Ever since German embryologist Hans Spemann proposed the idea of reproductive cloning in 1938, cloning has been a controversial issue. According to the Center for Genetics and Society (2006), reproductive cloning is the process by which a genetic duplicate of an existing organism is created via somatic cell nuclear transfer. This is essentially when the nucleus, the part that contains the DNA, is removed from an organism and inserted into an egg in a lab setting. Some believe that reproductive cloning is ethical because, it could possibly allow us to find cures to genetic disorders such as down syndrome (Pearson, 2006). On the other hand, reproductive cloning is unethical because, human rights are violated, people are exploited and ethical principles are abused (Shalev, 2002). Due to this, reproductive cloning is in fact impractical because of the different negative ethical implications involved.
Precautionary principle is violated
Before stem-cell scientists can engage in reproductive cloning, a magnitude of effort should be put into considering the life of the clone. To expand, the environment and the clone will be affected by the outcomes of cloning negatively which makes the process unethical since, it abuses the precautionary principle. The precautionary principle, according to U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee (2002), is the basic idea that states, “before imposing significant risks on others or society as a whole, we should have a solid grasp of what is being proposed”. Fundamentally, this means that experiments or products that have unknown consequences should not be put out or carried out. To explain, reproductive cloning goes against this principle because, the clone itself will face health risks that cannot be prevented. The team of biologists and embryologists who cloned Dolly the sheep in 1996 states, “all clones suffer serious abnormalities… premature arthritis in Dolly is one of the strongest indicators to date that there should be, at a minimum, a moratorium ban on human cloning” (Blackwelder, 2005). Because reproductive cloning causes the clone endure health risks, it goes against the precautionary principle due to the fact that the victim of the experiment is harmed hence, making the procedure unethical. Additionally, the introduction of cloned species negatively impacts the environment because, the ecosystem is disrupted. Reviving past species or even cloning current mammals can cause disruption and may devastate native flora and fauna (Blackwelder, 2005). Unquestionably, this causes the natural order of the environment to be disrupted and may lead to potential deaths of different species since their normal cycle has been tampered with. In regard to the precautionary principle, this is clearly a violation since the environment is harmed. Therefore, reproductive cloning is in no way ethical.
Exploitation of women
Reproductive cloning is also immoral because women are being exploited for their eggs. In order for an embryonic scientist or a biotechnologist to carry out the cloning procedure an immense amount of eggs are required. Women are likely to give their eggs to stem-cell research companies due to the desire for financial gain but, they are not aware of long-term effects caused by the fertility medicine that they intake which, helps produce large quantities of eggs. According to physician Weldon (2002) “Advanced Cell Technology a reputable biotechnology company paid $3,500 – $4,000 to each woman who donated eggs … women of lower economic means will be exploited in this way”. Furthermore, Lahl (2013), founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, stated “Young women who are told that there are no known long-term risks often do not understand that this does NOT mean “There ARE no long-term risks” … risks include loss of fertility and cancers from the fertility drugs women who supply their eggs must take”. In other words, women giving their eggs to embryonic stem cell researchers are not aware of the consequences. To add on, there is no regulation that states that these companies are required to inform women of potential risks involved (Lahl, 2013). In short, reproductive cloning is immoral because, women are being exploited for their eggs in view of not being affected by fertility medicine.
Cloning is a form of Instrumentalism and is Unsafe
Additionally, reproductive cloning is unethical because it is a form of instrumentalism. According to Neufville (2014), instrumentalism is the idea that an innovation, in this case the clone, is merely invented for one purpose not a specific ideal. In other words, cloning is a form of instrumentalism because, clones are essentially created for discoveries and advancement in the field of science. A research director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta states “the mere act of cloning instrumentalizes the clone, because the clone is created for the primary benefit not of the individual but of some third party as a means to an end” (Caulfield, 2003). To explain, this is unethical because if a clone is only created for advancement in the medical field per se, researchers will not be concerned with the overall well-being of the clone afterwards. For instance, Dolly the sheep was instrumentalized. The Roslin Institute (2017) stated “. . . Dolly aided in the development of personalized stem cells known as iPS cells reprogrammed adult cells”. Furthermore, since cloning is a form of instrumentalization it is also perilous since scientists are not concerned with the health risks and mental issues that the clone endures later on. Health risks include organ deformities as well as diseases mostly related to the heart. Although humans have not been cloned, neurologists infer from their research that psychological sequelae is guaranteed (Caulfield, 2003). Essentially, this is when someone faces identity issues as well as pressure to live up to certain expectations. Furthermore, to elaborate on safety, a professor in the department of animal science states “approximately 90% of the fetuses produced by cloning die and abort between days 35 and 90 of gestation (Westhusin,2003). This data depicts that extensive measures to clone is impractical because, nor is it safe or effective. In brief, reproductive cloning is unethical because, researchers and scientists are only concerned with the discoveries they make via cloning and are not factoring in how unsafe the procedure actually is. They’re not worried about whether the clone will face psychological or physical problems hence, reproductive cloning is immoral because of instrumentalization and how harmful it is.
Despite the beneficial discoveries that reproductive cloning may lead to, overall it is unethical because many principles are abused and people are exploited. Additionally, the procedure is unsafe for the host as well as the actual clone and many long-term health risks are involved. Similarly, the science behind cloning has many inadequate complications and futuristically, the procedure is not reliable. Although solutions include having stronger regulations and using better technology to increase the success rate it is still very costly and organisms are hurt in the process either way (Blackwelder, 2005). Hence, reproductive cloning is unethical and unrealistic.