Does the Minnesota Medical Association Support Human Cloning?

Bioethics   |   David Prentice   |   Mar 21, 2011   |   7:15PM   |   St. Paul, MN

The short answer is yes. But the real question is what they support doing with cloned human embryos.

They apparently support creating cloned human embryos, using the cloning technique of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) to create the cloned embryos. This is the cloning technique that was used to create Dolly the cloned sheep. In that case, the cloned sheep embryo was gestated to birth. Some term this use of cloned embryos as “reproductive cloning”.

When the cloned embryos are disaggregated to pluck out their stem cells, some term this use of cloned embryos as “therapeutic cloning” (even though it is obviously not therapeutic for the embryos, and there are no therapies from this technique).

So, does the Minnesota Medical Association support the idea of gestating human clones to birth? That’s what their press release a few days ago suggested. But their 2010 policy book states that while MMA supports cloning human embryos for experiments, MMA opposes gestating cloned human embryos to birth (see item 560.13).

So which is it? Perhaps they could clarify their position on cloning.

Shortly after this was posted at 11 am EDT on 21 March 2011, the MMA updated their press release with a correction, noting that MMA supports cloning of human embryos for experiments, and opposes gestating cloned human embryos to birth.