What Would You Do to Have a Baby?
Send in the Clones
Bouncing Baby Clone continued...
Zavos admits he is screening prospective parents of clones for
psychological as well as medical factors, but will not divulge the details.
"They should be able to take the heat and stay in the
kitchen," he says. "But we don't want to make all these decisions
ourselves. We want governmental, social, and religious leaders to be active
participants in human cloning, as long as they don't ban it."
"Cloning raises deep issues about the meaning of
parenthood and the flourishing of children," Murray says. The presidential
bioethics committee, of which Murray is a member, also cites "effects on
the moral, religious, and cultural values of society."
Psychological damage to clones could include losing their sense
of identity or uniqueness, worry about premature death or ill health, and loss
of social and family supports and relationships. Would the DNA donor be the
clone's twin, or parent?
Baird recommends that individual reproductive rights be weighed
against societal values. Cloning affects not only the parent, but the child,
the society, and future generations.
As mankind has not yet dealt successfully with hunger, poverty,
pollution, or warfare, "we are unlikely to have the wisdom to direct our
own evolution," she says.
Despite legislation and ethical bans against cloning, the urge
to reproduce may be too strong to be suppressed by common sense, moral
obligations, or law.
In March, Zavos and Italian fertility specialist Severino
Antinori announced that their team had unlimited funding and up to 700 couples
willing to be cloned. After a massive outcry from religious organizations, the
medical profession, and governmental agencies, human cloning efforts may be
Recently, the FDA said it had inspected a Clonaid lab in
Syracuse, N.Y., and had a signed agreement with the company that no cloning
would occur until the legality of the issue was settled.
But that's not what Brigitte Boisselier, Clonaid's science
director, says. She has threatened going to court to challenge the FDA's
jurisdiction, and says Clonaid still plans to clone a child within the next
year -- here in the U.S., or elsewhere if need be.
Meaning, it may just be a matter of time before the first human
clone appears -- for better or for worse -- leaving the rest of humanity to
deal with the ramifications.