Animal cloning is a relatively new development in science; going back to the first cloned animal, a sheep named Dolly in 1996. Cloning of dogs and cats only began in 2015 at a university in South Korea and has only been available to the public for a few years.
It is a very meticulous and intensive process requiring specific facilities and equipment and so there are only a handful of companies worldwide offering this service and even fewer in the US alone.
This article discusses the cost to clone a dog and other animals, as well as the processes and ethical issues involved that should be taken into consideration before ordering the service.
The Price of Pet Cloning
Cloning your dogs involves harvesting cells from the animal while they are still alive. These cells are then placed inside a viable animal to gestate before being born.
The clone will be a genetic copy of your previous animal. However, you should keep in mind that their personality will be shaped not only by their DNA but by their surroundings and experiences growing up, so they will not be exactly the same as the animal their cells came from.
But how much exactly does pet cloning cost?
Korean corporation Sooam Biotech Research Foundation which pioneered the process charges $100,000 for the service. Initially, its aim was to clone only endangered species like the Ethiopian wolf.
On the other hand, American companies typically offer the dog cloning operation for $50,000. The two are the most globally competitive dog cloning industries where the former emphasizes scientific data and raw details, while the latter is more on an emotional connection with the pet.
As for cats, it is much cheaper at $25,000.
The Breakdown of Fees
- Biopsy Kit
The first step in dog cloning, according to American Veterinarian, is genetic preservation. This all begins when the client orders a sample of the biopsy kit via the internet with all the tools and instructions to follow.
Inclusive of all the tools like ice packs, vials, and instructions inside the styrofoam box, the kit is priced at $1,600.
- Veterinary Service
The owner simply needs to send in a sample of their animal’s cell which is done through a biopsy kit provided by the company or the one you purchased online. A biopsy can be performed by your local veterinarian; likely at the cost of around $100 to $200.
They will extract a small amount of quality tissue while your animal is under anesthesia which can then be sent to the company. The cells must be sent via next day air in order to preserve their quality, so keep shipping costs in mind as this can cost $100 in itself.
- Biopsy Recovery
If the samples were taken from your dog while it’s still alive, then it still has to undergo recovery through staying longer (boarding) in the hospital. This costs $30 a night and pain relievers range from less than a dollar per capsule to around $60 per bottle.
- Tissue Storage and Preservation
Once the company approves that the cells supplied are viable, they can be stored for up to several years. The cells are cultured in order to test the viability and if they are not usable, they will ask for a new sample.
Storing your pet’s cells costs about $100 to $300 per year, depending on the company as well as their current available storage capacity.
For example, My Friend Again charges owners at $100 to $300 each year. However, PerPETuate offers storage at an initial price of $500 and $100 for the next years to come.
- Pet Cloning Process
Once you are ready for the cloning process to begin, it takes about 6 months before the animal is born. Once born, the puppies are also allowed to be nursed by the surrogate mother and be given any required medical care, including vaccinations.
This is all included in the cost to clone a dog. Once they are 2 months old, they are then ready to go home and can be transported to you wherever you live.
ViaGen and My Friend Again, two US companies offering pet cloning services, both charge $50,000 to clone a dog. This is regardless of breed, sex, and other attributes.
- Claiming Your New Pal
If you had your pet cloned in Korea as most pet guardians prefer, then that means you will also have to cover for plane tickets and hotel rooms.
The cost to fly to South Korea depends on where you’re coming from. For instance, a ticket from LAX to Seoul Incheon International and back ranges from $400 to over $700.
You will also need a place to stay; preferably in Guro-gu, Seoul where Sooam is located. Pet-friendly hotels in this place range from as low as $20 to over $200 a night.