Presentation on theme: "1 II Cloning. 2 Some Background: In vitro fertilization (IVF) “In vitro” is Latin for “in glass,” referring to the Petri dishes typically used in the."— Presentation transcript:
2 Some Background: In vitro fertilization (IVF) “In vitro” is Latin for “in glass,” referring to the Petri dishes typically used in the procedure. -Healthy oocytes are removed from the donating mother. -Sperm and seminal fluid are obtained from the donating father. -The oocyte and sperm are incubated together “in vitro,” or a sperm is directly injected into the oocyte, and allowed to multiply as embryos. -Two to three days later, the best embryos are transferred to the mother’s uterus and allowed to develop. -(Multiple embryos may be transferred to improve chances of implantation and pregnancy.)
3 Pence’s Project Pence responds to the sorts of objections raised by Leon Kass. Pence’s primary aim is to reply to the objection that cloning (or “somatic cell nuclear transfer”) will cause unnecessary physical or psychological harm to the resulting person. Pence argues that if reproductive cloning could be made safe, there seems to be nothing wrong with it. Gregory E. Pence: “Will Cloning Harm People?”
4 Legalizing Human SCNT Would Have Little Overall Effect on How Babies Come to Be In vitro fertilization (IVF) is very expensive, not typically covered by insurance. -At about $8,000 per try, only about 2,000 children are born to IVF per year. -SCNT would cost more (as it also requires IVF), so not many people are going to do it. -Besides, most people wouldn’t want clones. -So standard sexual reproduction would almost certainly remain the dominant form.
5 SCNT is Not that New or Different: I. SCNT is not that different from IVF SCNT is not radically different from current practice in technology-aided reproduction. -IVF embryos can be twinned (Rebecca/Susan experiment) One twin is implanted, the other is frozen. Years later, the second twin is implanted. We end up with twins, several years apart. Current technology already allows for this, and it may have already been done. SCNT only increases this gap in years. -So, if IVF isn’t morally wrong, why is SCNT morally wrong?
6 SCNT is Not that New or Different: II. SCNT would not cause unprecedented destruction of embryos. It took 277 embryos to produce Dolly. -But only the 29 best embryos were allowed to gestate. -Animal cloning has been as efficient as 1/12 success. This is not as efficient as the 60% success rate of standard human sexual reproduction. But it is better than the 1/30 success rate of IVF. So even if we think human embryos have some value, why are we so upset about the prospect of human cloning?
7 Loss of Human Embryos Does Not Matter Morally (Recall Warren’s argument from Class 3). -Human embryos aren’t persons with a right to life. (341) -Embryos don’t feel pain so they can’t be harmed or benefited. Human embryos are destroyed naturally. Human embryos are destroyed by IVF. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter! You have $1000, and can either spend it to keep 2,000 embryos alive for a year in storage, or to keep your family pet alive for another year. Which do you choose? -It seems the value we place on embryos isn’t that special after all – not that important to people generally.
8 Issue of Acceptable Level of Physical Risk to Child Produced through SCNT Claim: Human SCNT will always put initial embryos at risk. -Some thinkers propose a very high standard of physical risk. (Ramsey: doctors should only produce a cloned child if they can guarantee the first cloned child will be healthy.) -Some will accept a lower risk. (That the risk should be no higher than the highest risk of naturally producing children – say, 50% chance of a baby without lethal defects.) -Pence: The reasonable level is somewhere in between: Pence is aware of the importance of risk. Pence tries to rationally set the level of physical risk to put a potential child through. The normal range of risk accepted by people in sexual reproduction We don’t need to make this safer than nature itself. (341)
9 Issue of Psychological Harm to Child Produced through SCNT -We shouldn’t assume clones will be taunted that much either. Most harm people predict coming to a clone would be bigotry brought about by peers, etc. We had the same worry about IVF, but we haven’t seen this as a problem. Granted, parents of clones might have unreasonably strong expectations for their children, but this seems true also in cases of children of standard reproduction.
10 Issue of Psychological Harm to Child Produced through SCNT (cont’d) There is nothing, individually, that will make a person look like a clone. -And people tend to look like their parents anyway. Clones will not be genetically identical. Even conjoined twins, who are genetically identical, and are raised identically, develop different personalities. “To assume that a SCNT child’s future is not open is to assume genetic reductionism.” (342)
11 Issue of Psychological Harm to Child Produced through SCNT (cont’d) There’s something hypocritical about worrying about the psychological pressure on clones. We would be far better served to ensure couples undergo counseling before divorcing – it has been shown that divorce causes great psychological damage to children. So… if cloning can be made safe, on what grounds should it be rejected? Response to sexual tensions (father and cloned mother/daughter): this doesn’t occur with identical twins; there’s no reason to think it would occur here. -There is more to attraction than physical looks.