Patenting Human Life

Date: 05/20/2002

According to the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), the U. S. Patent Office has already issued a patent on cloning that would include the cloning of humans. In addition, the patent also gives the holder full rights over “cloned products” — which means the live human embryo produced by cloning, as well as any human fetus or human child which may be produced by cloning. Another pending patent application, by a group of Massachusetts-based researchers, would allow the researchers to use tissue from cloned embryos, fetuses and offspring “including human and ungulate tissues” and to own the patent rights to the “progeny of the [cloned] offspring.”

By giving the holder rights over cloned products, researchers could allow the embryo created by cloning to develop further, into the fetal stage and beyond, for use in research.

These patents and patent applications show that cloning advocates are already well on the path to turning human life itself into a mere commercial commodity. As ICTA Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell says, “it is horrendous that we would define all of human life as biological machines that can be cloned, manufactured and patented.”