What Are the Ethical Issues of Human Cloning

Topics: Cloning, Human cloning, Ethics Pages: 5 (1463 words) Published: April 7, 2011
There is ongoing controversy regarding the issue of human cloning in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia which have made attempts or have done research in reproductive cloning. Countries like Australia have prohibited human cloning in 2006. (NHMRC, 2007) Advocates who involve congress members, editorial writers, fertility specialists...and so on gave benefits of human cloning, yet not enough to justify the moral and ethical issues underlying the controversy. Human cloning refers to the creation of a genetically identical copy of an existing human or growing cloned tissue from that individual. This essay will illustrate the major ethical concerns associated with human cloning that lead to the conclusion that human cloning should not be encouraged. The greatest moral objection against human cloning lies in the claim that individuals may be unnecessarily harmed, either during experiments or by expectations after birth. Given the immature technology of human cloning, safety issues may arise. Secondly, at the level of human rights, human cloning may violate two fundamental principles which human rights are based on: the principle of equality between individuals and the principle of non-discrimination. (de Dios Vial Correa, year unknown, internet) Furthermore, the issue of whether human clones are subject to all human rights are questioned, it is ambiguous regarding this issue. Lastly, the issue of ‘expectation’ is common in cloned children, they are likely to be expected to excel in a certain area depending on the cloned parent whom genes are extracted. In other words, such expectations will exert a significant amount of psychological pressure on human clones, especially when growing up. Moreover, the future path of human clones may be decided even before their birth, thus leaving no options of self-independence.

To begin with, medical and technical safety of reproductive cloning process is regarded as the most significant ethical issue. It required 277 attempts and 99 implantations to create one healthy Dolly, having said that, there is strong evidence that Dolly exhibited numerous pathologies throughout her life (Wilmut, 2003, 99). It is unknown regarding how many attempts are needed to create a human being and there will be uncertainties involving what abnormalities both the embryo and cloned parent may bear. Due to the current state of cloning technology, it is irresponsible and unethical for anyone to attempt to create a child using somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning. Furthermore, putting human embryos at risks is not the only issue, an egg must be implanted into a living human to go into regular embryonic life cycles, there are certain risks that the human body may reject the embryo, killing the mother. (Van Arsdale, 2008) Possibilities of risks should not be ruled out not only at the stage of developing a cloned embryo, but also when the embryo has grown into a child. From experiences of cloning mammals, high deformity and disability rates are more than likely to occur. (UNESCO, 2005) it should be noted that the prerequisite is that the cloned embryo has developed fully, as the process of human cloning involves a high failure rate of 90%. In addition, cloned mammals have died from premature infection and other complications, which are to be expected from human clones as well. A hypothesis is given that cloned humans may need hip replacement surgery even at the stage of adolescence and may suffer senility at the age of 20. (Holm, 2002, 507) Therefore, medical safety issues are a major concern associated with human cloning due to the fact that understanding of reproductive cloning is still rudimentary.

Secondly, another ethical concern expressed by representatives from human rights campaign and child welfare organisations regarding human cloning is the interests and rights of human clones. Even if scientists are able to create human clones without incurring the risks mentioned...
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