Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Case for Stem Cell Research This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
A century from now, I envision a world where patients with diabetes could lead healthy lives, where people with severe spinal cord injuries could learn to walk again, where children born with leukemia could be cured. This is a world where embryonic stem cell research has been funded and supported by the government to create effective treatments for a myriad of diseases. This is a world where the possibilities of science have expanded beyond our imagination, where innovative research has evolved into life-saving treatments.

Embryonic stem cells could unlock therapies and treatments for countless ailments. Unlike adult stem cells, which have limited plasticity and less differentiation capabilities, embryonic cells are pluripotent – they have the potential to become almost any type of cell. The therapeutic applications of stem cells are nearly limitless. If scientists and doctors could harness the capabilities of embryonic stem cells, they could replace damaged brain ­tissue with healthy neural cells in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients; they could remove a tumor in the liver and supplement the organ with new, functioning liver tissue; they could create skin to transplant onto victims with serious burns without major risk of rejection or disease transmission.

However, progress in embryonic stem cell research has been delayed. Controversy over the use of embryos has fueled endless debates, creating a barrier to research. Many pro-life organizations vehemently oppose the destruction of blastocysts. Because a blastocyst is created from a fertilized egg and has the potential to become a human, they argue that embryonic stem cell research is essentially the taking of a life and thus devalues human life.

Herein lies the distinction: a blastocyst has the potential to become a human, but it is not yet a human. A blastocyst is an undifferentiated cell cluster with no heartbeat, no brain, and no consciousness. Embryonic stem cell research does not devalue human life; rather, it aims to protect human life by providing revolutionary treatments for deadly medical conditions.

I believe it is wrong to value the potential life of a cell cluster manufactured in a laboratory over the lives of the millions of people suffering from currently incurable diseases, as well as future victims whose afflictions could be alleviated by a present-day commitment to embryonic stem cell research.

Therefore, it is my opinion that research delays and funding restrictions for potentially life-saving cures should not continue. The twenty-second-century world I envision – a world of innovative treatments and life-saving cures – cannot become reality unless the twenty-first century makes embryonic stem cell research a priority.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the December 2010 Teen Ink EBSCO POV Contest.





Join the Discussion


This article has 13 comments. Post your own!

Kyle D. said...
Dec. 20, 2011 at 9:32 am:
Most of the embryos used for stem cell research are embryos that are going to be dicarded or simply thrown away. Also, just because they are being experimented on doesn't necessarily mean that the embryos are being destroyed. Stem cell research in the future can save people's lives, so why not give it a chance?
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
ambnyc This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 25, 2011 at 8:07 pm:

I agree with this.

I am also pro-choice. ;)

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
kfeldpausch01 said...
Dec. 17, 2010 at 7:50 pm:
I would like to point out that embryos are not potential humans, but humans with potential. We have no right to take away their future. While it is important to save those here on earth, we must respect the unborn. One life is not more important than the other.
 
laurenz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm :
"Not potential humans, but humans with potential" ... I must admit that's catchy. ;)  I wholeheartedly agree with half of that statement.  That is, I acknowledge and in fact celebrate the potential of embryos - but I disagree that they are humans.  An embryo has just as much potential to become a human as it does to become organ tissue.  While I appreciate your assertion that "we must respect the unborn," I can't help but ask - why?  I personally respect a full-grown hum... (more »)
 
MaxineAThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Nov. 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm :
May I ask you, Laurenz, when you believe a human to be a human? (I'm not full grown yet, am I still only a potential human being?) ;) As for respecting the unborn, it's listed in the Constitution. The rights were established for us and our "posterity".  
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Olivia7 said...
Dec. 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm:
Although I realize that stem-cell research could cure numerous diseases and save many lives, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's right. Sure they don't have a heartbeat, but they could possibly become an actual living, breathing human being. How could you take that away from one who can't even defend themselves? Life is precious and should not be interfered with.
 
laurenz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm :
Hi Olivia.  While I respect your opinion, the point I strive to make in this article is that embryos conceived in a laboratory are not, in fact, "life."  Not only do they not have a heartbeat, they have no consciousness whatsoever; they are merely small undifferentiated clusters of cells.  They could become a human being, but they could just as easily become organ tissue.  Certainly "life is precious" as you say, but this is not inherently life; moreover, hundreds of emb... (more »)
 
laurenz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 23, 2011 at 1:41 am :
Hi Olivia.  It's true that embryos could become an actual, living, breathing human being.  These embryos could also become tissue that could save a life.  It all depends on what a scientist chooses to do with the embryo he or she has created.  You mention taking life away from an embryo which can't even defend itself.  Indeed it cannot, for it is inanimate and not a valid life.  As you point out, life is precious, which is why I am so committed to the idea... (more »)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
lnvo97 said...
Dec. 5, 2010 at 4:17 pm:
this is really good!!! this reminds me a bit of the book My Sister's Keeper, if you havent read it yet i suggest you do because it has a bit to do with what you're writing here....
 
laurenz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm :
Actually that is one of my all-time favorite books! :)  But I appreciate the suggestion!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
ashythechoirnerd said...
Feb. 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm:
This was very well written. Keep up the good work.
 
kfeldpausch01 replied...
Mar. 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm :

Alright... this is an interesting conversation. But a lot of these arguments don't make since.

Embryos don't just magically turn into lumps of tissue. Last time I checked, if they weren't aborted, they were born. As babies.

And what are some of the illnesses that embryonic stem cell research has cured? Most of the time, it can actually cause negative reactions because the stem cells aren't far enough developed. Adult stem cell research, on the other hand, shows more potential, a... (more »)

 
laurenz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm :

It's true that embryos do not just magically turn into lumps of tissue.  However, given that the embryos I am discussing are not aborted embryos from a mother's womb but rather constructed in a laboratory, these embryos will not magically turn into babies either.  This clump of cells created by scientists could become either a baby or a myriad of types of tissue, depending on what conditions the scientist chooses to place it in.

Embryonic stem cell research has not been ... (more »)

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback