There are two types of human cloning which are reproductive and therapeutic. Reproductive cloning is the production of personas that are identical to the original individual. It involves the implantation of cloned embryos into a surrogate mother. Meanwhile, therapeutic cloning is when stem cells are extracted from a cloned blastocyst. This is created by inserting a cell nucleus (usually from the skin) into a fertilized egg with a removed nucleus. Cloning has always been one of the most controversial themes in this fast-paced technological world which pose various ethical and moral issues that need to be pondered.
Cloning creates life- literally and metaphorically
Extracting tissue from aborted foetuses already exists for the purpose of medical research and treatment such as Parkinson’s disease and hold promise treatment for other diseases as well. Some countries believe that abortion is ethically wrong, however, abortion may also be justified as a form of birth control or the mother’s concern. Lots of people want children but cannot have them such as infertile couples, same-sex couples etc. In the United States, there are no current federal laws that ban cloning completely. A person does not come into existence legally unless through birth. With reproductive cloning, there is a chance people could beat these biological boundaries and have children no matter their age, health or sexual orientation. We could eliminate pregnancy which some women may be happy about, in case of traumatic foetal loss and the birth of abnormal
offspring. Fatal genetic illness can be avoided, hence producing a child who would be unaffected by that illness in later life.
In September 2017, Miya had cloned her dog Billy Bean. The cells were sent to ViaGen Pets, a Texas company that does cloning. The cloned embryos were transferred to a canine surrogate and produced a puppy after two months. She said that they share tactile and spiritual connections together. Therefore, rather than destroying millions of spare embryos, we could use them as a source of human tissue.
In terms of therapeutic cloning, the process is believed to be able to aid in several medical breakthroughs. One major problem that healthcare providers have been constantly facing worldwide is the shortage of organ donations. In 2019 alone, the NHS has reported that 400 people died while waiting for a transplant. This leads to organisations such as the British Medical Association voicing out their support for the debatable technology. As the patient’s own stem cell is used, therapeutic cloning also eliminates the problem of immune rejection as the tissues produced are genetically identical with the original part.
Megan Reagan, a sufferer of endolymphatic hydrops wrote a heartfelt message to Human Cloning Foundation as awareness to those who oppose cloning. Initially rejecting the idea of cloning herself, everything changed when she was diagnosed with the incurable disease that has triggered major challenges in her daily life. “…healthy people who are against cloning would no doubt change their minds if placed in my position or in other people’s positions who see the great need of this technology.”
Care ethics recognizes the needs of every individual in an ethical affair and strives to maximise them with the basis of compassion. Implementing care ethics enables us to regard the needs of people like Megan who depends on innovation like cloning to live a better quality of life.
The violation of ethics and human rights
Some people would wish their dead-loved ones to return to life, therefore, they turn to cloning to achieve this. However, to grow a full-grown human body through reproductive cloning, not only would lead to problems but also would raise ethical issues.
According to Robin Lovell-Badge, a developmental biologist, most of the embryos that were being developed did not manage to get through to the next phase successfully. Should they be able to survive, they would have been facing a series of severe abnormalities. For instance, Dolly the sheep had to be euthanized due to the fact of many health problems such as obesity and distorted limbs that she was under. Ethically, the whole process of reproductive cloning is against utilitarianism theory, as it would impose a huge risk on everyone involved and could cause distress for them if it fails.
Humans are moulded since they are in the mothers’ wombs and the environment that they are raised in plays an important role in forming their personalities. Humans are just beyond genes, meaning cloning will not be able to make up an individual’s phenotype, traits that shape our characters and personalities. Consequently, if there were successful clones alive, they might have not been able to be as expressive as our beloved dead family members, or as we hoped for. One of the occasions that cloning is thought to be beneficial (when perfected) is to create a clone of a human being in order to harvest the organs needed in case of an emergency- an
extended version of xenotransplantation. However, what is being neglected is that the clone needs to be treated as a human being and not just an “organ container”. The rights of life, free will and expression are still applicable while his life will include creating memories, making friends as every member of society, as well as developing his very own personality, as mentioned before, and expressing his feelings. So, the question that arises is why should we consider a clone’s life is worth less than the life of the “DNA provider’s”?
Last but not least, if cloning gets applied on a large scale, it will result in a grand population expanse. For instance, the most obvious drawback is going to be the limited resources that won’t be enough to support this unexpected population growth. Clones will still need food, water, clothes, and a place to live so that they can maintain a healthy lifestyle and money in order to afford all these necessities. This is valid for natural resources as well. The outcome will be for the society to face the clones as burdens and not treat them as equal society members.
As technology advances progressively, there is no doubt that we’re approaching more and more the perfection of human cloning. However, it is a fact that this procedure is banned in most of the nations worldwide and the UN has declared this act as ‘incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life’ that favours the Kantian theory, in which the duty ethics is being utilised to determine that human cloning is not morally right. All in all, our initial decision is that we are against the human cloning.