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Is Stem Cell Research Ethical Essay

2560 words - 11 pages

Is Stem Cell Research Ethical?

Reginald Lawrence

Is it ethical for stem cells for the advancement of medical research? In the 1800s it was discovered certain cells could generate other cells. The 1900s brought upon more research in using stem cells. The ethical issue surrounding embryonic stem cells research arises because human embryos are destroyed in the process. I believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives and that a greater good can come out of using embryonic stem cells.
The treatment of diseases and illnesses continually grows and improves. Embryonic stem cells have the potential to help rectify or even cure disease and illnesses that are thought to be incurable. ...view middle of the document...

When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. Cells can be extracted from the embryo and are then differentiated into any cell the scientist wishes.
What does this mean for the future of medicine? Researchers believe that these differentiated cells can replace skin cells for burn victims, create new organs, or regenerate heart or brain tissue. Research in using stem cells is needed because of the risk of rejection of the new cells. Rejection is when the body is not able to recognize the new cells from the donor cells and attacks them.
Despite the benefits from using embryonic stem cells, the debate over using human embryos arises. When an egg cell is fertilized it divides and becomes an embryo an embryo then develops into a fetus. There are four ways scientists get embryos. The first way is through in vitro fertilization. In vitro fertilization is when a sperm and egg are fertilized in a culture disk. The fertilized egg is developed and becomes and an embryo. The embryo is then implanted into a women’s uterus. During this process more embryos are created than needed and are usually frozen for later use. If the embryos are not needed they are donated for stem cell research.
A second way is through the use of aborted fetuses. However, this method creates several issues in and of itself with controversy over abortion. Individual states have various laws restricting or banning the use of embryos obtained through either in vitro or aborted fetuses or embryos. Some states do allow research on aborted fetuses or embryos if the patient consenst. The third way is through already established stem cell lines that were created before 2001.
The fourth way of obtaining an embryo is through therapeutic cloning. In this process a cell from the patient is combined with an egg that was donated. The nucleus of the egg is replaced with the cell’s nucleus. This is then stimulated using either chemicals or electricity to get the egg to divide. The embryo created now has the patients’ genetics which decreases the possibility of rejection “In addition, it may be possible to learn more about the molecular causes of disease by studying embryonic stem cell lines from cloned embryos derived from the cells of animals or humans with different diseases” (genome.gov).
However, this is another term for human cloning, which is legal but cannot be federally funded. Many states have laws in place banning reproductive cloning but only 6 states have prohibited therapeutic cloning. Some states have laws in place banning the use of state money for research. A few states permit cloning for research purposes only.
Once an embryo is created it will develop into a blastocyst around days 5 and 6, which holds 100 cells and inside are the stem cells. From the blastocyst scientists remove the pluripotent cells where they are put into culture dishes...

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