Could clones work as health insurance?

I'm writing a dystopic science-fiction story in which human cloning is an active practice within the field of medicine, as it is used as a form of health insurance. While the poor can't afford clones, middle class citizens often choose to raise a single child and their clone, while wealthier citizens may have several children with multiple clones. In the event that the original child needs an organ transplant, the cloned child is expected to sacrifice their lives, becoming a donor for their original. In this way, life expectancy is extended, and regular illnesses have been practically eliminated (diabetes can be cured by a new pancreas, heart disease by a new heart, leukemia by a new kidney).

Now, obvious morals aside, could this possibly work in real life? I don't see it being too impossible in the near future. If you can imagine that the science of cloning has been perfected, then it seems logical that people might have stock-organs pre-grown as backups in case their own organs stop working. It isn't too far to imagine that entire bodies might already be grown alongside them just in case.

Now, of course this probably wouldn't happen in real life, as it would be unimaginably cruel to the clone. But keep in mind that my story features a dystopia, would you? I just want to know the whether the science of it could possibly work in real. Would having cloned organs available for transplant 24/7 benefit society?

3 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    As Bob B pointed out, your book has already been made into a movie The Island staring Ewan McGregor.

    Ignoring the moral problems, the answer is a bit yes and no.

    If you abuse your body and destroy "stuff", have an accident or are just dieing of old age then "yes" but, if you are going to die due to a genetic defect, your clone will have the same defect and could be similarly short lived and defective. If you can cure that defect in the clone, then your parents would have already cured it in you before birth.

    You need to consider which will come first, solutions to old age and genetic defects or cloning.

  • Bob B
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    There was a movie a few years ago that was based on more or less exactly that concept- it was called "The Island" if I remember correctly.

    The science behind it is more or less valid, as cloned organs would be a viable source of organs for tranplants. It would, however, only work on diseases that could actually be cured with transplants; a lot of diseases can't be. It also wouldn't work against diseases that were based on a genetic problem in the original person, as the clone would have the same problems. But yes, for diseases that need a transplant to cure, this would work fine.

    The only other real "scientific" flaw is that right now, there is a huge amount of research underway into using stem cells and similar technologies to grow individual replacement organs. If this technology is perfected, it would make little sense to go ahead and clone an entire person just for the one organ.

    Only one other point- leukemia is treated with bone marrow transplants, not kidney transplants (assuming other treatments didn't work).

  • 7 years ago

    This is a really interesting subject. Yes it could work as long as in the future the cloning process would be perfected. From the documentaries I have watched about cloning it seems that the resultant clones have deficiencies such as mutations which can appear only later in their lives; and eventually they die prematurely. I imagine in the future the society will perfect the science of stem cells an will continue to grow organs at a higher rate. This will definitely be beneficial.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.