To Be, Be, Be...Not Just to Be: Legal and Social Implications of Cloning for Human Reproduction

Ronald Chester

New England Law | Boston

Florida Law Review, Vol. 49, P. 303, 1997

In this article, Professor Chester first discusses the science of human full-body cloning and how the the technique could be used as a form of assisted reproduction. He then moves to problems of parentage, raising issues and attempting to draw conclusions about whose child the clone would be in cases where the cloned individual's spouse or partner does or does not consent to the cloning. He then addresses questions of surrogacy that arise when a male cloning himself cannot find a partner willing to carry the clone.

In exploring these and related issues, Professor Chester argues that the same guiding principles of parental support and responsibility for offspring that he developed in his discussion of traditional reproductive technologies (see his article on posthumous conception at 33 Houston L. Rev. 967 (1996)) should be used for human whole-body cloning. This assumes that, in time, such cloning will become simply one more method of addressing human infertility - one not sufficiently different from existing technologies to require significantly different treatment by law and society.

To be able to make such an assumption, Chester must, and does, attempt to show that much of the public outcry against the procedure is unwarranted. Many institutions, including the United States government, reacted to the cloning success with sheep by banning research on human whole-body cloning. Then many cries were heard demanding a ban on the procedure itself. Thus a real political problem has developed. Even if public fear subsides somewhat, Chester shows that practical problems remain in getting the organs of the state to regulate the technique and do so effectively. To demonstrate the difficulties involved, one only need look at the reluctance of government at both the state and federal levels to promulgate adequate regulation of even the most accepted of existing reproductive technologies.

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Date posted: July 26, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Chester, Ronald, To Be, Be, Be...Not Just to Be: Legal and Social Implications of Cloning for Human Reproduction. Florida Law Review, Vol. 49, P. 303, 1997. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=235873

Contact Information

Ronald Chester (Contact Author)
New England Law | Boston ( email )
154 Stuart St.
Boston, MA 02116
United States
617-422-7254 (Phone)
617-422-7453 (Fax)

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