What about failed cloning experiments?
One has to do with the question of failed experiments. It took 277 attempts to produce Dolly, and apparently Dolly is normal. But among the failed attempts, there were several sheep born that were profoundly malformed and had major birth defects. Now, it's easy to say, when you have a sheep, a baby lamb born with malformations or genetic or other defects, it's easy to say let's just get rid of that. But if this were done on a human population, what would we do with the failed experiments if it took 277 to produce one success?
We are, as a state, and maybe even as a country, cutting back on institutional services for the disabled. I take medical students each year to Agnew's Developmental Center in San Jose(California) because I want them to see that small segment of Agnew's population that is there because of the so-called "successes" of medicine. And it alarms me every time I go because Agnew's is shrinking. They've now stopped admitting new patients. That is to say, many of those with profound developmental disabilities or delays or deficits are no longer eligible for state support. Their parents have to make private arrangements. So what would we do with the failures?
The technological imperative
But the advanced reproductive technologies are really moving forward and I worry about that because of the old religious notion that there's a difference between procreation and reproduction. Yes, procreation and reproduction. There is a difference. Procreation is a uniquely human process. Reproduction is sort of a technological process. And I worry that the line between reproduction and procreation is going to be even further blurred.