Human cloning is the creation of identical human being in the laboratory. It is an artificial process and is conducted with stem cell research and biotechnology. Reproductive cloning would give rise to human clones. Animal cloning is practiced from past few years and with the birth of Dolly, the sheep cloning has become the prime research area of many scientists. The reproductive cloning is dealing with many controversial issues and is banned in several countries including United States. The discussion on should human cloning be legalized or banned is a discussion issue among the bio-research communities and there are many views in favor and in against of it. Every coin has two sides, similarly human cloning has some potential benefits and disadvantages for entire human race. The decision of legalizing the human cloning is a crucial one and the critical evaluation of the disadvantages would demonstrate the shortcomings of human cloning.
I: Human Cloning should not be legalized
Human cloning should not be legalized and the same can be supported through psychological reasons, physiological reasons, ethical reasons, environmental reasons, social reasons, physical reasons and legal issues which shall be faced by the entire human race if the cloning is legalized. As evident, few scientists are eager to initiate experiment of human cloning and once legalized, human cloning would go full fledged into testing leading to killing of dozens of embryo daily.
If human cloning is legalized and practiced regularly, soon the hospitals will be full of babies with genetic birth defects. The babies will be dependent on respirators as their lungs and heart will be deformed or malfunctioning. Brain damage would be a common occurrence in babies and the ability to suckle will not be present in babies and they would require to be fed with feeding tubes. If not these, then infants will have severe physical deformity. The infants who will have normal physical appearance may suffer from autism, epilepsy or other genetic abnormality. As per Gerald Schatten, vice chairman of gynecology, obstetrics and reproductive sciences at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine “All of the data on animal cloning demonstrates exceptionally high rates of fetal loss, abortion (and) neonatal deaths, and many cloned animals have devastating birth defects," when scientists work with animals for cloning and as a result of experiment, if the animal infant is abnormal scientists euthanize the infant, however the supporters of human cloning has to explain their willingness to follow the same method for human infants born as a resultant of cloning experiment.
Moreover, the scientists who are favoring human cloning, their readiness for the same is questionable. The strong argument against the human cloning is that the reprogramming which is required for successful creation of embryo is still under research. For animal cloning, scientists insert the adult cell DNA into dozens of eggs and give electricity shocks to initiate the cell division mandatory for embryo creation. Out of all the eggs made to go through this process, at the most only 2 per cent gives rise to an embryo and out of them only 10 to 15 per cent are normal. Hence, as evident, the ratio of successful and healthy live infant is minuscule. Moreover, cloning can make the human gene pool defective and produce irreversible negative effects on the genetic make-up of cells.
The environmentalists are also opposing human cloning as the genetic engineering has already demonstrated some major side-effects on the evolution and sustenance of some animal species like the impact of genetic modification of BT corn on monarch butterfly. Similarly the side effects of human cloning on human race should also be simulated in detail, not only for short term but also for the hundreds of years to come.
It is obvious that the human cloning will definitely have an impact on human race and it could be negative as well. It can also be foreseen that once scientists acquire the skill to clone successfully, the value of life and ecosystem would deteriorate quickly and the need to preserve the animal species and humans would be eliminated. This would disturb the ecosystem and cloning, by no means provides the assurance of sustenance of ecosystem and survival of diverse species.
Ethically, the clones who will be produced would be an individual with independent thinking and feelings; however, it contrasts with the purpose of producing the clones. The clones would be bought into existence so that they can donate their organs or replace a lost person, hence merely to serve a need. This process would not respect the emotions of clone and the concerned parents or relatives will not regard the clone as a living individual. There would be utter confusion and on moral grounds, the clones would only be created to fulfill the need which would be contrary to be created for love.
Human cloning would also enable the humans to predetermine the traits they prefer in the offspring and this would lead to degeneration of family life and individuality of offspring. The traits which shall not be selected for long will become extinct and prevalent in today’s world; the offspring would also be accorded qualities as per the theme of day. This may sound to be an exaggerated version of the social issues raised by cloning, however this could prove to be true as well. Children from cloning would evolve and acquire traits as per parents preference and would become what their parents envisage them to be, in a way becoming the robots with no individual desire and goals of life. This would lead to a chain of desires which shall be forced on succeeding generation by the preceding generation.
The ban on human cloning also has a religious perspective. It is being believed by many that human life is a divine creation and all the humans are to be born in natural way and not created through some scientific process. Once the life is started to be generated in laboratories, the value which is being attached to life by humans and law and order would diminish. Taking one’s life would no longer considered be a crime and the criminal might escape the law by merely paying for the clone creation.
Part II: Human Cloning should be legalized
Human cloning is a phenomenon which has the power to change the destiny of every single human being living. The feeling of comfort spreads all over when there is possibility of several organ donors and no human shall die again from kidney failure. Cancer, the most dreaded disease which is still considered as untreatable becomes curable because there are many people around on whom the experiments can be conducted to search for the cure of cancer. These people who become the object of experiments are the clones of humans who are created to serve the requirement of being a donor or a test object. Human cloning would give scientists the full realm to free entire human race of all diseases and weaknesses, to unravel the mystery of DNA and other cellular mechanisms due to availability of ample objects for experimentation. This procedure would enhance the quality of life of humans. Human cloning is expected to pave way for many major medical breakthroughs. The embryos which will be used as testing object will be a living specimen and would have been created for testing and experimentation purpose only. It is not unethical to use live embryos for testing purpose as it would not involve the degeneration of human life. The value of human life remains same always and in order to enhance the quality of life and to cure people from deadly crippling diseases, these embryos would be used. The emotional attachment to these lives and the ban on human cloning on the ground of unethical killing of human lives is unjustified and just a hurdle in the development for the betterment of human life [ CITATION Far10 \l 1033 ]. Also, the people who consider human cloning unethical and wrong on moral grounds should also express same views on abortions and termination of pregnancy. Human cloning is an extension of stem cell research and is totally committed to be carried on under the realms of ethics.
Human cloning would also assist people who are victim of medical tragedies like an individual requiring a kidney to survive, physical abnormality which requires a breakthrough treatment and many more[ CITATION Amy99 \l 1033 ]. All these health condition can be treated through the advancement by human cloning. It would serve to make life better of humans. The valuable information which would be obtained from the cell pool of such specimens would provide immense benefits to humans to fight against the deadly diseases. Also, when human cloning is an answer to the incurable diseases, why should the governments ban it on the pretext of it being unsafe and unethical.
Infertility issues can also be treated with human cloning and human cloning would emerge as blessing for childless parents as they can have children from cloning[ CITATION Dan \l 1033 ]. In vitro fertilization is not always successful and human cloning has brighter chances of creating children. In vitro fertilization is also a way of creating child in laboratory and still, not many people are objecting to it. The embryo created by human cloning would be with the consent of parents and would be done only when the technology is so advanced that the infant produced is free of abnormalities. Also, with the help of technology, the abnormality in developing embryo can be detected and the development of those embryos can be hindered, this would ensure that babies are not born with abnormalities and only the perfect babies are born.
With the development of human cloning, the side effects of human cloning on environment would also disappear as the human clones cannot be assumed to have any side effect on the ecosystem. On the contrary, the advancement in cloning technology would enable humans to revive the species on the verge of extinction and would re-establish the balance of ecosystem. The value of human life can never diminish as even the clone of the person would not be identical to the person in thought process and application of mind. Due to this, the clone can’t serve as a replacement and has to be regarded as a separate individual.
Also, our developed society is prepared to address the issues raised by the clones and to protect their rights. Though clones are to be created on the need purpose, it would entirely be the decision of clone to serve that purpose or not. The clones would also have the life and liberty equal to humans and they would not be servile to humans. Every life is divine and even the cloned human would also be god’s creation as it would be a resultant of reproduction only. In spite of option of cloning available, it is believed that the natural process of reproduction and birth of children would prevail and cloning would be considered as an option in required critical cases only. Hence, it is no way a threat to human existence and we ought to take it as a scientific process committed to improve the quality of human life.
The strongest argument given in favor of human cloning is that the infertile couple can have the child through human cloning. This does not justifies the human cloning as there are already several ways through which an infertile couple can have child. The existing methods have proven to be a success and also, this statement is not a grave situation for which human cloning can be justified to be legalized. Cloning of a lost child of parents would only prove to be an emotional trauma for parents as the child, though being identical physically to their child, would be a different individual altogether. The parents would have to adjust to the new requirements of their cloned child and this could lead to an emotional mess.
There are diseases which are far more severe that being infertile like cancer and Down’s syndrome and though stated that human cloning would be able to give breakthrough solutions to cure these diseases, the same has not been proven yet by any research. Presently, the cures of these diseases are also being investigated and human cloning may not be an immediate success [ CITATION GJA98 \l 1033 ].
The embryos which are targeted to be used as object of test are also living and possess the capability to develop in a perfect baby, given an opportunity. This would be similar to using a human baby for test purpose. When the killing of human baby for test purpose is considered unethical, the killing of human clone baby would also be unethical. The reason of the cloned baby and embryo being in abundance does not make the testing on embryos ethical [ CITATION LAn98 \l 1033 ].
The babies developed through cloning technique when identified with fatal abnormalities would be discarded or euthanized like animal babies and the parents would not have any objection to this and also, the law would permit for this does not seems to be a feasible and agreeable statement. The babies with fatal abnormalities when born would be with their parents and would cause much more emotional pain than of being childless and infertile.
The environmentalists are correct in their opinion that human cloning would disturb the ecosystem as the population would increase comprising of clones also which would be produced for every possible reason and either government has to intervene to regulate the process of creation of human cloning or else it would be exploited so much that every single individual would have one clone. For example, human clone is created for kidney and kidneys from human clone would be easily available. Keeping aside the natural reasons of kidney failure, kidney failure due to liquor consumption is almost 40 per cent. Consider the human nature, once a person is aware that the kidney is easily replaceable, the value attached to kidney deteriorates and the liquor consumption would increase. Hence, easy availability of organs and easy replacement of person would diminish the value attached to human life.
The rights of the human clones created are also a concern as they would be created on a need basis and their fate post realization of need from them is not clear. Either once created, they would be treated as donor of every singly organ which can be utilized by humans or they will be forced to live without that organ throughout their life or they will be euthanized once they serve the need. All the three options stated above are completely unethical and dreadful. It would be hard for governments to establish a balance between rights of clone and their purpose of creation. Saving them from donating the organs or acting as replacement or being a object for experiments would defeat the purpose of human cloning and letting them be used as only the experimentation object would be inhuman and unethical [ CITATION PAB99 \l 1033 ]
Human cloning though is a gateway to immense opportunities for betterment of humans; it also poses some challenges for human race. The solution of these challenges is required to be addressed before human cloning can be legalized. It would be really difficult to form a consensus on the future of human consensus. The objections to human cloning are not related to religious beliefs but are of ethical issues and the risks which it poses. Human cloning should not be legalized till the solution for such risks are finalized to an extent and the society is able to adapt to such changes.
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