Human Reproductive Cloning Should be Banned
The issues concerning human reproductive cloning are shrouded in controversy, perhaps overshadowing the true advantages of cloning technology. Therapeutic cloning, which is often misunderstood as reproductive cloning, is less controversial than the latter as it does not involve the creating of an individual being. Instead, vital stem cells are extracted from human embryos, in order to generate tissues and organs for transplant.
The goal of this process is strictly to harvest stem cells, resulting in the creation of “cloned organs”, which can be used to treat heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
However, because reproductive cloning involves the creation of a specific being with specific characteristics it is much more controversial, and has much more at stake than therapeutic cloning. There are definitely advantages of reproductive cloning: individuals with fertility problems would be able to produce biologically related children, and couples who risk passing genetic disease to offspring would be able to have healthy children. However, cloning technology is still primitive, and although several attempts have yielded successful clones, human reproductive cloning should be temporarily banned because it is highly inefficient, extremely dangerous, and ethically irresponsible.
Although many mammalian species have been successfully cloned, cloning procedures are still primitive, and thus, are prone to failure. Certain species, including humans, are more resistant to somatic cell nuclear transfer than others are, and therefore have a lower success rate. Scottish scientists at the Roslin Institute went through 276 nuclear transfer procedures in order to produce Dolly the Sheep in 1997. Dr. Michael Soules, director of reproductive endocrinology at the University of Washington, claims, “It's the height of medical stupidity and arrogance to think you could successfully clone a human being today. . . concerns can be addressed when reproductive cloning has been shown to be safe in animals, which it has not yet." (Paulson) The success rate by means of reproductive cloning remains pale in comparison to natural procreation, and thus does not justify cloning as a form of procreation for the time being. The current success rate for reproductive cloning stands at one or two viable offspring per 100 experiments, and until the success rate drastically increases, cloning humans would be potentially dangerous and unethical.
The dangers that arise from reproductive cloning are numerous, and are enough to validate the banning of human reproductive cloning altogether. During mammalian reproductive cloning, a large proportion of clones suffered from weakened immune systems, which greatly compromised the animal’s ability to fight off infection, disease, and other disorders. “Animal experiments in cloning all indicate that a cloned twin is at high risk of congenital defects, multiple health problems and perhaps...