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Ethical Research Stem Cell Essay

870 words - 4 pages

Imagine a world without disease, or the need for transplants. Have you ever known someone who needed a new kidney, heart, or liver? How about someone with a rare blood type that desperately needed a transfusion after chemotherapy? These are all issue that could theoretically disappear through the use of stem cells. The pros of stem cell research outweigh the cons.

So what exactly is a stem cell? A stem cell is a very versatile cell that has the remarkable ability to grow into almost any kind of cell that your body would need. Stem cells are able to effectively replace damaged cells in the body. Stem cells function as an internal repair system, dividing and multiplying without limit ...view middle of the document...

A large benefit to adult stem cells is that they are taken from the patient's body so they are an exact DNA match. An exact match means that the immune system will not reject the stem cells.

The second method of extracting stem cells for medical use and research is through the umbilical cord. Much like bone marrow cells, Umbilical cells maintain a DNA match for the individual they were pulled from. Umbilical cells can also be utilized by the parents of the child, and other relatives. However, the more distant the relation, the greater chance of the body’s immune system rejecting the cells. Much like blood type, cord cells can be matched between donors and patients. For this reason the donation of umbilical stem cells is encouraged.

The third and by far most controversial method of extracting stem cells is to remove them from embryonic cells. Embryonic stem cells are taken from an embryo. What makes the use of embryonic stem cells controversial is that in order to harvest the cells from an embryo, the embryo must be destroyed. Per the National Institutes of Health:

Most embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro—in an in vitro fertilization clinic—and then donated for research purposes with informed consent of the donors. They are not derived from eggs fertilized in a woman's body. (3)

This is controversial to those that are pro-life on the grounds that the embryo, despite being creating and fertilized...

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