up a balanced approach based on the pros and cons of cloning and have argued out that cloning should be regulated rather than banned. This regulation would be based on one’s intention of using the cloning process because, one cannot ignore the fact that cloning is a solution for infertility, as well as, protecting endangered species (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe 4-5).
It is important to understand that cloning is not associated with the production of a clone that has the same size and age as its donor, but rather, it is a form of twinning referred to as ‘delayed twining’. One great misunderstanding associated with a clone as we shall see is that which states that a clone is an exact replica of the donor, while in actual sense, this is not the case.
Various types of Cloning
To start with, there is recombinant DNA technology or DNA cloning, gene cloning, or molecular cloning (U.S. Department of Energy Genome Program’s Para 3-4). This refers to the movement of the selected DNA segment from one organism, to a genetic factor characterized by self-replication, such as bacterial plasmid (picture below). Bacterial plasmids often play a great role in the production of multiple and similar copies of a particular gene. This helps in generating enough material for a detailed study.
Reproductive cloning, the popular one and which continues to be a contentious topic, is a kind of cloning that involves generating an animal that has got the same nuclear DNA as its host (the donor animal). The process used is referred to as somatic cell nuclear transfer, and it was the method used to create Dolly (U.S. Department of Energy Genome Program’s Para 3-5).
Chemicals and electric current are used to ensure that cell division takes place. The uterus is used as the medium for gestation for a cloned embryo, once it reaches a certain stage. While in uterus, gestation continues until the clone grows and develops into a full-term fetus for birth. The cloning of both humans and animals through reproductive cloning has not been accurate enough and is at the experimentation stage. Until now, there is no one successful human clone that has been created.
There is another kind of cloning known as therapeutic/embryo cloning and this is the type of cloning where human embryos are produced for research purposes. This cloning process is apparently similar to reproduction cloning, but in this case, the embryos are not implanted into a uterus/womb, rather, they are used to produce stem cells that are useful for studying human development and treatment of diseases. Therapeutic cloning involves the use of stem cells, whose purpose is well known in relation to organ/tissue transplant.
Since this paper intends to focus on human and animal cloning, it will therefore talk about reproductive and therapeutic cloning because they both seem to cover the actual purpose of this paper: human and animal cloning.
Cloning of animals is a relatively new technology, whose role is to breed elite animals, and replace dead ones. Even though animal cloning was previously exercised, it only managed to catch the public’s attention in 1997. Animal cloning in the US is far more established compared with any other nation hence, the reason why the FDA recommends consumption of products from cloned animals (The Foods Standard Agency 4).
In 2002, Dolly (seen in the picture below) appeared healthy and had given birth to six healthy lambs. It is presumed that it was during the very same year that Dolly radically suffered from lung cancer and arthritis.
One of the scientist involved in producing Dolly said that a problem during the cloning process might have led to her development of arthritis in the hip and knee of her left hind leg at such a tender young age. According to the BBC news, most of the cloned animals had died before birth, or had been born with severe deformities.
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It is because of these kinds of revelation that concerns over the health of animal clones that appear healthy, yet, may be having underlying genetic abnormalities have come up. In the case of Dolly, contrary to a sheep’s normal lifespan of 10-16 years, Dolly is said to have suffered an unforeseen and premature death. Some research says that Dolly might have been vulnerable to premature ageing (BBC News para 1-10).
Dr, Dai Grove-White of the Faculty of Veterinary science at Liverpool University said that arthritis was not a common ailment in sheep, and neither was it well recognized. According to Professor Ian Wilmut, more research and data on animal cloning is required because the case with Dolly cannot be used to make a conclusive judgment.
Currently, there are few quantitative studies to give a detailed analytical assessment of the health and welfare of cloned animals during their lifetime as productive organisms. Several confounding and causal factors are thought to have interfered with the assessment process for the reported studies. It has been concluded that cloning is an inefficient process, associated with high failure rate with fatal outcomes (BBC News para 1-10).
Farm animals, especially sheep and cattle, are mainly cloned for the purpose of preserving the breeding capacity of genetically elite animals. In addition, this ensures that loss against valuable genetic and characteristic features is insured. It is the males that are normally cloned. Sheep and cattle, followed by goat, rabbits, pigs and horses were among the first mammalian species to be cloned. Their economic importance, as well as, the well-developed assisted reproduction techniques made this possible.
Pig cloning, which entails the use of worthwhile boars, helps in artificial insemination, and in evaluating the genetic quality of the pigs through a detailed analysis of the carcass. In European farms, animal breeders indulge themselves in the business of selecting parents of highest quality for the next generation by choosing from a diverse and distinct European livestock, where the market is highly competitive.
Despite the fact that there is no practical benefit at present associated with cloning at the farm level, breeding companies are using it at the forefront of worldwide research and development (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe 5). Cloning can be expected to be a valuable process with time in as far as, the production of high value breeding lines that are useful in broadening the elite pedigree stock are concerned.
The escalation in value may be agricultural, encompassing increased performance with regard to food conversion and growth rate; ameliorated health and welfare characterized by resistance to infectious disease and lowered incidence of non-infectious diseases such as mastitis; good conformation marked by reduced prevalence and incidence of disease, and aesthetic value (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe 1-8).
Animal cloning is seen as a means of pet replacement, where owners can easily replace their pet animals. The use of animals or cloning however calls for respect for their intrinsic or inherent value to avoid inflicting too much suffering on them. As at the beginning, humans were given the responsibility of ensuring that they care for the animals, and this is what they ought to ensure they abide by, even during cloning (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe 6).
There are no certain results that show that it is technically feasible to clone humans. The continued low success rates associated with animal cloning regardless of the tremendous effort put forward to alter the procedures suggest this. In addition, the failure to clone primates also proves this. Safety problems are the reason for the current prohibition on cloning. The limited success despite numerous modifications on procedures for each species, and involving many animals, has further led to this prohibition.
This is because, for the cloning process to be successful with humans, it would involve producing hundreds of ova for research, and treating women with hormones that are not risk-free, and this is highly unethical. Even though preliminary animal evidence would prove to be successful, the first attempts at human cloning would be experimental. As an experimental research process, the ethical principles of human research should be looked into, before endorsing the cloning process.
In 2001, a breakthrough in human cloning was realized when the Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts reported to having successfully cloned human embryos through therapeutic cloning. The report on human cloning was developed six months after the President’s Council on Bioethics discussed, researched and deliberated on it.
Unanimously, the council decreed that reproductive cloning aimed at producing children was not safe, and in accordance with the stipulated ethical principles of human research hence, should be banned by federal law.
On the basis of the ethical principles of respect for human freedom, dignity and equality, five major categories of concern with regard to reproductive cloning were identified. These are (Iltis 72-73)
- Identity and individuality of cloned children
- Perception of cloned children as objects
- Prospects of new eugenics
- Implication on family
- Implication on societal values
In addressing the issue of ethical principles, there is a need to understand the reasons behind cloning. Unfortunately, the media is very good at creating misunderstanding and is the facilitator for the misunderstanding on replica of a clone. Despite the fact that good reasons for cloning may be laid down, human cloning is the height of technologies. Creation of man by another man is an insult to God and for this simple reason alone, human cloning will always be opposed.
The strong opposition towards cloning mainly rests on the notion that cloning is unnatural. Prior to cloning, there were medical and technological interventions revolving around human reproduction that entailed segregation of sexes and sterilization in the period of state eugenics, artificial insemination during the 1940s and 1950s and family planning, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and related assisted reproduction technologies that included pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and surrogacy in the 1980s and 1990s, and contraception, legalized abortion, medicalization of pregnancy and birth in the 1960s and 1970s (Human genetics Alert 5-8).
Compared with cloning which forces the occurrence of an unnatural reproduction event, these earlier interventions in reproduction work with, and offer solutions to sexual reproduction. The unnaturalness of cloning, conflicts with a given set of moral and social meanings thus, is strongly contested against.
The element of ‘naturalness’ is perceived with positivity, while the ‘artificial’ element is considered inferior. As such, cloning, which characterized by artificialness, receives a negative attitude and reception. It is because of this very same the reason that moratoria were articulately outlined. Most of the religious philosophers have stated their opposition against cloning, claiming that it is wrong to interfere with God’s creation.
Ethics in Cloning
Despite the fact that cloning may never become a globally used procedure, it is hypothetically recommended for couples that cannot either produce a sperm, or an ovum, but wish to have a child that is genetically related to either one of them without having to use sperm or ovum donors.
Basing on people’s attitudes, reproduction is thought to continue being sexual, as this is much cheaper, easier and more fun. Very needy couples, those who are desperate for a child, are likely to use this method and proponents of cloning do not see the need of denying such couples this process. This is because, contrary to a majority of people’s beliefs, the cloned child would be a source of joy for such a couple (Human genetics Alert 8).
The National Research Act (Pub. L. 93-348) was endorsed in 1974 as a way of protecting human subjects for use in biomedical and behavioral research.
Various ethical principles were identified by the National Commission for Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research to govern the conduct of biomedical and behavioral research. Since cloning utilizes medical procedures and technology, whose implication requires professional care due to the genetic and psychological conditions that result from such procedures, it is said to fall within the medical umbrella.
The ethics of research as stipulated by the National Research Act should be carefully evaluated, and especially the role of physicians in practice. The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs is charged with the responsibility of determining whether; physicians should participate in human cloning, as well as the legality of the process (Office of Human Subjects Research para 1-2).
The many embryos created by nuclear transfer fail to undergo a normal development process as seen Dolly’s case where 277 attempts had to be carried out. The highest published success rate of this process has been at around 5%. In a majority of experiments, the success rate is usually less than 1%, and irrespective of the many attempts, dogs or primates have been difficult to clone (Human Genetics Alert 2).
loned embryos will mainly die at the early stages of embryonic development, or spontaneously abort before the full gestation period has been attained. As has been evidently discussed in this paper, despite the fact that a clone is born, most of the clones are abnormal and die almost immediately after birth, due to the various physiological and anatomical problems that vary from one species to another.
The large offspring syndrome is the main problem, where clones are much larger than normal, and are mainly delivered through caesarean section. Successfully cloned animals like Dolly, are apparently healthy and capable of reproducing healthily and normally. Unfortunately, there seems to be some subtle problems that prevail in these successfully cloned animals, and that are caused by disturbed gene expression, which is likely to manifest itself as the animals continue to age (Gicquel 1338-1341; Jaenisch para 2-6).
Scientists claim that reproductive cloning is associated with some benefits. For one, reproductive cloning could be used to create animals with special qualities. In this sense, mass production of drug-producing animals or animals whose genes have been modified could act as avenues through which human diseases could be studied. In addition, repopulation of endangered species, as well as animals with breeding difficulties is achieved through reproductive cloning.
The gaur, a wild ox and an endangered species, gained recognition as the first endangered animal to be generated and this was in 2001. During the same year, a healthy baby mouflon, an endangered sheep species, was successfully created by scientists in Italy (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe 5). It is obvious that reproductive cloning is not without some benefits, but the ethical issues surrounding it are equally significant.
According to a recent survey in America, 64% were against the idea of cloning, and 63% said that they would not consider buying cloned food albeit safe. As indicated above, it is obvious that cloning is associated with so many benefits. However, this does not mean that cloning can be ethically approved.
Cloning is a very serious issue revolving around various aspects in society like religion, which is defined by certain rules and regulations that cover the right to life, and creation. Life is precious and should not be perceived as a property or item that can be easily owned and sold.
This is actually what cloning is about, since it involves objectification and co-modification of animals and humans, thereby treating them as mere machines that can be easily manufactured. Cloning is also considered to exacerbate problems affecting animals (Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production para 11-15).
Reports made by the media on the advances involved in cloning, imply that cloning is a means of manufacturing “armies of programmed killers, copying academic geniuses or sport stars, and recreating loved ones that are already dead” (Kass 23-60). The highly held perception of human clones is that they are the exact replica of the donor organism. It is unarguably true that human clones are identical is as far as nuclear genes are concerned.
However, when it comes to twinning as is the case with natural monozygotic twins, other confounding factors apart from mere identical genes are involved. A clone is different from its donor in terms of personality and character as a result of environment, and circumstances that define its life. In human cloning, there is no sharing of genomes to produce a hybrid organism and this may be fatal if the donor organism is susceptible to a certain disease as it only means that the clone will suffer from the same.
Cloning therefore should not be considered an alternative to mortality or terminal illness, because terminal illnesses are passed down to the clone. The natural process of procreation as established during creation is enough to establish a balance within the ecosystem (Kass 23-60). The ethical issue in this approach is that the clone is deprived of its autonomy. People think that a clone is the same as the cloned individual and therefore, is linked to giving the donor individual a second chance to life, while in the actual sense, this is not the case.
No one person can be entirely replaced by another once he/she dies, and it is precisely for this very reason that sport stars and academic geniuses cannot be replicated through generation of clones. Despite the fact that cloning is characterized by persistence of certain genotypes and resultant phenotypic traits, it does not bring about replication (National Bioethics Advisory Commission 629-641).
Creation of a genetic twin, whose form of demarcation is an element of somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning is said to be troubling and fascinating. As indicated by Schwartz (195-206), various cultures throughout the world and as dictated by history, have enjoyed the intrigue derived from the phenomenon of identical twins.
The reason for the fascination is quite easy. If a person witnesses the experience with the identical twins, it is evident that it clearly demonstrates how different these twins are, in person, as well as in personality. Observation of identical twins on the other hand makes one intrigued by the resemblance, expecting that the two identical individuals would have the same abilities and personality since according to the human intuition, body and personality are always intertwined (National Bioethics Advisory Commission 629-641).
Reproductive cloning is linked to a scientifically inaccurate and instinctive fear of multitudes of similar bodies, where each body houses personalities that are considered to be somewhat “less unique, less than distinct, and less autonomous than the normal” (Schwartz 195-206).
Identity and Individuality of Cloned Children
Cloning of humans violates the freedom of uniqueness of an individual. An individual, who feels that he/she is a genetic copy of another person, may undergo intense compelling pressure to become like, or distinct from its progenitor (National Bioethics Advisory Commission 629-641).
The risks that are linked to developmental abnormalities in cloned organisms have led to the preclusion of cloning for the time being. Even with homozygous twins, who share the same genes, they are distinct and not identical and therefore, each person has the right to a unique unrepeated genome.
Lack of autonomy is associated with limited life choices resulting from constrain from self, and expectation from others (National Bioethics Advisory Commission 629-641). There is a strong fear that human cloning is associated with a less-than-autonomous child. This is because; creation of cloned soldiers has led to a diminished physical individuality and psychological autonomy.
The misplaced belief of cloning has actually made people to believe they can determine behavior and personality hence are able to produce “armies of co-operative workers, beatific saints, or crazed soldiers” (Kass 3-17). Human cloning is feared to be more or less like an art because the total genetic blueprint of cloned individuals is pre-selected and pre-determined. In this light, human cloning disregards God’s status as the creator and the process of creation is seen, as another man-made activity.
The ideal idea of parenting is that which appreciates both the differences and similarities between the parents and their children. This kind of parenting is associated with care and teaching, which leads to general, as well as serendipitous developments in their children.
When someone seeks a clone, his mentality of a child is misplaced since the parent-clone considers the child-clone as an exact copy of him/herself and will not appreciate the distinctness that comes with it. As opposed to good parenting which is characterized by a strong parent-child relationship, cloning is fundamentally at odds with unconditional “love, acceptance and openness, all of which are characteristics of good parenting” (Kass 23-60).
It is evident that parenting exercises some form of control over off springs through varied means such as contraception, but reproductive cloning on the other hand is seen to have total specific control over not only a child’s development, but his/her genome as well. This makes the reproduction cloning process to be seen as a manufacturing process.
Cloned children are generated based on the donor’s choice and purpose, hence are synonymous to manufactured objects which are produced to serve an intended purpose. On the other hand, procreation gives rise to very unique beings with certain skills that are special to every individual. Despite the fact that cloning may act as a solution to childless parents, the cloned child can never measure up to a child that is as a result of procreation.
Human and animal cloning, are not in accordance with the natural law of creation. Human beings have taken it upon themselves to create, which according to religious ethical decree, is not acceptable. God is, and will always be the sole creator. Critics of cloning believe that cloning is a means of playing God. According to Kass’ argument, genetic novelty and uniqueness that is apparent with sexual reproduction is very crucial.
This is because; a sexually produced child is free from various setbacks revolving around a cloned child such as societal discrimination, and a feeling of being misplaced in the society. The sexually produced child on the other hand demands respect and equality from other people, and is not seen as some objects that should function as expected (Kass 17-26).
Human cloning is considered to bring about psychosocial harm to individuals in relation to their autonomy. A clone from an individual with known genetic ‘predispositions and conditions’ is perceived to possess the same ‘predispositions and conditions’ (National Bioethics Advisory Commission 629-641). Unfortunately, what people do not realize is that this is a mere hypothesis that cannot be supported by factual evidence. Gilbert Meilaender (Meilaender cited in National Bioethics Advisory Commission 631) commented that:
Our children begin with a kind of genetic independence of us, their parents. They replicate neither their father nor their mother. That is a reminder of the independence that we must eventually grant to them and for which it is our duty to prepare them. To lose even in principle this sense of the child as gift will not be good for children.
Cloning is associated with predicted genetic disposition based on the parent’s genetic predisposition as indicated by the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (630) and this being the case, various questions concerning the autonomy and best interests of the child born are felt unanswered.
A clone-child is able to see what is expected of him/her if raised by the clone parent and as such, experiences great pressure that forces him/her to live up as per expectations. This deprives the clone child of its freedom and uniqueness in becoming what he/she is, since he/she seeks to become what the world perceives him/her to be. In an example of cloning a sports star, the cloned sports star would hope that his/her clone would be a reflection of his/her characteristics (Kass 23-60).
When such a clone-child does not live up to what is expected of him/her as a sports star, he/she is considered a failure, who has not capitalized on his/her genetic gift. Despite the fact that some clone-children feel confident about their inherent abilities, others may experience limitation on their genetic lot. Failure to perform certain tasks binds the clone-child to the abilities of their clone-parents, and this results in interference of the clone-child’s perception of self and subsequently results in escalated external pressures.
Human cloning would therefore lead to destruction of the natural balance that result from natural procreation since it would psychologically diminish the unlimited potential of new human beings, and in turn exacerbate disturbing intentions for having children (National Bioethics Advisory Commission 629-641).
The probability that some of the human clones are created from cells obtained from individuals, whose permission has not been sought, is a great ethical concern.
If such a probability became a reality, the moral foundations of therapeutic relationships based on personal respect, trust and the physician’s fiduciary responsibility to benefit a patient would be violated. According to Opinion 8.08 of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs on informed consent, the council has stipulated that a patient should make his/her own decisions regarding the kind of treatment to be used, where procedures for reproduction are part.
When informed consent is not exercised, then it only means that a physician does not respect an individual’s right to privacy and reproductive freedom (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs Opinion 8.08). It is because of this ethical principle that cloning should not be carried out without first receiving the consent of an individual.
Reproductive cloning is a mere invention, which is at logger-heads with almost all of the ethical principles defining human research. In human cloning, there are two parties involved, the donor, and the clone.
Therefore, it is important that both parties are content with this cloning process, far from the highly held and appreciated natural process of procreation. This being the case, the effect of human cloning on a child should be evaluated. Critics of human cloning are of the view that the legal and social status of cloned children has not been clearly defined.
The disparity between the child’s genetic blueprint and its social identity is a threat to family stability because it is not clear as to whether the cloned child is qualified for reference as a sibling to a child born through the natural way of procreation. The cloned child’s identity is entirely endangered, since he/she is not aware of his/her identity as well. In addition, the society may undermine the clone-child and this would be an additional torture to the psychological status of this cloned child.
Cloning is associated with potential for physical harm. Despite the fact that there are convincing cases that favor reproductive cloning, the fundamental principle of injunction as defined by medical ethics and political philosophy should be achieved. The Hippocratic canon and the Nuremberg code, 1946-49 indicate this.
However, substantial risks, to the fetus and physical well being of a child that are as a result of reproductive cloning are far much more weighty, compared with the benefits associated with it (National Bioethics Advisory Commission 629-641).
The Dolly reproductive technique became successful in 277 attempts. The use of this technique in humans is marked by hormonal manipulation of the ovum donor, which is a potential risk factor. The outcome on the other hand can be very serious and fatal, resulting in developmental abnormalities and multiple miscarriages. As noted by John Robertson (Robertson 810-813), a Law professor, before NBAC on March 13, 1997:
The first transfer (into a uterus) of a human (embryo) clone will occur before we know whether it will succeed. Some have argued therefore that the first transfers are somehow unethical because they involve experimentation on the resulting child and no one knows what is going to happen, and one is possibly leading to a child who could be disabled and have developmental difficulties.
According to latest research on mammalian cloning, various defects that normally occur during reprogramming of an egg will not be seen until much later in life of the produced animal clone. The incidence of Dolly is one example; she had been suffering from lung cancer and crippling arthritis before her death (Will We Follow the Sheep 69, 70-72). In other cases, the defects are hideous and go unnoticed, resulting in spectacular and unanticipated deaths.
Techniques used for cloning pose as potential hazards to developing individuals. According to the Human Embryo Research Panel of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1994 (1-2), the transfer of embryos into a woman’s uterus should be permitted only when, there is guarantee that no harm will be inflicted on the yet to be born child.
Currently, there is no guarantee that this harm does not exist and therefore, the transfer of embryos into women’s uterus in not permitted. A lot of deaths have been witnessed among amphibian, lamb and mouse fetuses, and these show just how this technology does not provide certainty in as far as long-term safety is concerned.
Human and animal cloning is not ethically justifiable because it violates most of the social and ethical considerations that individuals should consider when dealing with animals/people. Cloning does not respect human life, rather, based on the processes and procedures involved; it treats life like an object. In support of Zoloth’s conclusion, reproductive cloning would be abused by people since they would seek to produce a copy of their selves rather than play the crucial role of parenting a stranger to whom life has been given as stipulated by God, the divine creator.
Every living being should be unique in its own special way but apparently, human and animal cloning violates this principle. This is attributed to disregard for diversity and ecosystem survival by this technology. As opposed to the established natural relationship between humans and nature, cloning fosters the split up from evolution, a natural process that is known to ameliorate the survival instincts of living organisms through diversity, and makes them stronger.
Human cloning encourages destructive processes towards the ecosystem by deepening the alienation between two sets of species. An example is the continued destruction of the environment with the assumption that scientists would instigate the perpetuation of cloned trophy species in zoos (Andra para 5-8).
Human cloning treats women as mere biological functions that provide ova and womb. This process destroys the basic relationships that are associated with the natural process of conception and delivery. The definition of parentage will totally change once human cloning becomes a success and as such, the bonds of parenthood will be radically ruptured.
The element of human dignity is destroyed by human cloning. This is attributed to change in treatment and perception of humans from human beings to variables for experiments and test subjects that can be easily created, manufactured and destroyed (Andra, para 2).
As stipulated in the Universal Declaration on Human Genome and Human Rights, human cloning is a violation against these rights. Reproduction of human beings should be a natural sexual process involving two factors (a male, and a female). However, with the invention of human cloning, it has become an asexual means of reproduction involving only one factor. This change is believed to stir up greater debate as it is feared that human cloning would reduce sexual reproduction to a manufacturing process.
Human cloning does not have respect for human life, if it is to be assumed that human life begins at conception. Lawrence Nelson, an adjunct associate professor of philosophy at the Santa Clara University, supports this predisposition by implying that extracorporeal embryos are entitled to respect by the mere fact that they have life. Too many human embryos would be created and destroyed in the search for a successful clone.
In such a case, disregard for human life is unethical as it is considered to endanger human life. However, Nelson suggests ways through which ethics can be applied in such a case. According to Nelson, respect to human embryos can be portrayed by, using the embryos as the last option for research; using the embryos for research if they have not attained the gastrulation stage by the time they are being used in research studies; not regarding the embryos as mere property, and not destroying them to pleasure (Andra para 7).
In addition, the search for a successful clone in turn would not be a guarantee for a successful life since the clone is susceptible to numerous diseases that eventually result in the clone’s death. Implication on the Family
Human cloning is perceived to affect the family. If a wife produces a clone of herself as a daughter, this distorts the relationship between the father and the daughter. The introduction and endorsement of cloning therefore, is seen to interfere with the family unit. One philosopher wrote that cloning proved to be a major violation of the human nature characterized by “embodied, gendered, and engendering beings- and of social relations developed from this natural ground” (Kass 23-60).
Human cloning would give rise to issues revolving around marital eligibility. In addition, courts would face difficulties trying to solve problems related to assisted reproduction. There is one particular example where a “court found a child conceived using assisted reproductive technologies to have no parents despite having eight individuals from which to choose” (In re Marriage of Buzzanca).
Implication on Social Values
If human cloning would be permitted across the globe, this would mean disruption to the interconnected web of “social values, institutions, practices” that offer support for the healthy growth and development of children (National Bioethics Advisory Commission 629-641).
Human cloning would change the attitude of value towards one’s children as it would shift towards the ability of a child to meet parental expectations. Parents would love their children based on this ability, rather than for who they are. Love, loyalty, nurturing, and steadfastness are the values, which define natural parenthood and with a world of cloning, they would be replaced with avarice, vanity, and narcissism (Kass 23-60).
The ability of man to produce/create living things would render him omnipotent, contrary to the highly held religious values that acknowledge God as the only omnipresent being. Human cloning would escalate the issue of scarce resources because, cloning makes use of the limited researchers and clinicians, who would be better positioned in handling more serious social and medical needs.
Treating Individuals as Objects
It is feared that cloned children would be perceived as mere objects. As a mere object, one is not free to reach their full potential as individuals since they are governed by pressures resulting from other people’s desires and expectations. While talking about objectification of human beings, the paper refers to objectification as the tendency to disregard an individual’s desires or well-being. Rather, it is the control over an individual instead of engaging him/her in a mutual and respectful relationship.
Alternatively, human cloning commodifies the resulting clones by treating them as commodities that can be easily bought, sold, or exchanged in a market place. Cloning, as opposed to other practices, such as genetic screening, or gene therapy, is intended to benefit the nucleus donor and not the cloned child. The other factor that makes the cloned child to be regarded as an object is due to its diminished physical uniqueness.
The use of eugenic was seen as a step towards selective breeding in agriculture. Eugenic programs oversimplify the role of genes in as far determining human traits and characteristics is concerned, yet, there is limited information on the correlation between genes and behavioral characteristics of successful and rewarding human lives.
Furthermore, the minuscule information that is available indicates that an interaction between genes and the environment is essential for the development of successful and rewarding characters, and not merely due to genes as indicated by the eugenic programs. Cows are bred to increase yields, while sheep are bred to produce sheep with softer fleece, but, it would be unethical to breed superior humans.
To start with, such a practice would only reveal, mankind’s lack of respect for human life and God’s role as the creator of the universe. Production of a superior human being as dictated by science fiction is something that is associated with serious consequence. The American public is renowned for its eugenic ideas, which were engineered by scientific and political leaders, but whose menace became a reality during a grotesque fashion in Nazi Germany (National Bioethics Advisory Commission 629-641).
This paper has said it all, and it is obvious that the risks outweigh the benefits. It is because of this great imbalance that we do not support cloning. The main objective benefits associated with cloning are solving infertility issues, and for transplantation. On the other hand, it is evident that it is incommensurate with almost all of the ethical principles.
As human beings charged with the responsibility of taking care of the environment, where animals are part, we should see to it that the animals are not subjected to intended pain. An evaluation of cloning, being among the many laboratory procedures involving animals, has led us to believe that it is ethically and morally wrong to clone animals, considering reproductive cloning, and therapeutic cloning. Dolly, being the first animal to go public in relation to cloning, was also the reason for the stirred up debate about ethics of cloning.
Physical endangerment is among the various health and safety concerns that arose from this debate. It is true that technology improves our standards of living, and quality of life, but it is also worth noting that it should not be at the expense of other creatures, the embryos, which even though undeveloped, should not be subjected to intended pain. The fact that animals cannot speak does not give humans the right to treat them in a cruel manner either.
It is important to understand that technology is something which is readily accepted and embraced, but when it tends to produce something that is entirely different from the usual, it is then that it faces resistance, as is evident in this case of cloning.
It is because of this very reason that cloning has stirred up strong feelings and has become such a contentious debate. We are of the opinion that cloning is associated with serious risks, which not only affect the clone but the donor as well. The case of Dolly, even though is considered inconclusive by some scientists, shows the challenges associated with cloning.
To start with, too much life is wasted in the numerous attempts carried out. This proves just how cloning disrespects human life. Furthermore, the eventual birth of a clone does not guarantee absence of genetic mutation, which can be very fatal in the long-run. The birth mother on the other hand may suffer from miscarriages, and the ovum donor may suffer from ovum donor hormonal manipulation. A cloned individual is not free, because this element has been indirectly deprived from him/her due to expectations from society.
The various issues raised by cloning makes it impossible for this technology to sail through. It is only until when the benefits of cloning will outweigh the risks associated it that it will be appropriate for physicians to participate in human cloning. As at now, it is not safe to reproduce children through human cloning because of the highly risky procedures involved as have been discussed in the paper.
Regardless of resolved techniques and procedures, weighty concerns will continue to linger around the use of this technology on society and the individual due to anticipated negative effects. Despite the need for more research, it is impossible to imagine that ethical principles will continue to be greatly violated, because for accurate results to be finally obtained, life will not be accorded the respect it deserves. In addition, the society perception of a clone may be difficult to change.
As the final word with regard to cloning, it is an extra-ordinary kind of technology that can be considered to be the epitome of man’s intellectualness. However, it is important to realize that it is not right to compete with God for one because; this technology is seen to mimic God.
Worse is the fact that human cloning will transform creation into a manufacturing process, and violate all the principles that are associated with it. The IVF procedure has already played a very essential role in addressing infertility issues. We think that human cloning will destroy many values that have been amongst us since time in memorial. Therefore, it will only be fair if a continued ban on it prevails.
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