On the Stem Cell Controversy

November 27, 2008
Stem cell controversy is the ethical debate centered on research involving the creation, usage and destruction of human embryonic stem cells. Those who agree with stem cell research argue that: the benefits of stem cell research outweigh the cost in terms of embryonic life, if an embryo is going to be destroyed anyway, it is more efficient to make practical use of it, and embryonic stem cells can be considered far more useful therapeutically then adult cells. On the contrary, those who are against stem cell research argue that: an embryo is actually a human and should be valued as highly as a human life, embryonic stem cells should be abandoned in favor of alternatives, such as those involving adult stem cells, the use of embryonic stem cell in therapies may be fundamentally flawed. Both sides have a compelling argument and should both be considered in deciding whether or not to move on with stem cell research.

In the case of carrying on with stem cell research, the benefits are great. The research have the potential for discovering treatments for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, damages to the skeletal muscles and the heart and even the brain. The next argument is that if an embryo is going to be destroyed anyway, it is more efficient to make practical use of it. In Virto Fertilization generates large numbers of unused embryos, many of these embryos will be destroyed, so those for the research argue to use these embryos for research. Also, abortions are still legal in many places; those for the research argue that these embryos could be donated to science for stem cell research instead of being wasted. The main reasons embryonic stem cells are more useful then adult stem cells are embryonic stem cells divided more rapidly then adult stem cells and that embryonic stem cells can treat a wider range of diseases.

Those who object to the research argue that embryos are humans and should be valued as highly as human life. This argument is the ethical portion of the controversy. The Roman Catholic Church believes that every human of every age and condition has the same fundamental right to life. Therefore stem cell research should be abolished. Next, there is the argument that alternatives should be found to avoid the use of embryonic stem cells such as, umbilical cord blood. Also, adult stem cells have already produced therapies whereas embryonic stem cells have not. Finally, those against stem cell research claim there are flaws that must be considered. Embryonic stem cell therapies have often resulted in rejection by the immune system where adult stem cells were accepted.

Both sides have compelling arguments and must be considered upon advancing the stem cell research. The benefits created by stem cell research may lead to phenomenal advances in medicine, curing diseases thought to be incurable. However, curing such diseases results in the cost of a potential human life, thus creating the controversy of stem cells.

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E.L.W. said...
Jun. 15, 2009 at 1:50 pm
Be sure to specify that the Roman Catholic church does not believe in abolishing stem cell research, only embryonic stem cell research. There are many alternatives such as bone marrow stem cell research and umbilical stem cell research, which are perfectly fine by the Roman Catholic church.
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