Modern technology is known for its fast advancement and ample possibilities. However, in the sphere, if medicine, where progress is especially needed, technology cannot decide everything. The supply of human transplantable organs is much smaller than the demand. Therefore, alternative ways of decreasing this deficit are suggested. Cloning research is one of the most discussed issues in the health care system development. While admitting its benefits, the specialists scrutinize its legal and ethical aspects
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The borderlines between politics, religion, science, and ethics are obscure when it comes to discussing the prospects of cloning research (Isasi & Knoppers, 2006). The scholars discern two regulatory approaches to such studies: “public ordering” and “private ordering” (Isasi & Knoppers, 2006, p. 16). The first method includes the state-organized actions preparing the arising biotechnologies. The second approach is manifested through self-regulation, empowering the technologies in the case when they correspond to professional instructions (Isasi & Knoppers, 2006).
There is a great capacity for the possible implementation of embryonic stem cell research (Shapiro, 2008). For instance, studying diabetes is limited by transplantation possibilities. Cloning the cells could eliminate the need for transplant material. Still, this process is a hot-debated question as it involves the extermination of the very early embryos (Shapiro, 2008). Recent studies on mice showed that it is possible to extract a single cell from an eight-cell embryo. However, no corresponding studies have been performed on humans. And even if such an experiment is successfully implemented, there still will be debates as removing one cell can lead to eliminating the chance of producing twins (Shapiro, 2008).
The ethical dispute about cloning research involves the employment of cloning for reproductive intentions. People opposed to cloning emphasize the moral criticism of “engineering human life” with the methods not engaging fertilization and combination of two DNAs (Shapiro, 2006, p. 213). Another objection is concentrated on the physical health of the cloned individual. Many experiments on cloning mammals have not produced live births and those who have created the animals with serious genetic afflictions. Finally, there are ethical concerns about the clones’ psychological pressure as they will be deficient in individuality (Shapiro, 2006).
There is no agreement about cloning research, and it probably will not appear in the nearest future. However, some scientists emphasize its exceptional usefulness for various purposes, such as eliminating the demand for donor organs, solving infertility problems, and other medical issues (The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine [ECASRM], 2012). While reproductive cloning research meets more objections that support, the non-reproductive purposes seem easier to find approval. Still, some people argue that even therapeutic cloning should not be allowed as it may lead to reproductive one. The scientists’ reply is that such an option is highly unlikely; this scenario being beyond their possibilities (Shapiro, 2006). Many people express their willingness to support cloning research on condition that it is performed in proper medical circumstances and guarantees the safety of the process (ECASRM, 2012).
The ethics of cloning research belongs to the most disputable issues of modern technology and medicine. While it may bring progressive results for the future of mankind, many people consider it unethical and violating the traditions and law. Better results could change people’s opinions, but this is a paradoxical situation. To produce better outcomes that could change people’s opinions, scientists need to perform more research.
Isasi, R., & Knoppers, B. M. (2006). Mind the gap: policy approaches to embryonic stem cell and cloning research in 50 countries. European Journal of Health Law, 13(1), 9-26.
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Shapiro, R. (2008). Future issues in transplantation ethics: ethical and legal controversies in xenotransplantation, stem cell, and cloning research. Transplantation Reviews, 22(3), 210-214.
The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (2012). Human somatic cell nuclear transfer and cloning. Fertility and Sterility, 98(4), 804-807.