Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Ethical Considerations

The Ethical Considerations
Advanced Cell Technology assembled a board of outside ethicists to weigh the moral implications of therapeutic cloning research, which aims to generate replacement tissues to treat a range of diseases. Here are some of the major questions the board considered before the company went forward with cloning the first human embryo.
What is the moral status of the organisms created by cloning?
If a cloned organism were implanted into a womb, as was done in the case of Dolly the sheep, it could possibly go on to full development and birth. Because of this potential, some members of the board argued that the organism produced in human therapeutic cloning experiments is the equivalent of any ordinary human embryo and merits the same degree of respect and protection.
Most members of the advisory board did not agree. they pointed out that, unlike an embryo, a cloned organism is not the result of fertilization of an egg by a sperm. It is a new type of biological entity never before seen in nature. Although it possesses some potential for developing into a full human being, this capacity is very limited. At the blastocyst stage, when the organism is typically disaggregated to create an embryonic stem cell line, it is a ball of cells no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. (Embryos normally do not attach to the wall of the uterus and begin development until after the blastocyst stage.) It has no organs, it cannot possibly think or feel, and it has none of the attributes thought of as human. Although board members understood that some people would liken this organism to an embryo, we preferred the term "activated egg," and we concluded that its characteristics did not preclude its use in work that might save the lives of children and adults.

Is it permissible to create such a developing human entity only to destroy it??
Those who believe that human life begins at conception and who also regard activated eggs as morally equivalent to human embryos cannot ethically approve therapeutic cloning research. For them, such research is equivalent to killing a living child in order to harvest its organs for the benefit of others.  But therapeutic cloning remains totally unacceptable to such people because it involves the deliberate creation of what they deem to be a human being in order to destroy it.

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