It is worth noting that a woman may choose to undergo egg retrieval for her own reproductive purposes, which would effectively take the process of egg procurement out of the research arena and avoid the question of payment entirely. (For example, this could be an option for a woman seeking IVF because her fallopian tubes are blocked).
Types of Restrictions. One final set of arguments center around the types of actions that the government may take with respect to therapeutic and/or reproductive cloning. These include permitting, regulating, funding, discouraging, and temporarily or permanently banning the practices. As a starting point, NBAC offers: “In the United States, governmental policies that prohibit or regulate human actions require justification because of a general presumption against governmental interference in individual activities.”98 As may be expected, the opinions regarding appropriate courses of action are largely linked to points of view about the appropriateness of the various endeavors.
The most permissive approach available, permitting cloning with no restrictions, is not supported by any of the individuals or organizations referenced herein. By contrast, the next most permissive approach, regulating cloning, is supported by the Council minority, NBAC, Nancy Reagan, Gerald Ford, and the Nobel Laureates as appropriate for therapeutic cloning, so as to enable it to continue in accordance with socially accepted scientific research practices. As summarized by the Council minority, “We believe that this research could provide relief to millions of Americans, and that the government should therefore support is, within sensible limits imposed by regulation.” 99
A voluntaryprohibition, the third most permissive approach, was recommended by NBAC as the appropriate immediate response to reproductive cloning by the private sector. NBAC called for “an immediate request to all firms, clinicians, investigators, and professional societies in the private and non-federally funded sectors to comply voluntarily with the intent of the federal moratorium.” 100
As a longer term approach, NBAC recommended the fourth most permissive approach, a temporary ban on reproductive cloning. “Federal legislation [should] be enacted to prohibit anyone from attempting, whether in a research or clinical setting, to create a child through somatic cell nuclear transfer. It is critical, however, that such legislation include a sunset clause to ensure that Congress will review the issue after a specified time period (three to five years) in order to decide whether the
prohibition continues to be needed.”
Readers may be interested to note that, if
enacted in 1997 when NBAC’s report was published, a five-year ban on reproductive cloning would have expired in 2002. The National Academies also recommended a ban on reproductive cloning, and did not call it temporary but did add that it should be reconsidered every five years. On the topic of therapeutic rather than reproductive
98 National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning Human Beings, June 1997, p. 78. President’s Council, Human Cloning, p. xxxviii. National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning Human Beings, June 1997, p. 105. Ibid. 99 100 101