Therapeutic Cloning

Should a women's embryo be used to benefit a disability?

What is Therapeutic Cloning?

Cloning... When you hear that word what do you think of? Cloning is not the technique of just duplicating yourself, but it is an identical copy of an animal or plant that was produced from the genetic material of a single organism. The two types of cloning are reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning. Therapeutic cloning is where a fertilized egg becomes an embryo that contains stem cells. The stem cells are undifferentiated and can become any cell needed. These stem cells are the goal for this process, and these undifferentiated cells are used to heal diseases and and replace dead cells. The result of this process causes controversy. Questions arise between ethical reasons of life and death. Does the benefits of therapeutic cloning overrule the cons and the ethical reasons of life and death?

Therapeutic Cloning Process

How does therapeutic cloning work?

Therapeutic cloning is another phase of a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)

  • A scientist extracts the nucleus from an egg.
  • The nucleus holds the genetic material for a human or laboratory animal.
  • The scientist then takes a somatic cell, which is any body cell other than an egg or sperm, and also extract the nucleus from this cell.

In most human transplants , the somatic cell would be taken from a patient who requires a stem cell transplant to treat a health condition or disease.

  • The nucleus that is extracted from the somatic cell in the patient is then inserted into the egg, which had its nucleus previously removed.
  • In a very basic sense, it's a procedure of substitution. The egg now contains the patient's genetic material, or instructions.
  • It is stimulated to divide and shortly thereafter forms a cluster of cells known as a blastocyst.
Obtaining human embryonic stem cells thru' therapeutic cloning [video infographic]

What is a blastocyst and an embryo? How are the terms related to a human egg? What does it have to do with stem cells?


  • Newest organism at earliest stage of development
  • AKA "fertilized egg"
  • 5 stages
  • Has both an outer and inner layer of cells
  • Inner layer (inner cell mass) is rich in stem cells
  • The cells in the inner cell mass are isolated and then utilized to create embryonic stem cell lines, which are infused into the patient where they are ideally integrated into the tissues, imparting structure and function as needed.
  • "a mammalian blastula in which some differentiation of cells has occurred".

Sources of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines

There are three main sources of human embryonic stem cell lines:

  1. Existing cell lines
  2. Spare embryos from fertility treatments
  3. Custom-made embryos created by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), the technique used to create the sheep, Dolly


These are some of the benefits that include with therapeutic cloning:

  • The stem cells that are extracted are pluripotent cells which can treat diseases by replacing damaged cells.
  • Therapeutic cloning reduces the rejection rate of organ transplant due to new organs created from patient's cells.
  • Therapeutic cloning can create more jobs.
  • No organ donors or surgery are needed from the second party.
  • Organs would match the patient's exact DNA.
  • No organ or tissue rejection- the immune system of the patient would not react to the new organs or tissue.


These are some of the disadvantages that include with therapeutic cloning:

  • The amount of usable stem cells in an embryo are limited.
  • Some stem cells can mutate and cause tumors in patients.
  • When curing diseases, millions of eggs are needed that are not available.
  • Ethical reason- against "God's rules" life and death to consider.
  • Extraction of eggs are costly and painful
  • Therapeutic cloning is very costly for research
  • Some cells have defects and die and as a result are not beneficial.


Based on my research, I believe that a woman's embryo should be used to cure a disability. I think that this topic should be concluded as a beneficial process because most of the pros are overruled by the cons of this topic. For example, the pluripotent cells of the stem cells can cure disease by replacing damaged cells. The curing of these diseases and disabilities may go against the ethical/religious reasons of life and death, but may give a relief to the people that have a burden of taking care of a disabled person or the loss of a loved one. Since the amount of stem cells needed, the sources of the embryonic stem cells can vary. Some possible sources are: umbilical cord stem cells, and embryos that are unwanted. Even though the extraction of the embryo from a woman is painful and costly, if the embryo is undesired it could be used for causes that would benefit many.


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