Biomedical Ethics: Human Clonging

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Biomedical Ethics: Human Cloning
In February 1997, Scotland announced the first successful cloning of an adult sheep. Due to this historic scientific breakthrough by Ian Wilmut and his colleagues, the cloning of humans is becoming closer to reality and is open for public scrutiny. For those who are against human cloning, cloning presents as much a moral problem as a technical problem. Ethically, cloning humans is inconceivable and there is not any evidence to support its success.
Theoretically, before scientists could find the right mapping of DNA for the perfect human, the possibilities of cloning humans with deformities could be in the hundreds, if not in the thousands. In the article, Why We Should Not Use Cloning, "it took 277 tries to produce Dolly, and Roslin scientists produced many lambs with abnormalities" (par. 1). Therefore, if it took this many attempts to produce Dolly, how can scientists be confident that the same will not occur with human cloning? Let us take a look at natural births; scientists cannot explain genetic birth defects, stillbirths, premature births, cystic fibrosis, and other deformities.
In reality, we could be taking nature into our own hands by cloning animals and people. For example, in the medical community, researchers say with animal cloning they have been able to learn how to produce sheep, cattle, and other animals by genetically copying cells isolated from early-stage embryos. In an article written by Ian Wilmut, he explains:
Cloning offers many other possibilities.
One is the generation of genetically
modified animal organs that are suitable
for transplantation into humans. At
present, thousands of patients die every
year before a replacement heart, liver, or
kidney becomes available. A normal pig
organ would be rapidly destroyed by
a "hyperacute" immune reaction if
transplanted into a human. (4)
Cloning is in the early experimental stage; therefore, human cloning would be criminally irresponsible because, unlike animals, humans have emotional and physiological factors that make it impossible to recommend cloning.
Cloning technology is still in its early
stages, and nearly 98 percent of cloning
efforts end in failure. The embryos are
either not suitable for implanting into
the uterus or they die sometime during
gestation or shortly after birth. The
clones that do survive, wind up suffering
from fatal or problematic genetic
abnormalities. Some clones have been born
with defective hearts, lung problems,
diabetes, blood vessel problems and
malfunctioning immune systems. (Bonsor 1)
When dealing with emotional and physiological effects, there is no way to know how the clone would respond to learning about his birth, especially if deformities were present. Life is not easy for children who are born naturally with birth defects. These children have to live with the teasing and hurtful words that are bestowed upon them from their peers. On their own accord, children can be vicious and hateful. These comments hurt and cause emotional and mental problems that lead to suicides, eating disorders, and becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol.
As Wachbroit reiterates,
[E]ven with the welfare of clones, some
opponents of cloning believe that such
individuals would be wronged in morally
significant ways. Many of these wrongs
involve
the denial of what Joel Feinberg has called
"the right to an open future." For
example, a
child might be constantly compared to the
adult from whom he was cloned, and thereby
burdened with oppressive expectations.
Even worse, the parents might actually
limit the child's opportunities for growth
and development. (3)
There are so many issues regarding human cloning that it would be irresponsible to even begin trying to clone humans. Of course, there are other experiments being conducted with other forms of cloning that are beneficial for therapeutic treatments as Michael Skinner presents,
Cloning is simply a new procedure to study
aspects of biology, we know little about.
I agree cloning humans should not be done;
it would be difficult now anyway. Cloning
research to use other animal models may be
quite useful for the development of new
drugs and treatments for diseases. Also
the recovery of endangered species could
also use cloning so we do not lose the
species. When any new scientific
developments occur the public is often
concerned and unsure of the
future. This occurred with atomic power
as well. In a few years cloning will
simply be another research tool. I feel
regulations to inhibit human cloning are
good now but if we do not take advantage
of cloning as a research
tool then a lot of people will die or
suffer when new therapeutics are needed.
(e-mail)
Additional new discoveries about therapeutic cloning will likely emerge as scientists continue their investigations. In turn, changes in public attitudes toward therapeutic cloning are likely to follow. However, human cloning is still in the infant stages and because of the lack of information and until the public's concerns toward the moral issues are resolved, should not continue.


Works Cited
Bonsor, Kevin. "How Human Cloning will Work."
HotStuffWorks.4.0.9 Oct. 2001.
.
Skinner, Michael. E-mail to the author. 9 Oct. 2001.
Wachbroit, Robert. "Genetic Encores: The Ethics of Human
Cloning." Institute for Philosophy and Public
Policy.umd.edu.Fall 1997.Maryland.10 Oct. 2001
.
Wilmut, Ian. "Cloning for Medicine." Scientific
American.sciam.1298.Dec. 1998.7.9 Oct 2001.
         .
"Why We Should Not Use Cloning." Cloning. 14 Mar.
2000.Members' tripod.15 Oct. 2001.
.
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