Stem Cell Research Essay

1438 words - 6 pages

Stem Cells

For as long as humans exist optimal health will continue to remain necessary for a productive life. As new medical discoveries are made each year humans become healthier, and their life expectancy increases. Stem cell research, a relatively new field, aims to improve and lengthen human life. The possibility that stem cells could cure many long term health problems makes this research beneficial to the human race. The value of stem cells comes from their ability to replicate many times and develop into tissue. Scientists suggest that stem cells have the ability to treat debilitating health problems such as: Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries, strokes, burns, heart ...view middle of the document...

George and others like him believe embryos are human beings and have the same intrinsic worth as babies, children, and adults. This is why they believe embryonic stem cell research is immoral. Those against using embryos as a source for stem cells believe that embryos are humans and in full moral status regardless of the manner in which they were created, whether naturally or by science. As human beings are valuable and deserve full moral respect no matter what stage of development they are. George asserts embryonic human beings, whether brought in the existence by union of gametes or somatic-cell science should be respected just as human beings in other developmental stages. Their right to live should be honored even if they cannot verbalize their rights (George 5).
The Catholic Church is also outspoken against embryonic stem cell research (Monczunski 1). However, the University of Notre Dame, a Catholic university, has many kinds of scientific research projects that include the use of other kinds of stem cells. One kind of research involves and iPS or induced pluripotent cells. These are adult cells that are genetically manipulated to become undifferentiated stem cells. Research that involves adult stem cells and iPS cells has been approved by the Catholic Church. Interestingly, some of the most advanced stem cell research taking place in Notre Dame doesn’t even involve human cells; instead it involves the stem cells from fruit flies, tropical fish, and mice (Monczunski 2).
Another concern opponents of embryonic stem cell research have, is that the egg needed to create an embryo could be obtained in unethical ways. Thomas Berg in his article “It Is Not Ethical to Pay Women to Donate Eggs for Research Cloning” said poor women who are in need of money would be enticed to cell their eggs without knowing the health risks associated with harvesting procedure (1). On May 12, 2009 colleagues on the ethics committee of New York’s Empire State Stem Cell Board voted to recommend to the state that women will get paid $10,000 per retrieval to use their eggs in research purpose (Berg 1). Egg donation is a very serious health procedure for women. Drugs used to increase egg maturation can lead to ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS). This condition can causes anything from bloating and nausea to loss of fertility, organ failure, and death (Berg 2). Women with low incomes are more likely to be uninsured and uneducated about these complications. Some fear that paying women for egg donation will lead to the exploitation of these low income women.

With all of these ethical concerns it’s easy to focus on embryonic stem cells and the issues surrounding them. However, scientists are working hard to find a way to continue this amazing regenerative science without the use of embryos. Scientist Jean Peduzzi Nelson states adult stem cells are showing more than promise; they are helping people now (1). Nelson testified to a US congressional committee in...

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