- HUMAN CLONING WILL TRANSFORM FAMILY LIFE AND CREATE NEW FORMS OF SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS.
- HUMAN CLONING WILL GREATLY INCREASE MEDICINE’S CURATIVE POWERS.
- HUMAN CLONING WILL MAKE EVERY INDIVIDUAL FERTILE AND INCREASE THEIR REPRODUCTIVE OPTIONS REGARDLESS OF MARITAL STATUS.
- HUMAN CLONING WILL FORCE ALL RELIGIONS TO REDEFINE FAMILY, LIFE, PARENTHOOD AND EVEN IMMORTALITY.
Let’s begin by briefly examining who will use the new reproductive cloning technology, how it will transform family life and create new forms of social relationships.
Traditional married couples, one of whose family medical history is riddled with schizophrenia, lupus, diabetes or another inheritable disease may choose to conceive their children through cloning the healthier mate.
Cloning will also allow every infertile couple, single female or male with parenting impulses to have children without involving the genes of a stranger. Any such child would be a later born twin of the individual or spouse cloned.
A son or daughter who is one parent’s later-born identical twin would probably share a special compatibility with the parent cloned. The other spouse would likely find those genetically based traits shared by both the child and his/her spouse most agreeable.
Lesbian couples could share parenting. Each could bear her mate’s later-born twin. Each resulting child would be both the physical daughter of one and the later-born twin of the other.
Single males and male homosexual couples, some of whom harbor intense parenting urges, could–with much greater difficulty and expense–have later-born twin sons using paid egg donors and surrogate mothers.
Women, many of whom choose to be single parents, could have their own eggs fertilized by insertion of one of their own cells and thereby bear daughters who likewise be later-born identical twins.
The resulting close and understanding relationship between them could be particularly binding. A daughter-mother twin might find traditional heterosexual courtship unappealing compared to life with mother.
She might decide to continue living at home with mom, bear a third generation twin through cloning and share rearing with her mother. Such shared parenting is common among single parents and those who have divorced.
The only difference would be that, for the first time in human mammalian history, we’d actually have three generations constituting same sex families.
Multiple cloning, which is still a “politically incorrect” minefield even among those few enlightened voices speaking up for human cloning, will occur. However, they will be infrequent.
The fertility clinic in California which offered Nobel Laureate sperm donors found that very few people were interested.
Human beings want “their own children” – children genetically related to themselves. This preference is so strong that infertile couples spend thousands of dollars per try, sometimes squandering a hundred thousand dollars financing IVF and other efforts that ultimately help only one out of four couples regardless of the number of repeated attempts and expenses involved.
Today’s popularized science fiction fantasy foresees mad dictators enslaving hundreds or thousands of unwilling female subjects to bear later-born twins of himself–or an army of supermen. “Real life” scenarios will be both more humane and democratic.
The closest example of an acceptable (almost popular) circumstance validating human cloning today involves replacing a lost child through cloning a later-born twin. In my opinion, this is one of a very few extreme circumstances where cloning opponents hypothesized fears that “compromised identity problems” would plague “any” child conceived through cloning might actually be applicable.
Some parents may be so pleased with one child, and unhappy with their other(s), they might chose to have one or more later-born twins of their favorite.
Multiple cloning might occur on a larger scale, producing a dozen or a hundred later-born twins of a widely admired genius like Albert Einstein or Bertrand Russell, a talented musician like Beethoven or John Lennon, a creative master of writing or cinema like Vladimir Nabokov or Steven Spielberg.
Cloning technology could be abused by cultists like Waco’s Branch Davidian leader David Koresh. Koresh forbade all sex, even between married couples, in his 150 member compound.
All female members, including 13-year-old virgins, were only allowed to have sexual intercourse with Koresh. Many of the children consumed in flames with him were sired by him.
Multiple cloning, something I alone among today’s cloning champions advocate, would create interesting and positive new relationships in our social culture.
Ten, twenty or a hundred identical twins, each a unique individual human being—some just infants, others still teenagers and some mature adults—would all share the same genotype.
Genetics, while not the sole definer of individual personality and physical health, has been found to shape color preferences, traits (shyness currently being the most recognized ‘inheritable’ one) as well as verbal, intellectual and artistic abilities.
Multiple twins, despite their disparate nurturing and experiential backgrounds, would share a special ability to understand one another and a greatly enhanced capacity to communicate with one another.
They would comprise a type of “genetic family clan.” Even if they were scattered across the continent, even around the globe, they would seek each other out. Quite possibly some groups would have an annual clan-family get together.
Should one of the clan twins become orphaned through the tragic loss of the adult parents, their clan-family would be an invaluable resource for adoption and support.
Each of the four statements listed under “HUMAN CLONING: A PROMISING CORNUCOPIA’ deserve book length exploration. This brief focus on how “human cloning will transform family life and create new forms of social relationships” speaks for itself. Stay tuned for provocative examinations of the next three points.
( To be continued)
(c) Copyright 5/15/1999 by Randolfe H. Wicker, all rights reserved.