Stem cell research ethics essay

The ethics of obtaining embryonic stem cells via these sources can be questionable and have led to disputes that I will later address. In terms of being a realistic means of generating genetically identical fetal tissue for transplantation, it could theoretically be an option, but whether it would actually be useful would depend on the alternatives available at the time transplantation techniques themselves have been perfected to clinical applicability see below.

In this light, creation of embryos for therapeutic cloning is, in our opinion, premature.

Stem cells

Adult cells Adult tissue is a potential source of two alternatives: stem cells, which may be induced to transdifferentiate by extracellular signals, and somatic cells nuclei which require direct reprogramming signals, for example from an oocyte after nuclear transfer, to adopt a new fate. Even if one cannot point to an exact black and white dividing line in human development, it is still reasonable they hold to point to the fact that wherever the transition occurs, embryos do not have the psychological, physiological, emotional, intellectual properties that we tend to centrally associate with personhood. How young Korean researchers helped unearth a scandal. The European Science Foundation has established a committee to make an inventory of the positions taken by governments of countries within Europe on this issue European Science Foundation, The scientific rationale for hSC transplantation and preclinical results may seem compelling. What, then, is the status of the individual cells from the ICM once isolated, and the embryonic stem cell lines derived from them? Such studies are of fundamental importance in stem cell biology, for example to characterize the lines and to demonstrate that they are pluripotent. However, such opposition to stem cell research is not monolithic. The fact that many people would accept abortion in cases where the pregnant woman is at significant physical risk, is testimony to the prevalence of this consequentialist turn in people's ordinary moral thinking. Some possible sources for these stem cells include embryos created via in vitro fertilization for either research or reproduction ; five-to-nine-week old embryos or fetuses obtained through elective abortion; and embryos created through cloning or what is known as somatic cell nuclear transfer Liu 1. To obtain embryonic stem cells, the early embryo has to be destroyed. The Loss of Future Life Problem holds that it is unethical to take the lives of future humans by destroying embryos for research Tobis It forces us to choose between two moral principles: The duty to prevent or alleviate suffering The duty to respect the value of human life In the case of embryonic stem cell research, it is impossible to respect both moral principles.

The embryo has no moral status at all An embryo is organic material with a status no different from other body parts. In the United States, federal regulations on research permit a waiver of informed consent for the research use of deidentified biological materials that cannot be linked to donors This is a problem that will require a solution if embryonic stem cell research is to be the basis for future therapeutic medicine.

arguments for stem cell research

Furthermore, because a skin biopsy to obtain somatic cells is relatively noninvasive, there are fewer concerns about risks to donors compared with oocyte donation.

One example is the previously stated method of using embryonic stem cells to repair damaged tissue or organs.

Stem cell research pros and cons

We do, for instance, see sudden infant death as a more serious loss than early miscarriage, or failure of an embryo to implant. Some people who object to SCNT believe that creating embryos with the intention of using them for research and destroying them in that process violates respect for nascent human life. No funding was to be granted for "the use of stem cell lines derived from newly destroyed embryos, the creation of any human embryos for research purposes, or cloning of human embryos for any purposes" Research utilizing human embryonic stem cell lines has focused on the potential to generate replacement tissues for malfunctioning cells or organs Liu 1. In rebuttal, supporters of such research point out that the biological definitions of species are not natural and immutable but empirical and pragmatic 40 , 41 , There should be a sound scientific justification for using human oocytes and embryos to derive new human stem cell lines. Waiver of consent. While in these incapacitated conditions, individuals are not conscious, can not reason, and can not form and choose courses of actionthe characteristics we associate with personhood. These adult stem cells have generally been regarded as having the capacity to form only the cell types of the organ in which they are found, but recently they have been shown to exhibit an unexpected versatility Ferrari et al. In addition, concerns have been raised about the consent process for the derivation of some of these NIH-approved lines 7. Ithaca; London: Cornell UP, This shows that people do view embryos as somewhat different from people, even though they may not realize it" Clemmitt It is difficult to argue that research into hES cells is disproportional. Donated egg cells can be fertilized in a lab or through somatic cell nuclear transfer, a process described earlier in this paper. Some would argue, that it is not clear why something that could become a person should be morally regarded as if it actually were a person.

To the extent that embryos are potential persons, it is argued, they ought to still be accorded the moral respect and dignity that personhood warrants. There are two main arguments surrounding the ethics of embryonic stem cell research: the research is ethical because of the unique potential that embryonic stem cells have to cure currently untreatable diseases; and the research is unethical because it requires the destruction of life in the form of an embryo or fetus.

Benefits of stem cell research

We urge that such tests of comprehension be carried out in phase I trials of hSC transplantation 58 , It would also be acceptable to grandparent lines if gamete donors agreed to unspecified future research or gave dispositional control of frozen embryos to the woman or couple in IVF. Although this paper, and the recent debate, are concerned mostly with embryonic stem cell research, it should be kept in mind that the relevant Bill encompasses research involving embryos in general. Cord blood stem cells Hematopoietic stem cells from cord blood can be banked and are widely used for allogenic and autologous stem cell transplantation in pediatric hematological diseases as an alternative to bone marrow transplantation. While various arguments surround this debate, the main point of controversy is the source of stem cells used and the method with which they are obtained. For example, many would argue that a life ended at the peak of its achievements and promise is a greater loss than a life lost at its sunset, after its achievements and promise have been realised. Donors might consider it a violation of privacy if scientists know their future susceptibility to many genetic diseases. For example, during IVF procedures, oocytes that fail to fertilize or embryos that fail to develop sufficiently to be implanted are ordinarily discarded. Those in favor of embryonic stem cell research deem such a loss acceptable for the future benefits that this research could have on thousands of lives. Stem cells also act as a repair system for many tissues in the body by dividing repeatedly to replenish other cells within a person National Institutes of Health. However, the derivation should be consistent with the ethical and legal standards in place at the time the line was derived. There should be a sound scientific justification for using human oocytes and embryos to derive new human stem cell lines.
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Human embryonic stem cells: research, ethics and policy