The moral limitations of human cloning

Tweet on Twitter Human cloning is possibly one of the most heated and relevant ethical debates of our time.

The moral limitations of human cloning

Animal studies also suggest the likelihood of health risks to the woman who carries the cloned fetus to term. The animal data suggest that late-term fetal losses and spontaneous abortions occur substantially more often with cloned fetuses than in natural pregnancies.

The Meaning of Human Cloning: An Overview

In humans, such late-term fetal losses may lead to substantially increased maternal morbidity and mortality.

In addition, animal studies have shown that many pregnancies involving cloned fetuses result in serious complications, including toxemia and excessive fluid accumulation in the uterus, both of which pose risks to the pregnant animal's health.

Results of animal studies suggest that reproductive cloning of humans would similarly pose a high risk to the health of both fetus or infant and mother and lead to associated psychological risks for the mother as a consequence of late spontaneous abortions or the birth of a stillborn child or a child with severe health problems.

Because of these risks, there is widespread agreement that, at least The moral limitations of human cloning now, attempts at cloning-to-produce-children would constitute unethical experimentation on human subjects and are therefore impermissible.

These safety considerations were alone enough to lead the National Bioethics Advisory Commission in June to call for a temporary prohibition of human cloning-to-produce-children. Similar concerns, based on almost five more years of animal experimentation, convinced the panel of the National Academy of Sciences in January that the United States should ban such cloning for at least five years.

Past discussions of this subject have often given the impression that the safety concern is a purely temporary one that can be allayed in the near future, as scientific advances and improvements in technique reduce the risks to an ethically acceptable level.

But this impression is mistaken, for considerable safety risks are likely to be enduring, perhaps permanent. If so, there will be abiding ethical difficulties even with efforts aimed at making human cloning safe. The reason is clear: Any such experiment unavoidably involves risks to the child-to-be, a being who is both the product and also the most vulnerable human subject of the research.

The Pros of Cloning

Exposed to risk during the extremely sensitive life-shaping processes of his or her embryological development, any child-to-be is a singularly vulnerable creature, one maximally deserving of protection against risk of experimental and other harm.

If experiments to learn how to clone a child are ever to be ethical, the degree of risk to that child-to-be would have to be extremely low, arguably no greater than for children-to-be who are conceived from union of egg and sperm.

It is extremely unlikely that this moral burden can be met, not for decades if at all. Even a high success rate in animals would not suffice by itself to make human trials morally acceptable.

In addition to the usual uncertainties in jumping the gap from animal to human research, cloning is likely to present particularly difficult problems of interspecies difference. Animal experiments have already shown substantial differences in the reproductive success of identical cloning techniques used in different species.

There can in principle be no direct experimental evidence sufficient for assessing the degree of such risk. The answer, as a matter of necessity, can never be better than "Just possibly.

expired on September 30, Leon R. Kass "A mong the most urgent of the Council's intellectual tasks is the need to provide an adequate moral and ethical lens through which to view particular developments in their proper scope and depth.". Bills to prohibit the use of federal funds for human cloning research have been introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate; and another bill, in the House, would make it illegal "for any person to use a human somatic cell for the process of producing a human clone.". The moral and ethical arguments of cloning mostly refer to human cloning and human reproductive cloning. One of the problems of creating a cloned copy of a human being is that it creates a moral and ethical dilemma.

Similar arguments, it is worth noting, were made before the first attempts at human in vitro fertilization. People suggested that it would be unethical experimentation even to try to determine whether IVF could be safely done. And then, of course, IVF was accomplished.

Eventually, it became a common procedure, and today the moral argument about its safety seems to many people beside the point.

Yet the fact of success in that case does not establish precedent in this one, nor does it mean that the first attempts at IVF were not in fact unethical experiments upon the unborn, despite the fortunate results.

With IVF, assisted fertilization of egg by sperm immediately releases a developmental process, linked to the sexual union of the two gametes, that nature has selected over millions of years for the entire mammalian line.

But in cloning experiments to produce children, researchers would be transforming a sexual system into an asexual one, a change that requires major and "unnatural" reprogramming of donor DNA if there is to be any chance of success. They are neither enabling nor restoring a natural process, and the alterations involved are such that success in one species cannot be presumed to predict success in another.

Moreover, any new somatic mutations in the donor cell's chromosomal DNA would be passed along to the cloned child-to-be and its offspring. Here we can see even more the truly intergenerational character of cloning experimentation, and this should justify placing the highest moral burden of persuasion on those who would like to proceed with efforts to make cloning safe for producing children.

By reminding us of the need to protect the lives and well-being of our children and our children's children, this broader analysis of the safety question points toward larger moral objections to producing cloned children, objections that we shall consider shortly.

It therefore appears to us that, given the dangers involved and the relatively limited goods to be gained from cloning-to-produce-children, conducting experiments in an effort to make cloning-to-produce-children safer would itself be an unacceptable violation of the norms of the ethics of research.

There seems to be no ethical way to try to discover whether cloning-to-produce-children can become safe, now or in the future.

A Special Problem of Consent A further concern relating to the ethics of human research revolves around the question of consent. Consent from the cloned child-to-be is of course impossible to obtain, and because no one consents to his or her own birth, it may be argued that concerns about consent are misplaced when applied to the unborn.

But the issue is not so simple. For reasons having to do both with the safety concerns raised above and with the social, psychological, and moral concerns to be addressed below, an attempt to clone a human being would potentially expose a cloned individual-to-be to great risks of harm, quite distinct from those accompanying other sorts of reproduction.

Given the risks, and the fact that consent cannot be obtained, the ethically correct choice may be to avoid the experiment. The fact that those engaged in cloning cannot ask an unconceived child for permission places a burden on the cloners, not on the child.

Given that anyone considering creating a cloned child must know that he or she is putting a newly created human life at exceptional risk, the burden on the would-be cloners seems clear: Why, after all, does society insist upon consent as an essential principle of the ethics of scientific research?

The moral limitations of human cloning

Along with honoring the free will of the subject, we insist on consent to protect the weak and the vulnerable, and in particular to protect them from the powerful. It would therefore be morally questionable, at the very least, to choose to impose potentially grave harm on an individual, especially in the very act of giving that individual life.~ These and other such issues present an ethical and moral dilemma for scientists and experts alike who see cloning as a potential danger to human identity.

The Ethical Issues - In Detail Religious Belief and Control. Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry Table of Contents We will begin by formulating the best moral case for cloning-to-produce-children – describing both the specific purposes it might serve and the philosophic and moral arguments made in its favor.

or at the very least limitations – to viewing cloning-to-produce. The term "human cloning" is used in this chapter to refer to all human cloning: cloning-to-produce-children and cloning-for-biomedical-research. When only one particular use of human cloning is intended, we use the more specific term.

The moral and ethical conflicts are just pouring out of human cloning talk, but should we really be so hesitant?

Let’s take a good look at all of the good and bad that could possible come from cloning humans.

PCBE: Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry -- Full Report

Philosophy Professor Barbara MacKinnon (University of San Francisco), editor of Human Cloning: Science, However, she noted that non-consequentialist concerns must also be addressed for therapeutic cloning, among them the question of the moral status of the early embryo. She also made a distinction between morality and the law, arguing that.

In the March issue of EMBO reports, Christof Tannert, a bioethicist at the Max Delbrück Research Centre in Berlin, Germany, presented a moral argument against human reproductive cloning on the basis of Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative (Tannert, ).

In this article, I address some.

10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloning | Flow Psychology