The Moral Implications of Cloning

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Outside the lab where the cloning had actually taken place, most of us thought it could never happen. Oh we would say that perhaps at some point in the distant future, cloning might become feasible through the use of sophisticated biotechnologies far beyond those available to us now. But what we really believed, deep in our hearts, was that this one biological feat we could never master. Dr. Lee M. Silver, 1997.

On February 23, 1997, Doctor Ian Wilmut successfully cloned the world's first mammal, giving the world a harsh wake-up call to the state of its technology. The implications of an effective somatic cell nuclear transfer in mammals are tremendous. The use of cloning for research purposes could yield fixes for aging and heart problems; new organs for patients in need of transplants; increased reliability of plastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgery; the extinction of Down's syndrome and Tay-Sachs disease; and the cure for cancer (Human). The applications of the research of cell development are already witnessed in the invention of fabricated skin, cartilage, bone, and ligament and tendons. In fact, cloning is only a result of many years of research. In 1965, Dr. Marshall R. Urist of the University of California discovered that powdered bone, when combined with the isolated bone morphogenetic proteins and DNA sequences, would create new bone when placed in a bone fracture ("Tissue", 47).

However, fears of this new procedure are certainly well justified. A cloned child for instance, would lose all sense of individuality, and the potential harm (which first must be downsized to an acceptable degree before full production could commence), at this point, greatly outweighs the beneficial yields (United, 66, 65). Plus, given the option to choose features in a prospective clone child, or "designer child", procreating would be more feasibly compared with car shopping than reproduction (Silver, 277). These factors contribute to the controversial issues of morality.

A broad subject filled with gray matter, the decision of whether or not something is moral is spawned from religious thought, ethical concerns, and the comparison of the gains of a procedure to the costs. Facts must be gathered from the word of God, from logical reasoning, and from scientific inquiry. When all the data is gathered, the questions of morality is answered with a definitely negative response. Cloning is a procedure that is definitely not moral due to its possible harm to child and parents; its religious implications; and its unfavorable ratio of harm to good.

It is important to realize that the process of cloning that produced Dolly the sheep is a brand-new science that has only been successfully performed a small number of times. The actual process involves removing the nucleus of an ovum and replacing it with an epithelial cell, or a cell with the basic number of chromosomes doubled ("Cloning", 677). However, this nuclear transfer has the potential for serious physical and psychological harm s to all involved in the procedure, and when such harms exits, rarely are any procedures performed on humans without extensive animal research. In all actuality, even if there were convincing reason to perform this procedure on human beings, it would have to fall under one strict criteria that morals and medical ethics alike consider to be impenetrable: the slogan "to first do no harm" (United, 65).Dolly was successful in only one out of 277 attempts. If the same procedure was endeavored in humans, the requirements could be devastating to the potential mother. To start, the doctor would have to provide much hormonal manipulation in order to allow the procedure to commence (United, 65). Plus, of the women that became pregnant, more than have would lose their children due to miscarriages or fatal birth defects. Of the children that did survive birth, many would die within a few days of life. As if these threatening odds weren't...
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