Stem cell the new frontier of medical break through poses an important ethical dilemma for humanity do we support the destruction of embryos to further science or do we support the protection of embryos. We are faced with a critical decision to protect embryos from being a part of a science experiment or do we think that it is ethical to kill a few embryos in the name of science. I will discuss the pros and cons of stem cell research.
I will discuss the positive outcomes associated with stem cell research from a medical aspect and the negative outcomes from a biological aspect. I will also argue for stem cell research and against stem cell research.
Stem cell research is the use of cells retrieved from embryos which are capable of becoming all or many of the 210 different types of tissues in the human body. Stem cells have traditionally been defined as not fully differentiated cells or tissue types.
The use of these undifferentiated cells or tissues is used to replicate cells in the human body. These cells are from embryos fertilized between days 5-7 of human development. The cells are then retrieved from the embryo and used by researchers to replenish dying or damaged
cells in the body. These cells show great promise to help solve medical illnesses and diseases. The argument we face with this type of research is the use of the embryo to
harvest the stem cells from are the cells considered humans or just cells.
The argument for stem cell research is medically motivated providing for potential cures to debilitating diseases. I consider stem cell the future of medicine by replicating cells and replenishing old cells we would then prolong human beings lives. The argument for science promoting the possibility of future cures and eradication of diseases is a compelling argument in itself. There are those that argue that embryonic stem cell research holds great promise for understanding and curing diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injury. Opponents argue that the research is unethical, because deriving the stem cells destroys the blastocyst, an unimplanted human embryo at the sixth to eight day of development. The moral question we are faced with is the unimplanted human embryo a human being or just a cell. They are those in the religious community that have moral belief that the embryo is a human being and by destroying the embryos in research is the equivalent of killing a child. The notion that by destroying an embryo during research is the equivalent to killing a child is a ridiculous conclusion.
We can compare the embryo to the skin cells that are alive on our bodies. When we shed these skin cells everyday during showers are we killing millions of potentially children by taking a shower. The belief that an embryo in such an early stage of development is considered a human being with out being implanted in the uterus does not pose a very strong argument in my opinion. The fact that this cell is never going to materialize into a human being and will never grow outside of an etri dish is enough evidence to allow stem cell research to continue.
The claim an embryo outside of the uterus is a human is up for serious debate between those for and against stem cell research. Our beliefs may be deeply rooted in religion and our religion determines how we view stem cell research. Some may compare destroying an embryo to killing a child because of their religious beliefs. We all have our beliefs, that belief may be for stem cell research to further science or to limit stem cell research due to our religious convictions. We must put aside our religious convictions in order to further science research into finding cures for debilitating diseases. In order to further any science research we must sacrifice someone or something to reach our goal. We could have not found cures to diseases or create vaccines without having subjects to test these theories on.
The fact that an embryo is used in these research procedures has made such a political and moral controversy a hot topic is no surprise. We have debated this issue because it is claimed that the embryo is morally equivalent to a person, a fully developed human being. Those that hold the view that the embryo is a human compare extracting the blastocyst is as morally abhorrent as harvesting organs from a baby to save other people’s lives. There are some that believe a human embryo is a human being just like you and me, and it deserves the same respect that our laws give to all of us. There are those that believe that an embryo is a human being and embryonic stem cell is immoral because it amounts to killing a person to treat other people’s diseases. Some base their belief on religious convictions that the soul enters the body at the moment of conception.
While others defend there belief without religion by reasoning that human beings are not things. That their lives must not be sacrificed against their will even for the sake of good ends like saving other people’s lives. I agree that we are not things to be used for research and not considered to be humans, but in the same sense a cell is not a human until it grows in to a viable human being. The real question here is do we consider a cell to be a viable at such an early stage in development our religious beliefs may teach us a cell gets a soul upon conception. The idea that at the moment of conception the soul enters the body does not make the cell a viable human being and therefore this cell should not be considered to be a human being.
The pros of stem cell research are unlimited potential for possible cures to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, stroke, bone diseases, and screening drugs for pharmaceutical companies, instead of using animals to test drugs. The use of the stem cells to reproduce organ tissue and replenish cells has shown great promise for eliminating diseases for mankind. The possibilities of stem cell therapy are endless from cloning to reproducing spinal cord tissue. The use of stem cells to replicate human tissue and organs will help to prolong lives of human beings and possible slow down the aging process by replacing our cells.
The cons of stem cell research are the use of stem cells and the ethical issues associated with using embryos to harvest cells for research. Another disadvantage of stem cell research is the idea that we as humans are on the verge of playing God by creating life. There are also issues with the stem cells having mutating and causing more harm than good. The research has shown possibility of the cells being cancerous in some cases and not growing into the desired organs. The destruction of life is most distinct disadvantage associated with stem cell research.
The positive outcomes of stem cell research are endless possibilities of curing a wide range of diseases processes and prolonging human life. The use of stem cells has been proven to replenish muscle and organ tissue in humans. Research has shown that the use of stem cells to treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease has significantly increased the functionality of the affected patient. Other patients have had success in replacing heart tissue from heart attacks and cancer patients now live symptom free from cancer.
The negative aspect of stem cell research has been linked to how the cells are obtained and the morals issues surrounding them. Another negative outcome of the research is the cells often grow out of control into tumors and immune system sometimes rejects the cells. The use of the embryo to harvest the stem cells poses the most negative outcome of all with the belief that the embryos are human being and harvesting the cells destroys the cell therefore killing a human being.
Stem cell the new frontier of medical break through poses an important ethical dilemma for humanity do we support the destruction of embryos to further science or do we support the protection of embryos. The protection of the embryo from being destroyed for the advancement of science will ultimately put humanity at a loss by protecting a cell from destruction. The destruction of that same cell has the possibility of curing diseases and prolonging humanity for generations. We are ultimately stuck with the decision do we take a life in order to prolong future generation’s life’s by promoting science over humanity in order to further mankind.