Society and families deal with 'alternative' relationships between parents and children -- such as divorce and adoption -- in ways that have been legislated for the child's best interest. Assisted reproduction -- citing grounds of reproductive freedom -- is one area where the governing bodies have yet to take a stand for the rights of the child. According to Glenn McGee, PhD, Associate Director of Education for the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, nowhere is this fact more evident than in the discussion of cloning. At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Philadelphia, Dr. McGee will present his views on this issue and present standards for a regulatory model designed to ensure the welfare of a cloned child.
"The ethical issues of cloning may be reduced to two main concerns: safety and the meaning of genetic relationships in families," states McGee. "The first issue of safety is to protect the child from the special perils of birth through cloning." However, as concerns about physical safety are appeased, McGee has also concluded that there is significant evidence to suggest that cloning -- without the appropriate checks and balances in place -- may produce dangerous family relationships and bad outcomes for the cloned child as time goes on.
McGee proposes that, as the time approaches for the cloning of children, laws regulating the clinical use of cloning should be based on the model of existing laws that protect the welfare of the child, such as adoption and divorce laws.
Editor's note: Dr. McGee can be reached by calling (215) 898-3453 or by e-mail at: email@example.com