Safety and Harms

Given the abnormalities so far associated with animal cloning, there is a high likelihood that similar risks would accompany human cloning, at least at present. As described above, animal clones are at a rather high risk for a short life and a life with various diseases and abnormalities. Some have argued that since the alternative for the cloned child is not to exist at all, one cannot claim that giving birth to a child with abnormalities harms that child. One could only say the child was harmed if it were brought into existence with such difficulties that its life with these conditions would be worse than having no life at all. However, others have questioned this sort of reasoning. They believe that it does make sense to say that doing what one knows will bring into existence a child whose life will be short and encumbered with serious ills is to harm that child. Since the harm is serious and the risk is high, they argue, one would be wrong to take it. However, this is not the same as arguing that the law ought to prevent people from taking such risks for others. This is discussed below.

Other harms to consider relate to the number of oocytes or human eggs that thus far must be used to achieve one cloning success. These eggs would presumably have to be obtained from women volunteers. Care would have to be taken that these donors are not coerced or simply used as egg providers. So also care would have to be taken, as in other cases, that women into whom the enucleated eggs were placed for gestation would not be harmed or unduly influenced into performing that service.

Some people have objected to human cloning on the grounds of possible harm to society. One argument is the possible threat human cloning might pose to genetic diversity. If the human gene pool were seriously restricted, we would be less able than otherwise to adapt or respond to environmental changes and threats. However, this would be a possible problem only if human cloning were widespread. Since the normal method of reproduction is so much more enjoyable and desired, this would be very unlikely.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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