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Reproductive human cloning has the potential to do good. Globally, there is a shortage of organs available for transplantations. This is partly because donor organs need to be an exact match so that the recipient’s body does not reject them. Therefore, human reproductive cloning could be a possible solution as it would produce two genetically identical individuals and one could donate their organs to the other without the possibility of rejection. (1) From a utilitarian perspective, this would be good as it is what benefits the majority of people. However, the cloned individual would still be a human being with human rights and thus have personal autonomy – a right to refuse to donate their organs. In addition to this, human reproductive cloning could give individuals who are infertile or in same-sex relationships the opportunity to have children who are genetically related to them. However, there are already methods that can assist with this that do not have the potential to be used for harm like cloning does. Cloning is better than an egg or sperm donor or bank because of its ability to produce a child who would be genetically identical to the parent. However, cloning limits the gene pool by decreasing genetic diversity that would naturally occur when using an egg or sperm donor or bank and would in this way be worse than an egg or sperm donor or bank. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is better than human cloning as it has proven to be successful and the technology was only used in humans after extensive animal trials deemed it to be safe (2) Furthermore, due to the nature of cloning, more eggs would be required for cloning than in IVF and more women would need to be exposed to the risks that accompany egg donation (1). IVF is costly and cloning would be costly, meaning that the theory of distributive justice would need to be considered as issues such as who should be given access to it are raised. Those in favor of cloning argue that if an individual gives voluntary informed consent, they can proceed with the procedure if they so wish. However, informed consent requires that individuals be made aware of all risks and consequences. This is not possible to do when it comes to human reproductive cloning as the risks are still largely unknown. Thus, any consent given will not be informed consent and may provide grounds for individuals to bring legal action against the individuals who performed the procedure. In addition to this, the fetus – which is at the greatest risk for death and abnormalities – is unable to give informed consent. (1) It would therefore be irresponsible to proceed with human reproductive cloning when the validity of informed consent is in question. The requirements of non-maleficence have also not been fulfilled, as performing a procedure on an individual when the risks are unknown does not minimize harm to the individual.

Although cloning could be used for good, it can be used for bad too. Some believe that because human reproductive cloning will produce genetically identical individuals, individuality will be lost and that two exact copies of a person will exist. However, this is not the case. Although the individuals would be genetically identical, their upbringing; unique experiences, and genetic mutations would mold them into different people, such as is the case with identical twins. (1) In addition to this, should cloning be allowed, some individuals will use the opportunity to develop and test other genetic engineering methods that may not be regulated by the same laws as cloning. Such as using CRISPR Cas-9 to edit the fetus’ genome to eliminate a known disorder. This issue could be combatted by the drafting and strict implementation of laws that specifically mention what human embryos can be used for, who can use them, and the consequences for any transgressors. Another reason why human cloning would be wrong is because it is unsafe, with most experiments on animals having resulted in miscarriages or stillbirths. (3) Although some success has been documented in animal experiments, such as Dolly the sheep, the consequences of failure in humans would be much more severe and lifelong. (1) The use of animals in experimentation is also largely frowned upon and the alternative, using human participants, is currently illegal.

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Reproductive human cloning should be regulated by the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki, and any other relevant laws of the country in which the cloning will occur. In addition to these laws, an advisory committee should be established. This committee should include professionals in the medical, scientific, and ethical fraternities and its role will be to draft new laws specifically about reproductive human cloning, as no such laws currently exist. These laws should provide guidance on, but not be limited to, who should be allowed to perform the procedures; how the procedures should be performed; documentation required before the procedure; and protocols to follow should the procedure not have the expected outcome and consequences for those who break these laws. In addition to these laws, the safety of reproductive human cloning should be evaluated using medical and scientific criteria. More specifically, the risk of morbidity and mortality for the woman who is carrying the fetus; the risk of morbidity, mortality, and abnormalities for the fetus, and the risk for the woman whose eggs will be used in the cloning process. (1) Furthermore, ethical criteria may be used to evaluate the impact that reproductive cloning will have on the individuals’ mental well-being; the lives of the individuals; society, and how technology used for reproductive cloning may be used in the future. Reproductive human cloning is a possibility that will have far-reaching implications for all facets of society. Thus, a blend of medical, scientific, and ethical criteria should be used to evaluate reproductive human cloning to ensure the best possible outcome for all involved.

In conclusion, I do not support reproductive human cloning as medical and scientific findings indicate that it is currently not safe for human use. Although cloning could be used to combat the shortage of organs available for transplant, there is no guarantee that the cloned individual would consent to their organs being used and it would be unethical to force them to do so. Cloning could also provide a means for individuals who are infertile or in same-sex relationships to have children. However, methods such as IVF or the use of donor eggs or sperm are available and have proven to be safer. Thus, the potential for cloning to be used for good is outweighed by the fact that cloning as it stands is not safe for humans. There are also very few laws currently in existence that govern cloning and thus the potential for cloning and other genetic engineering tools to be used for bad is too great. The belief that cloning could allow parents of a child who has died the opportunity to produce a genetically identical child as redress for their loss is a reason for reproductive cloning I find unacceptable. It dehumanizes the dead child and the clone of the dead child. This is one such example of how cloning could be used for bad. I am aware that preventing cloning for reproductive reasons would hamper the progress of other gene editing techniques and the potential uses and benefits thereof. However, until laws that govern the use of these techniques are drafted and implemented, no person should be allowed to use these techniques on humans as there would be severe medical and ethical ramifications.

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