South Korean Human Cloning Researchers Will Stop Using Human Eggs

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 1, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Korean Human Cloning Researchers Will Stop Using Human Eggs

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 1, 2004

Seoul, South Korea ( — South Korean scientists, in the wake of an international outcry after they announced they successfully extracted stem cells from human embryos, have said they will stop cloning with human eggs due to ethical concerns.

The Seoul National University professors made the announcement in a press conference Wednesday night after arriving back in South Korea from a conference in Seattle.

"We tentatively stopped cloning with human eggs. We will resume such studies only after receiving international opinions and the views of the Korean government and people,’’ Professor Hwang Woo-suk, said.

"If we don’t stick to human eggs, we think there will be fewer moral disputes. So, we will use alternative sources and to that end, we will seek international cooperation,’’ Hwang told the South Korean Times.

When the scientists made their original cloning announcement, it drew concern from pro-life groups.

"This is creating new human life solely to destroy it, and in an especially wasteful way," said Richard Doerflinger, a leading bioethicist with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Doerflinger said he was disappointed that many unborn children were killed to advance science.

Other pro-life advocates said the destruction of life to benefit embryonic stem cell research makes no sense in light of the failures of such research and the successes in the use of adult stem cells.

David Stevens, M.D., director of the Christian Medical Association, said "we know from animal cloning that the technical problems and dangers associated with cloning will never produce therapies that these researchers speculate could be applied to human beings. Meanwhile, adult stem cells are generating real therapies for real patients."

Others have claimed to have success with creating a human clone for use in research, including an infamous Kentucky fertility doctor and a Massachusetts biotech firm, but the scientific community and general public have generally regarded their claims as false since no evidence has been provided.