Cloning of Embryos
The American Medical Association (AMA) defines human cloning as genetically identical organism’s production through a process of somatic cell’s nuclear transfer (SCNT). SCNT refers to a process that entails transferring somatic cells of an existing organism into the oocyte where the nucleus came from (National Human Genome Research Institute Para 1). As such, cloning refers to a procedure via which the production of a baby with a genetic factor that is identical to that of the parents occurs. Cloning also entails organs and tissues production through cell implantation in cultures with the real embryo that will be born. For this cloning to be realized, stem cells must be used.
After fertilizing an egg, the cells in it start dividing. Some cells differentiate to become stem cells which produce tissues and tissues develop to become organs (National Human Genome Research Institute Para 2). This paper’s main objective is to support the argument that embryo’s cloning for one’s self to serve as the stem cells’ source for purposes of therapy should be considered morally permissible for people who want to prolong lives via this type of therapeutic option.
Morality of cloning embryos of one’s self to produce embryonic stem cells for therapeutic purposes
The embryo that is used to produce stem cells has an arguable moral status. This is because embryonic research presents a problem of morals as it causes tension between the vital moral doctrines which the society values the most (ESC Para 1). Such morals include an obligation to relieve or to avert human suffering. The other moral principle entails the duty that every human has to value and to revere human life. As such, when a person opts to clone their embryo in order to produce stem cells that can be used for therapeutic purposes that will prolong life, they violate one of these moral principles which entail protecting human life as a duty. However, it should be noted that these morality principles cannot be valued instantaneously in the stem cell study (ESC 1).
One can ask a question on the basis of which principle ought to take precedence when in such a situation where there seem to be a conflict. One can wonder whether to give more weight to first principle so as to allow the stem cells to be destroyed for the purpose of extending the life of a person. However, one may also wonder whether more weight should be accorded the second principle that prohibits embryo’s use in generating stem cells because it violates value and respect for the embryo which is the start of a human being.
While enduring suffering or pain from an infection, it is possible to be cured through organ generation from the stem cells. As such, curing infection, which prolongs the life of a person, seems morally right. This is because stem cells study is aimed at relieving suffering and curing diseases and this is considered a moral objective that is recognized universally according to morality principles (ESC 3). For the intended objective which is to prolong life to be achieved, a person has to use some body parts and also create a stem cell that is considered important by medical research. This violates the second morality principle which calls for the protection of human life in every circumstance if the person does not get medical intervention. Cloning as a form of medical intervention for therapeutic reasons causes an ethical dilemma. There is a moral dilemma between using the embryo in generating organs that are required in order to prolong an already existing person’s life and protecting the embryo that is seen as a potential person. Prolonging an existing person’s life would ethically be just by alleviating suffering instead of protecting a potential person who does not know suffering or pain (Hansen para 5-6).
One can also argue that the embryo that is used in the operation of stem cells has no moral status. Therefore, it can be considered as organic materials whose status is similar to the status of a body part. As a mere part of the body of a person, the embryo lacks an autonomous status. Therefore, it is a possession of a person who gave the physique (Hansen para 7) (ESC 3). Embryo’s only reverence is what is shown to the possessions of the other people. By viewing the embryo from this perspective of being the property of a person, the said person has the authority to control their body elements. Therefore, he can decide what is best for life. Therefore, this would imply that the decision on the property’s use in satisfying a need lies in his/her hands. When experiencing suffering or pain, the individual who considers stem cells study as the sole remedy to the pain is allowed to use their embryo (ESC 3).
According to critics of the process of generating organs using stem cells, using the embryo to produce specific cells prevents it from developing so that it can serve its complete or normal purpose. Therefore, this is reprogramming the embryo completely and it makes it something different from what it was supposed or intended to become which is a human being (Mummery & DeWert 637). On the other hand, proponent of the stem cell studies argue that an embryo must have purpose sense, principles and aims in order to qualify recognition as a being. This case is possible only for beings that have the Central Nervous System (CNS). An embryo does not have a CNS that is fully developed at the early stage. Therefore, it lacks the rights for protecting its interests (ESC 3). As such, developing tissues and organs using the stem cells of an embryo for therapeutic reasons is not its destruction. It is only directing it to a different purpose that benefits the concerned person.
Morality in the use of embryos for stem cell studies as well as producing organs remains debatable. Nevertheless, it should be noted that although man is responsible for protecting life, he is also responsible for alleviating suffering. One way of preventing suffering is through stem cell studies which also destroys life. An embryo can be seen as a potential human person. If a person can use it in producing organs that will prolong the life of a person and reduce pain, the concerned person will alleviate suffering and also preserve value of the life of a human being.
Are you having difficulty completing your assignments? Do you fear you may not submit your paper on time? We offer 24/7 homework assistance services. Visit us at PremiumEssays.net and place an order for your paper. We guarantee quality and timely services at affordable rates.
Euro Stem Cell (ESC). Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Ethics. Seventh Framework
Programme, pp. 1-5, 2011. Retrieved on Dec 13, 2013, from http://www.eurostemcell.org/files/Human_ES_ethics_1.pdf
Hansen, James. Embryonic Stem Cell Production through Therapeutic Cloning has Fewer Ethical Problems than Stem Cell Harvest from Surplus IVF Embryosi, J Med Ethics, para 5-7, 2002. Retrieved on Dec 13, 2013, from http://jme.bmj.com/content/28/2/86.full
Mummery, Christine, and De Wert, Guido. Human Embryonic Stem Cells: Research, Ethics and Policy. Oxford Journals Medicine Human Reproduction Volume 18, Issue 4, pp. 672-682, 2003, Retrieved on Dec 13, 2013, from http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/4/672.full
National Human Genome Research Institute. Cloning/ Embryonic Stem Cells. National Institute of Health, para 1, 2, 5. Retrieved on Dec 13, 2013, from http://www.genome.gov/10004765