Fertility doctor denounced for claims of human cloning
First Octomom and now this. I get the impression there are fertility specialists out to ruin the reputation of IVF for the rest of us. In the case of octomom, there is some question as to how the patient was counselled. We focus on high success with least risk as possible. It is unfortunate that a few others aspire to something other than their patient’s best interests. It is very difficulty for a fertility specialist to deal with patients who insist on using up all their embryos in one attempt. We share with the patient a desire not to discard embryos but retain responsibility for not allowing for potentially dangerous outcomes.
Cloning is an ethical dilemma yet to be solved by society. Until then we do not participate in cloning since we are unsure whether to do so is ethically sound. Benefits of modified forms of cloning have been proposed. Multiplying high quality embryos in patients would theoretically increase their success rates. Women who had poor quality eggs (cytoplasm) could have their nuclei transplanted into the egg of a healthy young woman. Again, theoretically, this can improve success rates. Another proposed clinical use is to produce tissue for transplantation say in a child with cancer who requires chemotherapy.
The form of cloning that usually comes to mind however, is the creation of an identical being whether it be to replace a loved lost child or in our common vernacular a “minime”. It is this possible use of the technology that causes almost universal disdain in our society. We have yet to figure out whether there is a place for any of the aforementioned forms of cloning that is potentially more palatable.
IVF, is a clinically useful form of technology that is allowing for greater than 40,000 more babies to be born each year who may otherwise never have been given life. But, as with all technology there are risks and potential downsides that need to be considered. Today, cloning as well as high ordered multiple embryo transfers moves the IVF technology beyond our comfort zone with our assessment of the potential risks and downsides. Let us not distort the relative benefit vs. risk of IVF technology by wrongfully applying it to cloning or high order multiple embryo transfer.