Cloning Should Not Be Attempted
It has been an exiting feature in science fiction movies for many years. The clone (an exact duplicate of another person either currently living or previously). In these movies, the clones somehow take over and corrupt the society and often try to take the life of the person they have duplicated. Until 1997, cloning was simply science fiction, but with the successful cloning of a sheep named Dolly, cloning became a realistic possibility. The current possibilities for clones would be more along the lines of identical twins born at different times than the science fiction version in which they are the same age and have the same memories. As with any advance of modern science, however there are risks such as physical risks, health risks to the mother and the new born, emotional risks and social risks. The question that has to be considered is whether the risks outweigh the benefits.
In order to produce a clone, the DNA is taken out of an egg and is replaced with the DNA of another person this, creates a genetic duplicate of the DNA contributor. The physical risks become an issue when figuring such things as Dolly the sheep was successful after 276 failed attempts (Humber, Almeder, 60). This means there were 276 sheep which either did not survive or were born with severe birth defects. If a family is planning the perfect child, it would be unlikely they could go through 276 failures. If the failed attempt did produce a live but severely handicapped child, would the parents care for this child and attempt again? The possibilities of success are too slim to risk this on humans. Most people feel that the life of a human is more important than that of other animals, because it is the life of a human ( Van Hooft, 40). Deformed sheep can be put down and called a failed attempt, but a deformed human is still human. Some people then question if a human is actually human if they have not formed the higher brain functions most humans have, thus making it ethical to attempt this and discard mistakes (Becker, 3).
The health risks to the new born and mom are not all that much greater than that of any pregnancy if the pregnancy has been carried out to full term and the child has somehow managed to be free of defects from the cloning. The pregnancy would obviously be considered high risk and the mother and baby would have to be closely monitored. “Enjoyment of the highest attainable level of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being” (Gruskin, 59). This is not considered, when a person is created as some kind of scientific experiment.
Emotional risks would play a role in several ways partly depending on the reason for the cloning. If a child is produced for the purpose of replacing one that was lost, this child will have to live with the idea they are simply a replacement and are not valuable in their own right. If the child is created as an image of a parent, again they are simply living as an example of someone else. They may have their own experiences and memories, but they were created to replace or to model someone else and not to be an individual of their own making. The child will be seen by those around as a copy and will constantly be compared to the original. This is not fair when it happens to siblings, who may be similar, but when an exact copy has to live up to an original, this is too much to expect any child to deal with.
The Social risks are possibly the most profound risks, because the idea of cloning is so controversial. Since the first successful fertilization of an egg outside of the human body, there has been societal concern about selective breeding and cloning (Singer, 37)if a successful human clone was born, it would obviously make world news. This child would be raised in a fishbowl in which every move the child made throughout his entire existence would be watched. If he did something well, it would be because of the great genetics involved, but if he did something wrong, it would undoubtedly be due to the horrific scientific experimentation. Basically, the child would be a living breathing scientific experiment throughout his life. He would never be free to live a normal human life, but rather monitored constantly for side effects of the experimentation. He would have difficulty with friends and relationships, because of the clone/experiment label. People would not be sure what to expect. Everyone has seen at least one science fiction movie where the evil clones take over the world. The product of cloning would never be allowed to be a fully functioning member of society.
Even if a family lost their only child, or they think the one they have is worth duplicating. If society wants another Einstein or Mozart, human cloning should not be attempted. There is no way to copy perfection exactly. The clone would look the same and have the same natural abilities, but because of different experiences and memories, they would not be the same person. They would be treated differently and would have great physical, emotional and social challenges. In the movies, there is always a reason the clone turns evil, maybe it is because the world is not ready for living science experiments regardless of the good intentions behind it. Every child deserves to be individuals and creating a person for the sole purpose of being a copy of someone else takes away that right to be an individual. Even though they may not grow up exactly the same they will always be compared to the original. Human clones should be restricted to science fiction movies and people should only be identical if they are twins. When science starts experimenting on humans, disaster resembling science fiction often follows.
Becker, Gerhold, The Moral Status of Persons Perspectives on Bioethics (2002 pg 3)
Value Inquiry Books
Gruskin, Sofia, Perspectives on Health and Human Rights, (2005 pg. 59)
Humber, James M and Almeder R.F., Human Cloning page (1998 pg.60)
Singer, Peter, Embryo Experimentation, (1990 pg. 37)
Van Hooft, Stan, Lif,e Death and Subjectivity, Value Inquiry Books (2004 pg. 40)