Josephine Quintavalle, Director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE)

Is therapeutic cloning a slippery slope to reproductive cloning?

“Yes. Already some scientists and fertility specialists in the UK are putting forward arguments in favour of reproductive cloning, including Prof Ian Wilmut who created Dolly the Sheep. It would be an easy slope to slip down. The only difference between what is called ‘therapeutic’ cloning and reproductive cloning is the destiny of the cloned embryo. One is created to die and the other is created to live, but the scientific process involved in at the beginning is identical.”

Does cloning turn a person into a product?

“Most of us are born more by accident than design, and are welcomed into this world as they are. The creation (including by cloning) of embryos outside the womb has increased our possibility to ‘design’ the child we want, and allows us choices which do make the child seem more like a product than a gift. It is possible to choose the sex, eliminate those with disability, search out egg and sperm donors with high intelligence, sporting ability, musical talent, etc. Some adults are already preferring to create children this way even if they do not have specific fertility problems.”

Is it fair to produce animals through cloning that are severely disabled or ill (like Dolly)?

“Most of the animals produced through cloning have shown severe abnormality, including a horrifying symptom which means they grow too large. In such cases both the mother and the developing fetal animal will be killed. Only a small percentage of animal clones survive (somewhere between 3 – 5%) and it is difficult to see anything positive about cloning as a result. And obviously it is not easy to imagine that human cloning will be any more successful.”

Photo of Josephine Quintavalle, Director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE)Josephine Quintavalle, Director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE)