Cloning and Stem Cell Research Ethical Viewpoints Soraj Hongladarom Center for Ethics of Science and Technology Chulalongkorn University
Viewpoints • Reproductive cloning • Therapeutic cloning • Thailand’s position
Reproductive cloning • Is it ethical to reproduce another human being asexually? • What is the purpose of sexual reproduction? • Parthenogenesis • Cloning • What does it mean to be a human being?
Therapeutic cloning • This is where the most controversies lie. • Is it ethical to ‘use’ what is potentially another human being as tissues to help treat another one? • Key point: what exactly is a potential human being?
Problems • Is there a way to demarcate what is no more than a collection of tissues and a human embryo? • If cloned embryos at early stage could be used, then what about those at a later stage? Perhaps even a fetus? A baby? • What about remaining embryos from fertility labs? • Big problem: Who decides who lives and who dies?
Julian Savulescu • There is no essential difference between a group of cells on my skin and a group of cells that will be cultured into stem cells. • In theory, any type of cells can be grown into a new, complete organism.
What is unique about humans? • On the one hand, human beings are nothing more than a collection of cells. • But on the other, human beings comprise societies, with laws and histories and traditions. • The use of stem cells point to this ambivalence.
What should we do? • Complete ban is out of the question. • But complete freedom is not acceptable either. • Alternatives should be found that do not destroy embryos. • Adult stem cells • More studies and discussions.