Sankar Jayanarayanan kartik at ENG.AUBURN.EDU
Wed Mar 19 13:43:27 CST 1997

Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU> wrote:

> On Mon, 17 Mar 1997, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> [..]
> > I'd have to agree.  From what I've read of the cloning process, I don't
> > see how this is any different from donating blood or even a kidney.  If
> > the person you donate blood to goes off and commits crimes you can hardly
> > be held responsible can you?  In this case you have donated a whole body.
> Would you consider the action of having a child through your wife similar
> to donating blood or a kidney? I think there is a huge difference. In
> donating a kidney or blood, your donation is for the benefit of a
> pre-existent body. In having a child, you are creating a new body, in some
> sense. The same distinction holds for a possible clone of yours. You have
> donated genetic material, but you have not donated the whole body. The
> resultant pseudo-foetus still has to develop into a biological human
> being, and that body has to come, just like any other child, from food.
> According to your line of argument, if you have a child through regular
> sexual intercourse, all you have done is donate semen, and you have no
> further connection to the human being that is your child. And if you are
> going to have a child, aren't you responsible for its well-being till the
> child reaches majority? How is the situation with respect to a clone any
> different? Isn't all this vastly different from simply transplanting an
> organ into another body?

What are the ethical implications on artificial insemination through
semen-donation? Suppose a man donates his semen to a woman whom he has never
met, and a baby is born to the woman, is the man duty-bound to bring up the
child like a father? I have no views on the subject of ethics in cloning or
artificial insemination and would like to know if the two issues are related
in any way. Thanks.

This is a much more common occurrence: there are people who bring up others
children as their own (e.g. Karna was the son of Kunti, but grew up in the
house of a charioteer, and Sita was "born of the earth" but was brought up by
king Janaka). Who exactly is the "real" parent: one who is genetically the
parent, or the one who looks after the child? Sita is often called Jaanakii,
but Karna never publicly acknowledged Kunti to be his mother. (These cases may
or may not include child adoption).


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