The young couple sat in the waiting room of the doctor's office with their heads hung low. They mumbled between themselves, wondering what the doctor would say at this visit. It is their ump-teenth check-up to try and figure out why they have not been able to conceive a child for the past 5 years. The woman wants with all of her heart to give birth to a child of her very own. They wondered if the doctor could do anything else to help them. Would the dream of having a baby of the couple's own blood vanish? Would the doctor have any other suggestions? Is this the end of their rope, or is there another option?
Only a few blocks away, at the General Hospital, lies a one-week-old girl with bronchiolitis obliterans, a disease that causes her body to reject her own lungs. The doctors recommend she receive a double-lung transplant within a year and a half. Down the hall from this little girl is a 13-year-old boy who stands about five feet tall and breathes heavily with the liquid oxygen attached to him. He has cystic fibrosis and has been on the organ transplant list since late last year. He had to stop going to school because he is too weak. These two children and their families are coping with waiting on transplants, as they continue to get worse. They may be waiting a year or longer. Is there another way to speed up the waiting process?
Cloning as a Possibility?
These situations and many others have brought up the topic of cloning. Cloning refers to any process that results in the creation of an identical or almost identical genetic copy of a molecule, cell, or individual plant, animal, or human (Wilson, 2002). Recently, it is being heavily researched for its potential uses. Some difficult questions arise with the uses of the clones. Could clones be "farmed" to provide spare body parts for their "parent" clone without problems of tissue rejection? Could people be cloned without conscious brains, so their body parts could be harvested with fewer moral worries? Could vital organs be grown using cloning without the rest of the body? (New Scientist, 2003). Could a woman clone herself or her husband to have a child? The idea of humans someday cloning themselves (created from a cell without sexual reproduction) is now closer to reality (Daniel & Levine, 2001).
Types of Cloning
There are actually two types of cloning: reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Reproductive cloning is making human beings asexually. In reproductive cloning, the offspring receives genetic information from one parent through a duplication process in a laboratory. DreamTech International states, "All we need is a tiny swab of cell tissue from the inside of your mouth, which is used to obtain the genetic material for producing an embryo with your DNA. If you are female, you have the option of being implanted with the embryo yourself, or hiring a surrogate birther" (2002). The reason for doing this process could be for a number of reasons: to prevent...