Chapter 7.D.5 (or 5.D.5) -- Cloning

 

The cloning debate continues to attract world wide attention.  Despite unanimous support for a treaty to ban human cloning for reproduction in the General Assembly, the treaty effort failed due to disagreements about whether and how to ban cloning for research purposes and therapeutic cloning. Instead, the United States agreed to a compromise declaration against human reproductive cloning.  Warren Hoge, U.S. Drops Effort for Treaty Banning Cloning, New York Times, November 20, 2004, at A3, col. 1.  The final declaration adopted by the General Assembly on March 8, 2005 urged nations to ban human cloning in terms broad enough to encompass both reproductive and therapeutic cloning. Compliance with the declaration is voluntary; the declaration sparked sharp debate and “no” votes from countries choosing to regulate rather than to ban therapeutic human cloning.  United Nations Declaration on Human Cloning at

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/ga10333.doc.htm (last visited July 20, 2006).

 

Notes: Human Reproductive Cloning

 

Note 2. The Ethics of Cloning

 

Carson Strong, The Ethics of Human Reproductive Cloning, Reproductive BioMedicine Online Vol. 10. Supp. 1 2005 45-49, available at: http://www.rbmonline.com/4DCGI/Article/Detail?38%091%09 =%201578%09 (last visited July 20, 2006). 

 

Note 3. Commentaries

 

For a recent update including a medical/scientific perspective see Rudolf Jaenisch,  Human Cloning – the Science and Ethics of Nuclear Transplantation,  N. Eng. J. Med. 351:27 2786 (2004);  Ronald Chester, Cloning Embryos from Adult Human Beings: the Relative Merits of Reproductive, Research and Therapeutic Uses, 39 New Eng. L. Rev. 583 (2004-2005). 

 

New Note 4.  Legislation

 

The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks cloning legislation. For a summary, see http://204.131.235.67/programs/health/genetics/rt-shcl.htm (last visited July 20, 2006).

 

New Note 5. International Update

 

Several countries have enacted comprehensive legislation designed to address assisted reproductive technologies, embryo research, and cloning.  Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits: germline engineering; the creation of chimeras; human reproductive cloning; sex selection unless it is being used to treat or prevent a sex-linked disease; creation of human embryos solely for research; and payment of surrogates or payment for gametes. http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/A-13.4/ (last visited July 20, 2006). The UK has had legislation in place since 1990. The Human Fertilization and Embryology Act creates the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority whose responsibilities include licensing ART clinics, gamete and embryo storage facilities, and licensing and monitoring human embryo research.  The act prohibits keeping embryos older than 14 days, putting a human embryo into an animal, somatic cell nuclear transfer and genetic alteration while a cell is part of an embryo.  The Authority is also opposed to human cloning.  As well it defines the rights of donors, patients and children that may arise because of the Act.  See www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1990/Ukpga_19900037_en_1.htm (last visited July 20, 2006).

 

Australia has two separate acts to deal with stem cell research and cloning: Prohibition of Human Cloning 2002 (http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/_files/prohibit.pdf ) (last visited July 20, 2006) and the Research Involving Human Embryos Act 2002 (http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/_files/embryact.pdf) (last visited July 20, 2006). The Prohibition of Human Cloning prohibits: human cloning; creating an embryo for a purpose other than for achieving pregnancy; creating an embryo with more than two genetic donors; keeping an embryo alive for more than 14 days; using cells from a human embryo to create another human embryo; create heritable alterations to the genome; chimeras; commercial trading in human eggs, sperm or embryos.  The Research Involving Human Embryos Act regulates certain uses of excess ART embryos.  The National Health and Medical Research Council Licensing Committee licenses the use of the excess ART embryos and monitors compliance. The licensed uses are research, training in ART techniques and quality assurance procedures.