Creating Human Embryos Using Cloning Technologies

Creating Human Embryos Using Cloning Techniques

One the most revolutionary and important discoveries in the past century has centered on assisted Human reproductive biotechnologies. Since the first report of Louise Brown who was conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 1978, over five million babies have been born using IVF. In 1997, scientists published a milestone paper on the cloning of a sheep that they named Dolly. The cloning of Dolly made international headlines because of its great scientific accomplishment as well as the challenging ethical issues associated with cloning. Since 1997, many different species of animals have been cloned but this technology has not worked in human beings. In 2013, a milestone paper was published demonstrating that human cloning may also be applied to human reproduction. One potential clinical advantage of this type of cloning biotechnology is its capacity to use non-sperm cells of infertile men to generate a healthy embryo or to enable women who have neuromuscular problems resulting from the mitochondrial mutations to give birth to healthy children. Yet, this technology raises many bioethical issues such as the status of fatherhood in an embryo generated by “fertilizing” an egg without male sperm, creating an embryo from three or more genetic parents, or cloning a person. In this paper, we address these bioethical issues and propose various solutions regarding the use of this technology in human reproduction.


John D. Loike, Ph.D., Director of Special Programs, Center for Bioethics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Research Scientist in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics.


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