Organ Farming

It came up in class that the idea of cloning entire humans for the purpose of farming organs would be prohibitively expensive in all ways. It would take greater time and space while requiring additional cost of maintenance, and ethical problems could be raised. This last truly seems to be the greatest impediment: our society, particularly Americans but also global liberalism, favors individual determinism and liberty in such a way that the idea of raising whole people to be clones. That future seems unlikely, though the aversion we have to the idea makes it good fodder for the media.

A more likely future involves cloning individual organs from an early age and keeping them in storage somehow until they are needed. Though this, too, seems prohibitively expensive, it allows for greater flexibility and less waste. Parents, or individuals, can choose specific organs to clone if they feel there is some higher risk in them than others. This is also a service which could more easily and ethically be in the hands of the private sector (which everyone loves, since we’re all about the free-market).

However, this, too, has a dark side. Although there is little to no ethical grey area for the donor/recipient, a black market for organs could emerge. This would especially be the case if ownership of the cloned organs were disputed. We’ve seen how genes can be patented, and we all seem to feel at least a little uncomfortable about that. Additionally, there are concerns over who owns your genetic code if you get it sequenced. Similarly, who owns the organs when they are being grown? Does ownership change if such an organ is “installed” in your body? If the corporation growing the organ has full rights to the organ, then what is to stop them from selling other clones of your organs to the highest bidder? Even if an individual retains ownership, what’s to stop them from cloning their own organs and selling them themselves?

Ultimately, the option of cloning specific organs, rather than entire human beings, seems a better option. However, it would require careful government regulation and oversight to keep its moral clarity.

Logan

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~ by loganweaver on February 15, 2010.

One Response to “Organ Farming”

  1. Where are we going to keep these organs in storage? I don’t think cloning “in case” organs is economically sound. Also, what if someone needs an organ (who can’t afford/didn’t clone their organs)? Would they be allowed to die if when we would presumably have a surplus of cloned organs?

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