The Dillema

February 8, 2010
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Limited by moral beliefs, stem cell research faces many problems. Between the Pro Life and Pro Choice campaigns stem cell research has law-making politicians sitting on the fence. Although stem cells have the potential to repair tissues, cure diseases, and improve millions of lives people are still fighting for legislature against the necessary research. Solutions for better economies, greater longevity and quality of lives all lie with stem cells. The only controversial issue standing in the way of stem cell research in North America are those who believe life begins at conception. Despite Pro-Life supporters’ personal beliefs, stem cell research is a vital puzzle piece of healing people already living on earth with crippling diseases. Using stem cell research, today's scientists should seize the opportunity to surpass milestones and improve millions of lives.

People who argue against embryonic stem cell research do not understand that embryonic stem cells used in research would not be brought to term anyway. Pro-Life supporters argue all embryos have the potential to develop therefore using embryonic stem cells for research is murder. Potential to develop does not constitute life because, most likely, development will not occur. According to National Institute of Health, stem cells are extracted from surplus frozen embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. After a successful procedure a couple faces with four choices for their 16 or so surplus embryos. The couple could have the embryos discarded, preserved at very low temperatures, donate the embryos to another infertile couple or donate the leftovers to research. Few couples are willing to give or receive embryos to for a variety of emotional reasons. Because thawed embryos have a dismal chance of starting a pregnancy and expensive preservation procedures most people ask the embryos be discarded (Jane L. Frederick, M.D.). Since the embryos used in research are not fertilized in a woman's body and they would otherwise be discarded; why not have some good come out of the leftover, less-viable cells?

The good in stem cells is invaluable to the future health of Earth’s population socially, economically, and mentally. Those who support a total ban on stem cell research sometimes act as though their view is the only one based on moral principle. Stem cells already aide in curing: brain injuries, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, heart disease, juvenile diabetes, spinal cord injury, stroke, and leukemia. Despite these breakthroughs people still feel the need to ban the research. Increasing the longevity and quality of people’s lives, stem cells show promising results in many different areas of health problems. Improved health for humans leads to significant social and economic benefits for individuals and the society. Once cured, people plagued with heart disease, stroke side-effects, and spinal chord injury will once again contribute to their families and the economy. Curing people and encouraging them to return to work leads to decreased cases of depression and better quality of life overall. People able to contribute feel more useful and overall have a better morale. With the funds in Medicare and Medicaid dwindling, more people working means more people can pay taxes and therefore support people during old age. Less people depending on the government pilots a stronger, healthier society.

Healthier societies are brought about with embryonic and cord blood stem cells because they are more viable and useful than adult stem cells. The Pro-Life campaign argues adult stem cells are just as viable as embryonic or cord blood stem cells. However when infant stem cells are compared to adult stem cells, “[younger] stem cells are biologically unique and are advantageous due to their higher rates of proliferation, immunological immaturity, and reduced exposure to viruses and aging” (Cord Blood Registry). As opposed to adult stem cells, embryonic and cord blood stem cells are completely undeveloped. A completely blank slate, younger stem cells have endless potential for scientists to learn about human growth and cell development. Adult stem cells, although not developed into anything specific yet, tend to decrease in viability as the adult ages. As humans age the stem cells in their body do not reproduce as rapidly as needed. Wrinkles form, joints wear away, and muscles diminish. Stem cells will not make people live forever, but they will aide in a greater quality of life by decreasing pain and increasing mobility (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Less pain and more mobility gives people new leases on life and decreases suffering. Infinite possibilities and less suffering on earth validates the destruction of a few clumps of undeveloped cells.

The future of the human race lies within undeveloped cells of the human body. Although there are a wide variety of arguments against stem cell research, the pros far outweigh the cons. Using embryos and cells that would otherwise be discarded, today’s scientists have the opportunity to improve lives and boost the economy. As conservative, Tennessee senator Bill First states, “I am pro-life. I believe human life begins at conception. I also believe that embryonic stem cell research is necessary and should be encouraged and supported.”

Even the most conservative, Pro-Life supporters understand the need and vote yes for stem cell research.

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