Human Cloning: Arguments for

Abstract

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

References

Bartholet E (1999) Family Bonds: Adoption, Infertility, and the New World of Child Production. Boston: Beacon Press.

Fawcett JT and Arnold FS (1973) The value of children: theory and method. Representative Research in Social Psychology 4 (3): 23–25.

Harris J (2004) On Cloning. London: Routledge.

Jones D (2009) Clones, cowboys and resurrecting the dead. Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/apr/24/religion‐ethics‐cloning‐embryos (Accessed 2 September 2016).

Levy N and Lotz M (2005) Reproductive cloning and a (kind of) genetic fallacy. Bioethics 19 (3): 232–250.

New York Times (1997) Clinton Seeks to Ban Human Cloning but Not All Experiments. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1997/06/10/science/clinton‐seeks‐to‐ban‐human‐cloning‐but‐not‐all‐experiments.html (Accessed 2 September 2016).

O'Neil O (2002) Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (Gifford Lectures 2001). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Putnam H (1997) Cloning people. In: Burley J (ed) The Genetic Revolution and Human Rights, pp. 1–13. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Segal NL (1999) Entwined Lives: Twins and What They Tell Us About Human Behavior. New York: Plume.

The President's Council on Bioethics (2002) Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry. Washington, D.C.: The President's Council on Bioethics.

Further Reading

Ahlberg J and Brighouse H (2011) An argument against cloning. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (4): 539–566.

Brock DW (1998) Cloning human beings: an assessment of the ethical issues pro and con. In: Nussbaum MC and Sunstein CR (eds) Facts and Fantasies about Human Cloning, pp. 141–164. New York: Norton.

Buchanan A, Brock DW, Daniels N and Wikler D (2000) From Chance to Choice: Genetics & Justice. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Devolder K (2013) Cloning. In: Zalta EN (ed) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2013/entries/cloning/.

Feinberg J (1980) A Child's Right to an open future. In: Aiken W (ed) Whose Child? Parental Rights, Parental Authority and State Power, pp. 124–153. Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield.

Harris J (1997) Goodbye Dolly: the ethics of human cloning. Journal of Medical Ethics 23 (6): 353–360.

Kass LR (1998) The wisdom of repugnance: why we should ban the cloning of humans. Valparaiso University Law Review 32 (2): 679–705.

Levick SE (2004) Clone Being: Exploring the Psychological and Social Dimensions. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc..

Pence G (1998) Who's Afraid of Human Cloning? Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Sandel MJ (2007) The Case Against Perfection. Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

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