The ethical and legal concerns regarding biotechnology especially human cloning cannot just be ignored. Since more than three decades ago, many biomedical scientists have been debating the ethical issues regarding human cloning which also occupied the developing field of biotechnology. In this his research project, basically it explores and reveals the real scenario behind this technology. Is it a master plan created by the mad or evil scientists in order to take over the world? If yes, is it all the blame should be pointed only to the scientists as the culprits? Since Dolly's miraculous existence was revealed to the public, scientists compete among them to make further advancements in human cloning technology. Moreover, as a product of sophisticated cloning technology, human cloning has succeeded to assist many infertile couples to bear children who are genetically related to them. Besides that, human cloning supporters suggested that nowadays using the biomedical advance which also occupied the developing field of biotechnology a potential means of new organs and tissues replacement could be made possible with the assistance of cloning techniques .Although this argument has some merit, a number of qualifications need to be made. The practice of human cloning that recently become the capitalist trend in human reproduction, should be judged negative with regard it is truly unsafe as well as can be a major threats to women's dignity and the natural unique identity of the person cloned which is hijacked by the presence of real or even the merely virtual presence of his the 'other'. Clearly, the ethical dilemmas and scientific uncertainties involved in this technology is real and required careful monitoring from the government and authorities. There are still many questionable and arguable ethical issues pertaining to human cloning that should be considered by the society before legalizing human cloning technology.
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The word 'clone' was originated from the Greek word 'klwn' which gives the meaning 'twig'. While in its primitive form cloning refers to the common vegetative reproduction in plants and this definition indicate that it is an asexual reproductive method, and it is differ in mammals, which reproduce by sexual reproduction method. In asexual reproductive method, since it does not involve any sexual acts, thus the offspring produced will be genetically identical to the original parent. Eventhough it cannot be denied that cloning apply asexual method which is vary with the ways of mammals reproduce, cloning are still possible in mammals and are more obvious in twins, which can be either result of natural or even deliberate splitting of a single embryo. (Abdul Majeed, 2002)
Cloning, especially human cloning is one of today's hot and controversial issues which raise a lot of opinions and debate. There are some people including researchers who strongly believe that human should be cloned, as human cloning holds great promise. Moreover, they also say that human cloning is inevitable. Most scientists predict that no matter how bad the society think and feel about the morality and ethics of the science technology, it will become reality sooner or later. In addition, in the BBC News Online Network(17 November 1998),one of the world's leading fertility experts, Professor Severino Antionori had told BBC that human cloning is a good idea in certain situations for example, in the human infertility issue as it helps couples who are unable to have children. Besides that, four years ago, he achieved world publicity after he managed to help a 62-years-old woman become the world's oldest mother using in vitro fertilization techniques which is under therapeutic cloning method.
But the issue now, is human cloning is ethically or morally wrong? In 1997, one of the U.S presidents, Bill Clinton turned to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. He advised the commission to consider about the concept of human cloning which was rejected by the members of the commission, who included politicians, religious leaders and community leaders (Nardo, 2003).This clearly proved that despite these and other potential medical benefits of human cloning, some people remain against to the cloning technology. Is it because it opposes bioethics? And if yes, why is human cloning unethical?
Apart from that, people also wondered whether it would be ethical or morally right to clone human. Many scientists that involved with human cloning research definitely will quickly answer this question in the positive answer because, they say, most probably it can become a remedy for various problems in medical field as well as helps many infertile couples to have children and increases a women' reproductive choice (Nardo 2003).However, human cloning is not the better solution. Instead, it is a direct threat to women' dignity and integrity, violates an individual's right to a unique genetic, identity and at the same time, its procedures are unsafe to be used on human subjects.
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As Mattews (2007) has shown in his articles about the overview of world human cloning policies, different countries take different approaches with regard to regulation of human cloning. He summarized those world policies on cloning research and technology range from complete forbidden to no policies. Based on records, over 30 countries such as Russian Federation, Germany, and France have banned human cloning altogether. While in other countries like Japan, U.K, and Israel, they have banned the cloning of humans, but they still permit therapeutic cloning. On the contrary, United States is one of the countries which allow all research related to stems cells and cloning to be carried out. And these research findings are basically referred to the human cloning which occurs around the world.
In 'Science On The Edge Cloning 'book, Nardo(2003) suggested that some biomedical science researchers have argued that human cloning should be seen as a positive development since it could decrease the number of patients who suffered from chronic diseases such as liver or heart failure as well as Leukemia and so on. As a product of sophisticated cloning technology nowadays, a potential means of new organs and tissues replacement and also a possible source of cloned human stem cells for research and medical use could be made possible .Just by some simple procedures, patients who are in need would place orders for organs, and then technicians would grow lungs, kidneys, and other organs in labs by applying the cloning technology. And this 'fabulous' technology was firstly discovered and invented by American and English Scientists in year 1981.
In comparison with the previous method of organ transplantations whereby the patients had to wait for a long period to get an organ donor, cloning techniques is said to be much more easier and faster as well as it did helped to eliminate the risks of rejection from new organ transplanted and the good is, this 'instant organ' can be made available from the 'laboratory factory' .Therefore, people most probably believed that by this, the number of patients died due to unable to get compatible organ donor will be lower. Moreover, as what is already suggested in the website 'http://library.thinkquest.org/c0122429/science/Science.htm'(n.d)' which more or less boosted up people's assurance it could be an effective medical alternative when it succeed to recover a young girl from San Francisco, Anissa who suffered from cancer by using bone marrow transplantation.
Although it cannot be denied that human cloning has a high probability to revolutionize hence give a bright future to the medical and in the meantime saves many lives, however a number of qualifications needed to be made before jump into any conclusions regarding the ethical and morality of human cloning. Since in reality, the most important factor that should be taken seriously is whether human cloning satisfied the safety qualifications or not and also about how efficient is it? To be sure, these large questions are hard to answer in abstract and it definitely will need a full consideration about its possible benefits and potential drawbacks in the future. According to the President's Council On Bioethics (2002), he stated that the risks of harm to the child-to-be, the egg donor and the women who brought the cloned child to birth are still arguable and the worse is, even the scientists who 'created' this techniques also cannot guarantee its level of safety.
Indeed, the scientists who involved with the previous cloning experiments had proved that cloning is truly unethical since it had low efficiency and arguable safety level. According to BBC News (17 November 1998), a scientist who involved with mammals cloning projects strongly disagree with the idea to clone humans based his experience on Dolly project years ago. Throughout Dolly project, the scientists had to use 277 reconstructed eggs in total and out of 277 human eggs, only one successful pregnancy achieved. This obviously proved that the percentage to success in an attempt to clone a human is less than one percent only. Apart from that, based on this data, what scientists can conclude is, in order to 'create' a cloned human, they have to waste most probably hundreds or thousands eggs from perhaps more than 40 donors. In spite of this dead beat works, it still unworthy since this new technology is unsafe because a good number of this proportion had tendency to fail late in pregnancy as well as malformed, stillborn, or die soon after birth.
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Besides that, cloning procedures not only harmed the cloned embryos, but at the same time, the women who bear them are also put at grave risk. While in some worse cases, women who signed the agreement to become surrogate mother can be involved in manipulation or deception by some selfish authorities for their own sake. Because usually, they might receive either no information or inaccurate information regarding on the consequences of their decision to be a cloned child carrier and potential risks that might arise such as tendency to suffer from reproductive diseases like ovarian cancer from the hormone injections, and also the risks of infertility of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome during pregnancy, which can lead to fatality. Some culprits had took this golden opportunity to manipulate or coax women to sell their reproductive labor due to only a small numbers of 'desirable' laborers only that want to perform the labor (Steinbock 2007). Hence, it can be summarized that human cloning is unethical because of its principle, 'kill many souls first before creating or saving one'.
2.2 HUMAN CLONING IS A DIRECT THREAT TO WOMEN'S DIGNITY
Majority of the followers from different religions in the world firmly believe that our universe is created for a divine purpose. Hence, the scholars from those different religions exhorted their followers to exploit the world so that the divine missions can be accomplished. In order to populate the world, those followers need to 'produce' new generation that are good from the aspect of intellectuals and physical. But unfortunately, it has been recorded that approximately 15% of all couples in the world have infertility problems. This kind of problems can be their major obstacles to achieve their divine missions. Some people suggested that, with the biomedical advance which also occupied the developing field of biotechnology have succeeded to assist infertile couples to bear children who are genetically related to them. (Abdul Majeed, 2002).
As what Abdul Majeed (2002) has wrote in his book, infertility can be defined as the inability of a woman to produce a viable pregnancy within 1-2 years of regular sexual intercourse without the consumption of contraceptive pills. Also, the research found that infertility may be caused by certain "defects" of gamete cells either in the wife or husband. Because of this issue has rise a huge controversy, some people suggested an idea to solve this problem by using cloning technology. How cloning technologies help infertile couples?
As what Levinson and Reiss (2003) has wrote in their book 'Key Issues in Bioethics', for cloning-to-produce-children, in particular genetic disorder, infertile women can have their own babies by fertilizing woman's egg and a man's sperm in a lab instead of within her 'infertile' womb. Then the cloned fetus that are grew in the laboratories is implanted to that woman's uterus, or for easier way, they also might use surrogate mother. In addition this alternative, more or less it helps to ease the mental and physical pains among the infertile couples. While for infertile man cases, in more advance cloning technologies, DNA from infertile man are taken from his somatic cells instead of his gamete cells, which are said to be much more effective to solve infertility problems. Although this argument has some merit, a number of qualifications need to be made.
Before making any proposals to 'create' cloned generation, consider first what cloning would mean not only for the individual parents and children involved, but also for all of society as well. This is because, this so called 'infertility solution' had hijacked human dignity especially women in its process. As being explained in an article written by Correa (1997), by providing ovum and womb to the cloned baby, it seem like a violation to a few of their biological functions. This proved that women are radically exploited. Besides that, there are also rumors about recent researches regarding cloning of human that looks to the possibilities of constructing artificial wombs which showed the last steps to 'create' human beings in the laboratories. Can this action be considered as ethical?
Apart from that, human cloning researches and projects must be controlled accordingly and consistently because if it is allowed to be carried on without restrain from the authorities, it will be an obvious source of 'slave labor' as well as commodification of body organs such as uterus (Steinbock, 2007). While in other scenario that might also happened, some women volunteered to sell their reproductive labor for money purpose which is in the past were non-existent. How this can be made possible? All those volunteers have to undergo some kind of procedures provided by 'Clone Farm Company' such as oocyte retrieval in order to sell their egg cells. But the issue now, should women treat their own reproductive labor as a commodity that is something can be traded for a price?
As what has been emphasized by Steinbock (2007) in his book, oocyte vendors or also called third party collaborative, they simply risk and degrade their own dignity just to perform this laborious task of oocyte retrieval and hence give consent to use this lethal reproductive labor not for their direct reproductive benefits, instead for the benefits of others. Although it cannot be denied that those women may get healthy sums of money in return, but is their sacrifice worth after their dignity is destroyed, and hence ultimately situation getting in case they get any chronic reproductive diseases. Based on the ideas stated above, it is pretty cleared that human cloning against human ethics.
After Dolly the sheep project was succeed, most of the scientists started to gain hope that in the not so distant future, human cloning projects will become a reality. Despite strong objection from the religious community as well as politicians, the scientists are reported to be more likely to continue with cloning technologies research and development that involved with population of human or its scientific name is Homo sapiens. Today, the replacing of natural means of reproduction with technology is linked with to the so-called bioterrorism. The practice of human cloning that recently become the capitalist trend in human reproduction, should be judged negative with regard to the identity of the person cloned which is hijacked by the presence of real or even the merely virtual presence of his the 'other'. But the question now is how does this unethical technology robs an individual's right to genetic identities?
Every individual has a right to their own genetic identity which God has given to each of us and to no one else is retained. As stated in Steinbock (2007), human creation begins at the process of random fertilization between father's sperm cells and mother's ovum. Throughout this process, the genetic materials of parent are passed to their offspring naturally. This is how a uniquely individuated organism is formed. But unfortunately the human cloning technology has opposed the ethical values of human being which obeyed the natural principle of 'human creation'. This is because human cloning involves the exact replication of a person's genes, the process of random fertilization will never occur and also no process of random passing of genetic materials to the cloned offspring. Hence, the cloned person is no longer considered unique organism. Does cloning technology try to create a master plan to violate human identity?
Also, in human cloning concept, the parents are free to choose the characteristics of their new children. Some said that human cloning research and projects should be allowed because all human should be given the power to alter and 'master' themselves. But in reality, human cloning concept is just like a tale about unethical manner of the mad or evil scientists who threaten to destroy the human uniqueness and genetic identity, so that all human are 'perfect'. If it is allowed to continue without restraint from the authorities, it also could lead to opening of the market to famous celebrities and intellectuals to commodify their genes at very high prices. Moreover, cloning turned human from unique subjects to be accepted unconditionally, into designed and selected commodities to be bought and sold according to the desired criteria. That trend must be stopped at the point of cloning, for if the government fails to control it, its control of toward the human being will become unbreakable. Therefore, let's open our mind and start to play our role by saying no to this unethical 'sophisticated' technology.
The relevant authorities such as The Ministry of Health should be more alert about the security of the gametes and embryos consumed during the experiment of human cloning. Since they can be considered as men in power, they should established a security department which help to ensure that the apparatus and materials used for the cloning projects are fully protected from any contamination or human biased. In addition, this department also plays a major role to provide effective monitoring system especially to maintain standard storage and handling of this 'sensitive' materials such as gametes and embryos. This sensitive material should be kept in special designated security container to make sure it is maintained in good and safe conditions. This crucial ideas will make human cloning procedure became safer and efficient.
Besides that, the Ministry of Health also must play their role to prepare clinical guidelines to the doctors who are involved in human cloning process. They should be given proper and sufficient explanations regarding how to handle the genetic materials in more proper and ethical manners since fertilized embryo already can be considered as living creature. Since they are considered alive, they should be treated as normal human being. Any procedures that can carry reasonable risk of harm to gametes and embryos should be avoided. Moreover, this 'sensitive creature' which has been contaminated or broken down should be terminated and disposed only after being asked from the couple and written consent duty obtained. These kind of specific instructions are imperative in order to treat this God creation ethically as human being and eliminated any humanity discrimination.
Furthermore, government from all nations should cooperate together and enforce the laws pertaining to the practice of the assisted reproductive techniques. Do you think is it acceptable if a fertilized sperm and ovum of a married couple is implanted into the uterus and delivered by another third collaborative party or so-called surrogate mother? Enforcement is required to control any overzealous attempts of any company which commidify the oocytes for money as well as discriminate women's reproductive labor. Media also plays an important role to reveal about the reality of human cloning especially about the abusive cloning culprits. This is necessary to give sufficient awareness to our society about the real scenarios and dramas behind human cloning so that the real world public will never took it for granted in the future.
The 21st century, has been labeled by the biomedical scientists as the Biotechnology Century will probably shape the entire human activities within this century. With this idea, shows that in the next coming years, probably will be more research and projects which involved Homo sapiens cloning will be carried out. However, the ethical and legal concerns regarding the biomedical technology especially those with regard human cloning should not be left behind and took for granted. Clearly, the ethical dilemmas and scientific uncertainties involved in this technology is real and required careful monitoring from the government and authorities. There are still many questionable and arguable ethical issues pertaining to human cloning that should be considered by the society before legalizing this technology. Based on the bad impacts left by this technology to our human being, in this case, it can be concluded that it is truly unethical technology since it may leave bad implication to the health of the mother and cloned child, degrade women's dignity, and last but not least it hijacked humans' unique identity. But in case in the future, this so-called evil technology reached its evolution state, major changed is made to make it safer and no more discrimination to women's dignity; do you think human cloning should be acceptable by our society?
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Correa, J.D.V., (1997), 'reflections on cloning', viewed 30 April 2010, <http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdlife/documents/rc_pa_acdlife_doc_30091997_clon_en.html>
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Matthews, K., (2007),'Overview of World Human Cloning Policies', Connexions, viewed 3 March 2010, < http://cnx.org/content/m14834/1.1/>
Nardo, D., (2003),'Science On The Edge', Thomson Gale, USA.
Nardo, D., (2003),'Cloning', The KidHaven Science Library, USA.
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Steinbock, B., (2007),'The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics', Oxford University Press, New York
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