Human Cloning: Ethical Dilemma

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 3
Words: 828
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: Bachelor

The process of cloning living beings has been at the center of a heated debate for the last two decades. Since the first living organism, being Dolly the Sheep, was cloned in 1996, people were left wondering if human cloning would ever be scientifically possible. Furthermore, questions regarding the ethical side of the matter had been raised by numerous philosophers, lawyers and scientists. This paper will outline the current state of the debate, present arguments for and against human cloning and conclude with the author’s opinion on the matter.

To begin with, one of the main driving forces behind the current debate regarding human cloning as well as the prime holders of the last say in the matter is UNESCO. Following the aforementioned cloning of Dolly, the organization had published the Declaration of Human Cloning which stated that all attempts at cloning people being should be aborted due to its discrepancy with basic ethical and moral principles (Langlois, 2017). However, the declaration was met with a lukewarm public response and UNESCO resumed the research by collaborating with International Bioethics Committee (IBC). There has been little progress in the debate up until 2015 when UNESCO and IBC enlisted the support of Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) and published a new document that constituted the United Nations and UNESCO as the key members of the global bioethics community. The report addressed the lack of homogeneous international legislation regarding human cloning and urged governments to “produce an international legally binding instrument to ban human cloning for reproductive purposes” (Langlois, 2017, p. 5). As of today, there is still no consensus on the matter as some countries still do allow some forms of experimentation with the human genome and cloning.

As far as the arguments in favour of human cloning are concerned, there are plenty of useful applications of human cloning in case it ever becomes legal. First of all, Kemaloglu and Birtek (2019) argue that human cloning can have sentimental value for some people and can help them to survive loss, bereavement and depression. In particular, children can be cloned after the death of a child or one of the parents, as well as for people with infertility or to save the genome of kids with particularly outstanding characteristics. Furthermore, Tooley (2020) mentions that cloning can allow scientists to replicate human embryos for research or to produce identical stem cells that will have the ability to repair damaged tissues if derived from the same person. Alternatively, the author suggests that if one were to produce a clone of a person that would lack any personality or characteristics that define humans, the clone could be used as an organ bank for that person. Ultimately, the pro-cloning arguments boil down to producing life-like identical clones for therapeutic purposes and producing lifeless clones to be used for science.

With regard to arguments against human cloning, they can be split into two distinct categories: health reasons and moral ambiguity. The former has already been proven using animals as most of the clones, including Dolly the Sheep, experienced severe health defects in the short span of their lives (Kemaloglu and Birtek, 2019). Moreover, Nasrullah et al. (2020) refer to an experiment involving human female eggs that were able to produce embryos in a ratio less than 13% to their original value, emphasizing slim chances of embryos ever reaching adulthood. With respect to moral ambiguity, at this point, there is no scientific way to predict with a hundred per cent certainty how human clones would perceive themselves, their original copies and creators and the world around them. Häyry (2018) goes as far as to state that “cloning violates our dignity, uses people as means, affronts our uniqueness, and threatens our humanity” (2018, p. 18). Hence, people advocating against cloning consider this process neither ethical nor humanistic due to very rational health concerns as well as moral dilemmas that it is expected to cause.

Although I understand how experiments with human cloning can excel the development of science and potentially benefit people with trauma and serious health issues, I do not believe that it would be ethical, at least nowadays. Firstly, as long as there is no empirical evidence confirming the safety of human clones’ health, scientists will be putting life-like human beings at risk of being severely disabled for the rest of their lives. Moreover, I share the sentiment raised by both Häyry (2018) and Tooley (2020) regarding potential gaps in human clones’ perception of selves and the possible consequences of this distorted worldview on their psyche and mental health. Therefore, as long as there are no scientifically tested therapeutic procedures for human clones’ adaptation to the real world, I believe it would be immoral to expose sentient human beings to that kind of stress. Finally, there is a number of legal procedures regarding the rights of and responsibility for the assimilation of human clones that need to be established before the first clone can be successfully produced.


Häyry, M. (2018). Ethics and cloning. British Medical Bulletin, 128(1), 15–21.

Kemaloglu, C. A. and Birtek, F. (2019). A general evaluation of stem cell studies and human cloning from the ethical, faith, and legal perspective. Turkish Journal of Plastic Surgery, 27(1), 3-8.

Langlois, A. (2017). The global governance of human cloning: The case of UNESCO. Palgrave Communications, 3.

Nasrullah, Iqbal, R. K., BiBi, S., Muneer, S., BiBi, S. and Anwar, F. N. (2020). Ethical issues of human cloning. Journal of Medical Sciences, 40(3), 103-106.

Tooley, M. (2020). The moral status of human cloning: Neo-Lockean persons versus human embryos. In Schüklenk, U. & Singer, P (Eds.), Bioethics: An anthology (4th ed., pp. 115-132). Wiley Blackwell.