Stem Cell Research Within the past few years, scientist have made several breakthroughs with human stem cells. These breakthroughs have catapulted the issue of stem cell research into the middle of a national debate. Most people have no problem with the research itself, however the source of the stem cells (adult or human embryos) used in research is the primary cause of the debate. Some people feel that destroying an embryo is comparable to murder, even if the research it promotes may help people with serious illnesses.
Biomedical engineering has become a growing field over the past couple years. The new advances and research that stem from biomedical engineers can solve problems that would have never have been able to be solved before. Engineers have been working on new technology that will utilize stem cells in order to save lives and treat diseases. The stem cells that are used for treatment are called embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are formed from five-day old human embryos that the embryos are essentially human beings ("In Stem-cell Research” Para. 3). The usage of such stem cells has caused controversy because pro-life advocates believe lives are being taken away which embryonic stem cell usage. Despite the viewpoints of pro-life advocates who consider embryos to be a life form, the usage of stem cells for medical and scientific reasons is absolutely ethical. The advantages of stem cell usage such as their ability to save a human life, outweighs the opposing viewpoints of partisans against embryo usage.
While many support embryonic stem cell research, some people oppose it say that it is an unethical practice. According to these people, embryonic stem cells require murdering a baby, human life is defined by rational beings, those capable of rational thought or a consciousness. In order to be rational one must have a consciousness, the ability to have thoughts and feel pain, to begin with. “For a fertilized egg, there is no consciousness and also no history of consciousness” (Stem). If abortions are allowed within the United States, why shouldn’t embryonic stem cell research be? Another claim against embryonic stem cell research is that it devalues human lives. “Some argue that researching embryonic stem cells will lead us into cloning technology” (Embryonic). While embryonic cloning is a possibility, we already possess the capabilities to clone so cloning is an invalid argument. The final argument against embryonic stem cell research is that there are alternatives, like adult stem cells. While adult stem cells may be utilized, they won’t be as effective. Embryonic stem cells are not only efficient but also renewable. They can be grown in a culture where as adult stem cells are extremely rare, if there are any. They can only be found in mature tissue. Isolating these extremely rare cells is challenging and has a high failure rate if not harvested correctly. “One major difference between adult and embryonic stem cells is their different abilities in the number and type of differentiated cell types they can become” (Stem). Using adult stem cells we might never understand our development from conception ...
Stem cells are cells that have the ability to help thousands of people. These cells can help make dreams of finally getting rid of the wheelchair or bed become realities. They have the power to differentiate into any cell type, giving scientists hope that one day they can fix and repair organs damaged by disease or birth defects and help fight against diseases that impair a person’s quality of life. However, it is not the uses or benefits that can come out of using stem cells, but it is how scientists and researchers obtain the stem cells that have sparked debate over if it is ethical, moral, or legal to first acquire, and then use, the cells for human use and research. Stem cells can be obtained through a mother having an abortion, excess embryos through in vitro fertilization, or by saving the umbilical cord by freezing it and using it for future needs. The other controversial part of using embryos for stem cells is the idea that an embryo has the potential of becoming a human being and therefore should have a moral status the same as a person. These are the areas that mainly spark the debate over stem cells.
“How can the use of stem cells be so controversial?”, one may ask. If the stem cells are donated out of free will or were going to be destroyed anyway, how can putting them to better use be controversial? Sure, a potential life must be destroyed to save a life, but only before one can tell that it is a human. Should the use of stem cells for medical research and use be regulated? These questions and more will be discussed and pondered throughout this paper.
One of the most controversial topics these days is Stem Cell Research. There seems to be a split opinion among societies about the research and whether it is socially and morally acceptable. As a society, we need to open our minds to the possibility of broadening our scientific horizons with stem cell research, and take the time to learn and understand whatever we can about it.
When Marry Shelley says, “…how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge…” she is correct to an extent. A perfect example of this is stem cell research. It is amazing, stem cells can grow new organs, repair old ones, and cure conditions that were thought to be incurable before; however, at the current moment, the most convenient way to harvest stem cells is by harvesting the cells from an embryo, which is destroyed in the process. Although stem cells from embryos are the main focus right now, there are new alternatives that are being researched that will avoid the ethical issues with embryonic stem cells, which include stem cells from bone marrow, placentas, teeth, and umbilical cords.
When a patient is faced with a terminal illness or is told that they will never walk again, it may be difficult to find hope of any kind. Stem Cells provide a faint glimmer of hope, with all the amazing things they, in theory, are able to do and cure. What kind of stem cells are we talking about though? Embryonic, Adult, or Cord Blood? All these possess the ability to replicate themselves as well as become any type of cell (Harvard Gazette). As with any incredible feat there is more often than not a “catch.” Many questions arise when we think about the sacrifices, risks and benefits. It is a matter of where we owe our obligations, to the embryo or to the thousands of people who are suffering and dying with incurable diseases. A diverse range of arguments stretch from the scientific aspects to the religious laws. The controversy will continue as this analysis essay unfolds. Should we allow Scientists sacrifice a life for the extraordinary possibilities that are promised to come with the research of Embryonic Stem Cells?
Stem cell research is the study of stem cells, which are cells that divide indefinitely, without being altered, and that can differentiate into any of the cells of the body, such as liver cells, skin cells, and muscle cells, to fulfill specific roles. Paul Knoepfler defined stem cells in his book, Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide, as “A true stem cell has both potency and self-renewal” (Knoepfler 3). There are many parts in the human body where stem cells can be derived from and these include, bone marrow, fat cells, olfactory nerve endings, skin cells, and the other, more commonly-known, places such as adult blood, umbilical cord blood, and human embryo. These cells can be obtained, saved, and used for later as well. There have been great controversies regarding where stem cells are derived from; while some places are considered fine, others are considered highly immoral and inhumane.