The Case for Human Reproductive Cloning

Canadian Speeches, November-December 2002 | Go to article overview
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The Case for Human Reproductive Cloning


The rationale of banning reproductive technology on safety grounds is said to be as illogical as banning all other forms of assisted reproductive technology, or even conventional sexual reproduction where the risk of abnormalities is 3%. Arguments of immorality and high risks are said to be no more valid than when they were applied against in virtro fertilization 24 years ago. Banning reproductive cloning won't stop it, it is argued, but move it underground or to countries where it's legal. A scientist promises not to practice reproductive cloning until it's as safe as other forms of birth, but vows to continue research to make it acceptably safe. Testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, May 15,2002.

I am a reproductive specialist and scientist and have dedicated the last 24 years of my life in helping infertile couples have children and complete their biological cycle. In January 2001. we announced the possibility of using reproductive regeneration technologies as a means of treating infertility, and our intention to develop these technologies in a safe and responsible manner. However, we have received great opposition from fellow scientists, news media and the general public. It seems that the great opposition is due to the lack of complete understanding and comprehension of what in actuality human cloning really is all about. The British Medical Association however, has so appropriately stated:

"Public hostility to human reproductive cloning may be based on an illogical transient fear of a new technology." Much of the confusion is caused by the variance in opinions coming from different scientific sources, politicians, news media and Hollywood. Due to the limited knowledge of these technological and medical procedures in the scientific community, we have organized, hosted and attended meetings involving scientists from all over the world to discuss and debate the issues of human reproductive regeneration We have even presented our intentions before the Congress of the United States last year.

Infertility affects approximately 10 to l5% of couples of reproductive age throughout the developed world. Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) have played a major role in treating various causes of infertility. In fact, about 65% of the couples who seek medical help will eventually succeed in having a child. However, in cases where there are no sperm or eggs present (possibly due to loss of testicular or ovarian function), the only options these couples face are sperm donation, oocyte donation or adoption. These are difficult choices for couples to make and many do not want to use sperm or egg sources other than their own or do not wish to consider adoption. Reproductive regeneration (RR), which is synonymous to reproductive cloning, can therefore play a very real role in the treatment of severe male or female infertility in couples that wish to have their own biological children.

After a lot of time, money and suffering, many of the infertile couples have been able to have children using present IVF techniques. Personally, it has given me great satisfaction to assist them in the creation of their own families. However, some of these infertile couples have not been able to experience the joy of creating their own families because the present technologies are not advanced enough to help them. For them, human reproductive cloning is the only way they can have their own children. As a reproductive specialist and a scientist who cares about their plight, I am trying to develop safe techniques of human cloning so they can have the healthy babies they want. Mr. Chairman, am I wrong in wanting to help couples become parents?

If you care about these unfortunate infertile couples, why are you considering legislation that would make both them and the people that are trying to help them, criminals?

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