Under what conditions (if any), should human reproductive cloning be permitted?
Kubiak, J.Z. and Johnson, M.H. (2001). Human Infertility, Reproductive Cloning and Nuclear Transfer: a Confusion of Meanings. Bioessays, 23(4), 359-64.
This article argues that confusions in the semantic meanings of human reproductive cloning may hinder future scientific progressions to discover an ethically viable solution to infertility treatments. Kubiak and Johnson postulates that the term “nuclear transfer” is different from “reproductive cloning” as the former method can generate a person who is not necessarily a “genetic clone”, but a genetic amalgamation of both parents. However, society interprets these two terms as synonyms. The Chief Medical Officer of Health in the United Kingdom recommended “The transfer of an embryo created by cell nuclear replacement into the uterus of a woman should remain a criminal offence”. The authors accept that nuclear transfer is not without its technical flaws, it is however unreasonable to place ethical and legal restraints on its future research because of its seemingly semantic synonymy with reproductive cloning. Furthermore, as UK holds considerable legal influence in the world, such legislation may see an international ban on a potentially beneficial and uncontroversial treatment for infertility. The article is relevant to the current question and suggests that reproductive cloning may be condoned because ‘clones’ are not always the exact genetic replica of one person, and such method may also be a potential treatment for infertility. The arguments are persuasive as it provides a new insight into the definition of cloning, and holds validity since the former(biased) notion of reproductive cloning are cited in many articles. However, humans are still procreated under artificial means by this method regardless of their collective DNA structure, hence those produced nonetheless lack the link to the naturalness of their origins. The critical question then, is how might the new definition address teleological views on cloning.
Young, L. (2003). Scientific Hazards of Human Reproductive ‘Cloning’. Human Fertility, 6(2), 59-63.
This article presents various scientific objections to human reproductive cloning. The first objection is that reproductive cloning results in high level of developmental defects. For example, Dolly the sheep suffered from a species common lung tumour six years following its creation. However, since she was the only cloned sheep to have reached that age, there were insufficient information to determine whether such defect was directly attributable to cloning. The second objection is that most cloned foetuses die during gestation. Young argues that failure rates in animal studies are likely to be underestimates because there is a lack of procedural knowledge in somatic cell nuclear transfer for humans. Finally, Young contends that information which supports reproductive cloning lack scientific validity because they can only be found on websites. Specifically, he cited preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which reportedly allows scientists to screen and identify potential genetic defects in sheep embryos. Realistically however, Young affirms that there are species differences in geno makeup, and results derived from sheep studies cannot adequately be applied to humans. Collectively, Young concludes that the current scientific knowledge is insufficient to accurately determine the hazards associated with reproductive cloning. Hence, more knowledge is required before appropriate ethical judgements may be formed, and legislations are put in place. This article is relevant because it presents the scientific conditions which currently disfavours reproductive cloning. The arguments are valid as the author takes an objective stance on the subject, citing evidence against reproductive cloning, but also outline the limitation of such arguments. The critical question asked is if...
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