To Clone or not to Clone

Well here I sit concerned about human cloning… You see there is a movement to illegalize human cloning. It is no wonder that we have angst and fear about cloning, given all that has fictionally been shown to us. However I have not heard anything that justifies banning human cloning. Basically there are two aspects of cloning, I will address, first for the purpose of creating human embryos and second for reproduction (note there are actually several categories but these two shall do for this article). Now cloning is of course not the only way that these can happen; we have artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogate mothers, not to mention the natural way. Each technology of course met with resistance and healthy questions about how it should be used, in the end none were ever illegalized. In the end most concerns about cloning go away as long as you recognize that a clone is simply another human. And a human with all the rights and protection given a non cloned human.

In the first case we have human cloning with the intent to create human embryos. Questions have been raised about cloned embryos being used as organ factories, research, or being genetically manipulated. A clone embryo is still a human embryo; we simply need to answer if these activities should be allowed on embryos at all. Any of these things could happen to a non-cloned embryo, so illegalizing cloning will not address these question anyhow.

On to cloning for reproduction… Going back to the clone is just a person principle, this does not really differ much from in vitro fertilization (IVF) with one major exception. Currently cloning does not have nearly the success of IVF. I believe the FDA should regulate cloning as a treatment for infertility and should not allow it to get to human trials until it is expected to have the success rate of IVF. In the end I do not expect many people to want to create clones of themselves. I know I have heard the argument that allowing human cloning opens the door to “designer babies”. Well if it is possible to manipulate the DNA of a clone it will be possible to do the same with IVF, and assuming other advancements. We do need to decide whether genetic manipulation should be allowed and that is something for a very carefully thought out discussion. But, it is a separate question from cloning.

So we need to look at the concerns that have been brought up when talking about human cloning; and see if there are new protections that need to be put in place for the various stages of human life. There is no need to illegalize cloning outright. Reasonable regulation and monitoring does need to occur before it is allowed for reproduction. However we do need to make certain that it is clear that a human clone is as human as someone from natural fertilization. I would hope this is obvious, but often seems lost in the arguments over this very emotional issue.

A Madman has spoken…

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