Human somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or human cloning for reproductive and therapeutic purposes and oocyte use have objective ethical difficulties, principally that it objectifies the human embryo produced, it instrumentalises it, which goes against the dignity inherent to its own human nature.
However, another ethical problem of this practice is the large number of oocytes (eggs) that it requires. Obtaining them may therefore go against the dignity of the donor, not only because it instrumentalises her, but also because the ovarian hyperstimulation necessary to facilitate the production of a large number of oocytes can result in objective side effects for the donor’s health, and even occasionally (although rarely) cause death.
Ethics human cloning and egg manipulation
In relation to the ethical difficulty of manipulation of the egg donor, Ikemoto published an interesting article reflecting on this in the Hastings Center Report (November-December 2014). We shall take a paragraph or two from this report, together with our own comments.
Since Cibelli et al. reported that they had cloned a human embryo for the first time (Journal of Regenerative Medicine 2; 25, 2001), various attempts have been made to clone humans, but it appears that the first scientifically acceptable attempt was by Mitalipov’s team, who published a paper in Cell (153; 1228-1238,2013), in which they stated that they had been able to produce human blastocysts by SCNT.
In 2014, another article was published by Egli’s group (Nature 510; 533-536,2014), in which they claimed that they had obtained pluripotent cells from the skin cells of a newborn and an adult woman with type 1 diabetes, from which they were able to derive insulin-producing beta-pancreatic cells.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.