Essay on Why Cloning Is Bad

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Human Cloning: The Moral Aspect

It has been 23 years since a newborn lamb with a unique history took its first breath. She looked no different from thousands of other sheep from the outside, but Dolly was no ordinary lamb. She was cloned from an adult female sheep's mammary cell, overturning a long-held scientific belief that cloning anything was biologically impossible. The birth of Dolly set off a race to replicate the breakthrough in laboratories around the world. While raising the question of the potential for human cloning. With the advances in today's technology and the scientific aspiration to find any possible solutions to incurable diseases, the possibility of human cloning is not improbable. However, scientists do not know how the cloning process will impact cognitive and physical development in humans. Louisiana Sen. Landrieu an advocate for the banning of cloning stated, 'Cloning is like an unmarked and unchecked interstate system, with scientists racing as fast as they can with no restrictions whatsoever, it is up to Congress to put up the speed limit signs before we have any casualties.' Many scientists have predicted that human clones would be afflicted with undetectable abnormalities, there are no current or foreseeable methods available that have complete success. If we ever want to prohibit cloning, reproductive cloning must be stopped at the beginning, before it is even attempted. It is now more important than ever to ban human cloning. As of today, there are no federal laws in the United States that prohibit cloning completely, either for reproduction purposes or for biomedical research. This is not because many people favor reproductive cloning, rather it is because there is strong disagreement about whether to allow cloning for biomedical research. Many have been unwilling to support a separate ban on reproductive cloning and because of this, no federal ban on cloning has been enacted. Approximately 46 countries have formally put a ban prohibiting human cloning. (CGS 2019) While this does seem positive, this still only represents less than one-quarter of all countries.

It took 277 attempts before Dolly was created as a healthy newborn lamb. (Roslin Institute 1996) Human cloning has a high potential for errors. It is far more complicated to clone a human. The case for banning human reproductive cloning is not difficult to make, most scientists agree that it is unsafe and will likely lead to serious abnormalities and birth defects such as Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) and large offspring syndrome (LOS). Characteristics found in BWS are macrosomia, macroglossia, abdominal wall defects, large tongue, umbilical hernia, and ear malformations. Children conceived with the use of assisted reproductive technologies, a medical procedure used primarily to address infertility can induce LOS and also appear to have an increased incidence of BWS. (Chen, Robbins, Wells, & Rivera 2013) Dr. Takumi Takeuchi a skilled scientist in stem cell research said that 'as of yet it was difficult to make a direct link with specific causes for the abnormalities.' (ESHRE 2004) The consequences of the severe defects are in each experiment, it is more than just common side effects, scientists may be covering up what they are doing or what results their experiments are yielding. Due to these concerns, it is best to avoid cloning. Rudolf Jaenisch and Ian Wilmut from the Roslin Institute that cloned the first clone Dolly explain,

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'Cloning is like a dog walking across traffic without looking both ways and is hit by a car. Normally they would learn to inspect the road and then dodge oncoming cars the next time around. Eventually, the dog will have seen all and learned all they need to know about the heavy traffic and crosses unharmed. The initial hit and run on the dog are like the small consequences we are seeing in the cloning experiments. The cars represent deformities, genetic mutations, disease, and unknown causes of death, and the dog is a would-be child. The science of cloning must learn to cross the street without losing thousands of dogs.' (Jaenisch & Wilmut 1996)

Research cloning will also lead to new exploitation of women in the name of scientific advancements. To manufacture enough cloned embryos to create a sufficient number of viable stem cell lines, scientists will need to obtain massive quantities of women's eggs. Cloning has been described as 'a wildly inefficient process, often requiring hundreds of eggs to produce a single viable clone.' (George 2008) The reality is that without a continuous supply of women's eggs, human cloning is simply impossible. With no access and no place for the eggs to come from it is impossible to keep up with the demand. There are two main proposed egg sources, altruistic donations and donations by providing monetary compensation. These two methods have practical limitations that endanger the viability of cloning. Supporters of human cloning claim that many women are willing to donate their eggs to advance research in efforts to find treatments for incurable health conditions and that supplying eggs for human research is one step away. According to a study conducted by Professor Guido Pennings 'Altruism is the main motivation why donors donate but financial compensation certainly helps persuade several donors.' (Chan 2013) To boost the supply of human eggs needed for research, some biotechnology companies are compensating women for their egg donations. This strategy is similar to the one used to get eggs for fertility treatment. This compensation is a way to get more participants considering that the procedure a woman can spend is around 40 to 56 hours in medical offices. They are required to attend rigorous interviews and counseling sessions. They are subjected to surgical procedures to retrieve eggs from the body. (Associated Press 2007) That is without mentioning, that women must be injected with super ovulatory drugs and undergo an invasive procedure. (Weldon 2002) Many have to learn to say no to certain experiments before they begin to relink the technological advances with human dignity and responsibility.

Not only will cloning cause a big issue in the exploitation of women but many ethicists also say that the family dynamics would be filled with problems. If there were an infertile couple who wanted a child and could only attain one by cloning the wife or father. The family dynamics could become a problem when the child grows into the counterpart of their 'parent'. If the parents subsequently divorce and cannot stand the sight of their partner anymore, they could feel differently towards the cloned child. While this case does seem far-fetched, it does not change the fact that this could be a possibility in the future. Looking at the clones as individuals can still pose a problem. It is not reasonable to expect he or she will be treated as simply another child. There is the concern that clones would spend their lives burdened by the knowledge that they are not original, that they are just a copy. There are concerns that cloning would become another divisive class issue, that only the wealthy will be able to afford. Cloning might be used to select or reject certain traits, depending on a society's or cultural preferences. There are currently many places such as India and China, where abortions have been used for decades to select against daughters, to the point where women are in short supply in some communities.

Furthermore, if in the future, producing a baby through cloning was no riskier than natural reproduction it would still be ethically impermissible. Many argue that cloning is wrong because it moves away from natural sexual procreation. The desire to manipulate the genetic characteristics of one's offspring is the core of the ethical dilemma. The morality of reproductive cloning relies on the implication of looking at children as gifts and not as a proprietorship. Cloning and genetic engineering are no different from each other as they show the lengths people would go to, to produce 'designer children'. Designing our descendants, whether by cloning or germ-like engineering, is a form of despotism. Continuing can start a sympathetic project to kill the sick themselves, something that has already begun with the selective abortion of embryos deemed 'undesirable' by the parents. Scientists have begun mixing genes with animals trying to remove disease by any means necessary. But the fact is that society needs to accept the necessity to regulate behavior for moral and just reasons. Many scientists and politicians justify breaching the fundamental moral boundaries in the seek for a biological utopia.

To conclude, as technology advances and the scientific community's desire to find solutions to incurable health conditions, human cloning is one step closer. However, the ethical dilemma that comes with human cloning has divided today's society. In the last 23 years since Dolly the Lamb took its first breath contradicting the long-held belief that cloning any living creature was biologically impossible, we are one step closer to enacting a federal ban on cloning in the United States. Many others believe that human cloning and its research must be stopped by implementing federal laws that can prohibit these practices and believe that the U.S. should join the 46 other countries that have formally banned human cloning. Since it is difficult to link reproductive cloning and serious abnormalities, human cloning should be avoided. On the other hand, there are believers that human cloning will bring many benefits to today's society including preventing genetic diseases, helping eliminate infertility, help find a cure for many incurable genetic disorders, among many others. Nevertheless, cloning is not a perfected science and more research is needed before the science community embarks and causes a cloning disaster. Whether the eggs are supplied by altruistic donations or donations by providing monetary compensation, there are the ethical repercussions that cloning brings to diverse family dynamics and the possible psychological damage to infant clones. The morality of reproductive cloning relies on the implication of looking at children as gifts and not as a proprietorship. Cloning is wrong. Do not forget that human cloning can become another divisive class issue, a luxury that only the wealthy will be able to afford, using the body of the poor to the benefit of the wealthy.

Works Cited

    1. Chen, Zhiyuan, et al. “Large Offspring Syndrome: a Bovine Model for the Human Loss-of-Imprinting Overgrowth Syndrome Beckwith-Wiedemann.” Epigenetics, Landes Bioscience, June 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857339/.
    2. Chan, Siobhan. “Egg donors are mostly motivated by the urge to help others.” Bio News, 2013, www.bionews.org.uk/page_94202.
    3. “Cloning Conflict: Valerie Schmalz.” Cloning Conflict | Valerie Schmalz, http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/vschmalz_cloningconfl_jan05.asp.
    4. George, Katrina. 'Women as Collateral Damage: A Critique of Egg Harvesting for Cloning Research.' Women's Studies International Forum, vol. 31, no. 4, 2008, pp. 285-92.
    5. “Human Cloning Policies: Center for Genetics and Society.” Human Cloning Policies | Center for Genetics and Society, https://www.geneticsandsociety.org/internal-content/human-cloning-policies.
    6. “Should Woman be Pay for Supplying Eggs?” Associated Press, 2007 www.nbcnews.com/id/16657090/ns/health-cloning_and_stem_cells/t/should-women-be-paid-supplying-eggs/#.XdYZtFdKiUm.
    7. “The Facts and Fiction of Cloning.” WebMD, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/cloning-facts-fiction#1.
    8. Weldon, Dave. “Why Human Cloning Must Be Banned Now.” Dignity, 31 Mar. 2002, https://cbhd.org/content/why-human-cloning-must-be-banned-now.
    9. “Why Does Cloning Create Abnormalities? Scientists Take A Step Towards Finding Out.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 2 July 2004, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040701085957.htm.

 

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