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1. By reference to the argument from ‘procreative beneficence’, explain the position that we have a moral obligation to use genetic enhancement technology to produce the best possible children we can. Evaluate that argument: do you agree/disagree? Provide reasons to defend your evaluation, and respond to at least one objection to it.

2. In your opinion, is it morally permissible to use cloning techniques to create human embryos that are solely intended for research? Explain and defend your view, giving reasons and responding to at least one objection to your view.

3. In your opinion, should we permit the regulated creation and use of inter-species cytoplasmic hybrids (‘cybrids’ or ‘chimera’) in stem cell research? Present your view and outline the reasons that support it, explaining and defending them fully and responding to at least one objection to it.

4. Explain and evaluate the ‘life in the shadow’ argument against human reproductive cloning. What are its strong points? Its weak points? Do you ultimately agree or disagree with the argument? Explain and fully defend your position with arguments.

5. Some argue that there is something special and ‘exceptional’ about human genetic material that means that it should not be commercialised in any way. Fully explain that argument and evaluate it: do you agree/disagree? Why? Given reasons to defend your evaluation fully.

6. What are the main grounds on which critics argue that GM food production cannot on its own overcome the significant problems of food insecurity and scarcity in poorer nations? Explain their position, and evaluate it: do you agree/disagree with their argument? Why? Fully defend your evaluation.

Therapeutic Cloning and Embryonic Stem Cells

Human cloning refers to the therapeutic cloning of embryonic cells with an aim of obtaining transplant organs which can be used in the treatment of injured nerve cells and other health-related functions. Human cloning refers to the general reproductive process of cloning of somatic cell nuclear transfer in order to obtain eggs which could be used to develop into adulthood phase. Human cloning has often been used to refer or to suggest for improved genetic engineering through cloning of individuals. Biological definition entails obtaining copies of biological identities, (Lew, 2018).

The human embryonic discovery of stem cells in humans has been one of the key developments in the discovery of a biological environment. The medical arena has stimulated interesting applications of stem cells. These applications involve genetic engineering, tissue alterations and other techniques such as repair, maintenance, and organs replacements. There are three conventions known the use of embryonic stems cells which include; usage of embryonic stem cells lines, left embryos being unused in Vitro fertilization procedures and creation of embryos created somatic cell nuclear transfer approaches, (de Wert, 2017).

The derivation of stem cells from known embryo stem cells lines has been a controversial point of argument, from the spares embryos left out during the in vitro fertilization processes. Stem cells obtained from embryos created from somatic cell nuclear transfer has often raised major ethical objections and other moral underpinnings. The question of where to perform human cloning for usage in biomedical research has raised broad moral concerns. Further other conflicting information has been raised; such research undertakings raising the critical importance of human knowledge on human embryogenic development on gene action in cases where genetic abnormalities occur causing diseases. Further, a significant promise is that such research undertakings could lead to emergences of transplantable organs and tissues which could be effective in management ad reversible of illness such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, spinal injury, and juvenile diabetes, (Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2016).

On the other perspective, there is a feeling that such research involves deliberate production, use, and destruction of human embryos and could be utilized for the production of human being babies. This narrative complicates the moral underpinning on the likelihood of delivering beneficial effects on the possibility of this research to be used to deliver meaningful benefits yet presenting basic moral ethics principles. Human embryo cloning further presents dangers of creating false hopes among the uses with the risk of end assessment goodness to justify the moral principles. Moral concerns have been raised on the usage of coning for biomedical research purposes. Other perspectives have shown positive agreement on the on the fidelity and moral human aspirations of science and medicine and to the communal moral aspirations. Both scientific and moral reasoning informs basic decisions to undertake before initiating such practice, (Caplan, 2018).

Controversies Surrounding Spare Embryos

Despite the general agreements, it is difficult to ascertain the best approach. There exist various questions about the context of ethics considerations for cloning in biomedical research. Firstly, weighing whether the decision to undertake to clone for children production or in a different context of ethics of embryo and stem cell research. This issue has led to the moral uprise among the public on cloning legislation policies.

The embryonic stems cells often used have been less controversial than obtaining spare embryos from in vitro fertilization procedures. Stems cells obtained from stem cell research through the somatic cell technique have often raised ethical questions. The proposition of this research has often revolved around a source of embryo stem cell has been unaccepted. This opinion is raised from the notion of stem cell have been created and saving lives is difficult from this approach, (Schwartz et al., 2015). Other key sources of embryos have raised questions on ethical issues on whether usage of spare human embryos means lack of respect and whether the use of such embryos is morally accepted issue. The usage in somatic cell nuclear technique has often raised a lot of questions on ethical underpinnings.

In a research poll conducted in the United States displayed a huge public controversy on the issue and there is an existence of strong reservations on the destruction of embryos (Nisbet, 2004). Such opposition has slowed down the stem cell progress and thus deprive patients of the possible benefits of stem cell therapies. Thus the ethical concerns raised on embryo stem cell research activities. The different positions regarding the issue of human cloning are indepthly addressed in this paper with counter-argument based on the issue highlighted.

Usage of spare embryos for research purposes entails treatment without a valid respect to human life. When stem cell therapies become routine, human embryos often become a source of therapeutic materials and its usage may mean achievement on the ends and decrease for human life (Einsiedel et al., 2009). This poses a danger for devaluating human life embryos at the beginning of their life’s, meaning policies will be initiated for sacrificing the vulnerable persons for the benefit of others, (Sãvinescu, Dãnilã, Trandafirescu, & Cãruntu, 2011). This portrays a slippery action in that such acceptance entails further toleration of other unaccepted actions. The incremental use of embryos can lead to significant increase in tolerance of social life loss, which may necessitate to ending of life prematurely, further leading to disabilities, (Hassan n.d).

The Debate on Embryo Stem Cell Research

Consideration of human embryo as a human being, the utilitarian arguments on the benefit embryo stem cell may not offer the justification of unethical act and lead to ethical perspective, (Tamkins, 2004). Further, even if embryo research is regarding as no wrong, the emergence of clone farms, cloned babies and usage of the fetus for spares and the modification of human life will take effect affecting the ethical underpinnings of human life, (Hug, 2005).

Assessment by moral philosophers has argued that there exist moral difference on acts and omissions between active killing and passively destruction emanating from destruction from the causes. Even if the outcome is the same in all the cases, it is argued that it is worse to bring destruction to self, (Fagan, 2013).

Other counter arguments have been portrayed regarding the usage of the embryo for research with no harm intended to cause lack of respect for human beings. Arguments have that, destruction of embryos do not undermine respect to human life in the society. The destruction of the embryos and issues such as abortion have been long in practice and no change of human life perspective has been taken into interest, (Banerjee, 2014). Considerations of immoral sacrifice on embryos for the sake of treatment of diseases should follow the same trends of immoral actions of sacrificing infertility, thus regarding an embryo as a mere thing, do not offer any significance on the respect of human life. This offers questions as to whether the embryos could be used for other purposes other than a human being created.  

Further spare embryos either donated for research practices or left to perish after defrosting either after serving the purpose or after the expiry of the freezer time lapses. If the result of the embryo can offer curative purposes for incurable diseases, then interests of those suffering should be put at the center and spare embryos could be utilized for research other than being wasted in the freezers, (Menasche, 2014).

Embryos used in research are morally unacceptable compared to the use of existing embryos for research. Arguments on these sentiments have indicated that there is no moral difference between intentions when the final result is the same. Spare embryos form the initial reasoning for fertility treatment options thus giving chance for the development of human beings. Research on spare embryos over the fertility treatments has been shown to be morally acceptable. In both cases, there is always the destruction of, embryos and there is a moral consensus that research embryos cannot be used in women. Creation of spare embryos has been viewed as anon natural in the case of in vitro fertilization since they are produced in natural pregnancies. Majority of these embryos gave to die thus enabling the sibling embryo to mature into birth. Loss of embryos is a natural phenomenon in many pregnancies. Thus spare embryo production in vitro fertilization as it occurs in sexual production and creation of embryos in live child scenarios is accepted as a natural process and necessary. Production of embryos for research purposes could signify therapeutic possibilities. Harvested stem cells from surplus embryos in the research arena have focused on improving the chance of matching the needs of future patients, (Masek, 2017).

Counterarguments Regarding Embryo Research

Cloning techniques entail transferring adult nucleus from somatic cells to egg sites without the inclusion of nucleus. Therapeutic cloning refers to the act of using patient nucleus from the patient somatic cell if stimulation is undertaken using electricity; it transforms itself to blastocyst stage which forms a similar genetic identity to the patient. Research trials undertaken in South Korea have shown such a possibility, thus signifying the potential success of the therapeutic cloning of human beings, (Tamkins, 2014).

The ethical reasoning of advances this progress entails, the rise of commercial entities conducting research on embryos which leads to decreasing lowering on the intrinsic value of human life. The danger f women exploitation is a perceived threat which affects moral reasoning backgrounds. Production of stem cells which are not spares after processes of in vitro fertilization poses moral ethics among the women population. In this processes of therapist cloning, large numbers of oocytes could put pressure on women to offer egg donations, which demeans acts of altruistic, (Tofoli et al., 2016). With this process, it is unclear how the new practice will change and influence women status in the community. In the case, women will be alienated from their reproductive labor process endangering their ova as a means of achieving the means. The donors in this perspective for the eggs could be the poor women among countries with less stringent regulations to curb exploitation thus raising critical moral concerns. Women from less developed countries will likely be exploited in this process since they don’t have active ethics committees or set guidelines, (Murano, 2018).


Key aspects make this research endeavor to be a challenge and controversial, with the fact that the production, use and intentional damage of cloned human embryos remain vague. In a determination of whether to use science or establish its limits remain unanswered. An assessment on evaluating the possible benefits of the research can justify the potential human costs. Other moral hazards for further digest entail address on the questions of development of embryos and experimented beyond the blastocyst stage, possible women exploitation, possible production of cloned human embryos to produce children and such research could weaken and undermine the human society in general and thus overall undermining human life. These myriad moral and ethical challenges signify the imminent struggle with this field of research.  

Thus, in essence, it is not morally permissible to use cloning techniques to create human embryos that are solely intended for research due to the underlying moral and ethical reasoning’s highlighted. There is a need for the preservation of human life and respect for human beings rather than exploitation and misuse through commercialization.

Embryo Cloning and the Use of Spare Embryos for Research


Banerjee, E. R. (2014). Ethics in stem cell research. In Perspectives in regenerative medicine (pp. 147-149). Springer, 

Caplan, A. L. (2018). Monkey see, Humans Won't Do—the misguided reaction to the first cloning of primates. EMBO reports, e45912.

de Wert, G. (2017). Human Cloning: The Case of the (Preimplantation) Embryo, an Ethical Exploration. In Assisted Conception: Research, Ethics and Law (pp. 83-97). Routledge.

Einsiedel, E., Premji, S., Geransar, R., Orton, N. C., Thavaratnam, T., & Bennett, L. K. (2009). Diversity in public views toward stem cell sources and policies. Stem Cell Reviews and Reports, 5(2), 102-107.

Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2016). Human somatic cell nuclear transfer and reproductive cloning: an Ethics Committee opinion. Fertility and sterility, 105(4), e1-e4.

Fagan, M. (2013). Philosophy of stem cell biology: Knowledge in flesh and blood. Palgrave Macmillan.

Hasan, T.(n.d) Human Embryonic Stem Cells Where To Draw The Line. Journal of Armed Forces Medical College, Bangladesh, 7(2), 40-43.

Hug, K. (2005). Sources of human embryos for stem cell research: ethical problems and their possible solutions. Medicina, 41(12), 1002-1010.

Lew, K. (2018). Human Cloning. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.

Masek, L. (2017). The Moral Status of Human Embryos and Other Possible Sources of Stem Cells. In Contemporary Controversies in Catholic Bioethics (pp. 331-343). Springer, Cham.

Menasche, P., Vanneaux, V., Fabreguettes, J. R., Bel, A., Tosca, L., Garcia, S., ... & Perier, M. C. (2014). Towards a clinical use of human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiac progenitors: a translational experience. European Heart Journal, 36(12), 743-750.

Murano, M. C. (2018). There has been a great deal of discussion about the ethical implications of donating sperm and of the ways in which donated tissue is presented, selected, and sold for use in assisted reproduction. Debates have emerged within the academic sphere, from donor offspring and recipients, and in broader popular culture, including questions about the commodification of human tissue and the eugenic potential... Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 21(2), 227-238.

Nisbet, M. C. (2004). Public opinion about stem cell research and human cloning. Public Opinion Quarterly, 68(1), 131-154.

Sãvinescu, S. D., Dãnilã, V., Trandafirescu, M., & Cãruntu, I. D. (2011). Correlations between morphology and evolution in the structure of the tooth germ. OHDM, 10(3), 143-51.

Schwartz, S. D., Regillo, C. D., Lam, B. L., Eliott, D., Rosenfeld, P. J., Gregori, N. Z., ... & Maguire, J. (2015). Human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium in patients with age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt's macular dystrophy: follow-up of two open-label phase 1/2 studies. The Lancet, 385(9967), 509-516.

Tamkins, T. (2004). South Koreans create human stem cell line using nuclear transfer. The Lancet, 363(9409), 623.

Tamkins, T. (2004). South Koreans create human stem cell line using nuclear transfer. The Lancet, 363(9409), 623.

Tofoli, F. A., Dasso, M., Morato-Marques, M., Nunes, K., Pereira, L. A., Da Silva, G. S., ... & Lotufo, P. A. (2016). Increasing The Genetic Admixture of Available Lines of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells. Scientific reports, 6, 34699.

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