Human Cloning

In 2013, scientists created the first embryonic stem cell line using just two human egg cells. This was done with excessive amounts of caffeine for therapeutic purposes. Cloning human beings is a complicated process with nearly unilateral condemnation across the political spectrum. President Clinton called for an investigation into the ethics of cloning Dolly, the first sheep to be cloned (Harris, 2013). President Bush later stated that “we recoil at the idea of growing human beings for spare parts, or creating life for our own convenience.” The EU has banned human cloning, saying that “each individual has a right to his or her own genetic identity and that human cloning is, and must continue to be, prohibited.” UNESCO has likewise condemned cloning.

However, when a large number of individuals were surveyed, the results showed that there is no strong leaning one way or another when it comes to human cloning. About 43% of people said that cloning should be illegal, while 41% stated otherwise. 47% thought cloning is immoral, and 37% states otherwise (May 2015). There was no complete consensus regarding emotions evoked by cloning. On the positive side, 67.7% reported interest and curiosity as the primary emotion evoked. The second is no positive emotion, meaning that the people surveyed felt no positive emotions about human cloning. Other emotions included excitement, amusement, pleasure/joy, and comfort/trust; these emotions were barely represented. Anxiety accounts for the biggest proportion of negative emotions, though negative emotions are more proportionally spread.

It makes sense that anxiety is the leading emotion evoked by the prospect of human cloning. There are many moral dilemmas facing humanity concerning cloning. Applications include treatments for disease and disability and reproductive beneficence. Cloning for reproductive beneficence seems more morally dubious, as sexual reproduction is a more viable method. IVF and adoption provide viable options for those with fertility problems, and asexual reproduction leads to limited genetic variability. Cloning for therapeutic reasons is slightly more morally defensible, but making an entire human being purely for spare parts is unethical. This new human being is a unique individual, and should have rights. Its DNA may be the same, but even among identical twins gene expression causes obvious changes. If these spare parts were created in isolation, without a personality or humanity, like 3D printing organs, then it would be morally defensible. Otherwise, there are issues of individuality and human rights at stake. Caution should always be used in considering human cloning.