Human Cloning: Arguments for


Dolly, the sheep, was the first mammal cloned from a somatic cell using a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer. The announcement of her birth in 1997 sparked a heated debate about the ethics of human reproductive cloning, resulting in most countries legally banning it. Some of the reasons why someone may want to create a human clone are based on erroneous assumptions. However, sometimes there are justified pro tanto reasons in favor of cloning. Most arguments against human cloning are more problematic and limited in scope than generally assumed. Thus, cloning may be ethically permissible in certain contexts.

Key Concepts

  • Cloning is a process that creates a genetic replica of an organism.
  • Cloning is ubiquitous in nature.
  • The most straightforward reason why someone may want to reproduce through cloning is to have a genetically related child.
  • Cloning would enable parents to have a child with a genome identical to that of a person with good health or other desirable characteristics.
  • Cloning would provide an efficient way to create a ‘saviour sibling’ who could act as a tissue donor for a sick sibling.
  • Cloning could significantly expand our procreative options.

Keywords: cloning; ethics; gene editing; somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT); saviour siblings; assisted reproduction; autonomy; identity


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Further Reading

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Savulescu J (1999) Should we clone human beings? Cloning as a source of tissue transplantation. Journal of Medical Ethics 25: 87–95.

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How to Cite close
Devolder, Katrien, and Gyngell, Christopher(Jan 2017) Human Cloning: Arguments for. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005224.pub2]