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Stem Cells Essay

1606 words - 7 pages

ENGL 1010

Argumentative Paper: The use of embryonic stem cells for research.
Stem cells are the center of large debates in today’s medical world. Stem cells are cells that are in an undifferentiated state and have the ability to transform into any kind of tissue depending on what the cells around them are. This ability to transform into any cell of the body makes them very interesting in medical research because they may have the ability to regenerate damaged human tissue. If adult stem cell research seems promising to cure some diseases, the research on embryonic stem cells seems unavoidable. That research is very controversial because those cells need to be taken from a live embryo; ...view middle of the document...

The list gets longer as the research goes on. Many scientists devote much of their time to that research knowing that it could save many lives.
Many doctors and scientists believe that the use of stem cells is the future of medicine; one that will cure many diseases. The only problem is that the only place to find completely undifferentiated cells is in a human embryo. And the process of taking those cells will kill that unborn child. Removing those cells corresponds to an abortion. The main argument of opponents of stem cell research is that the doctor kills a fetus to improve the medical condition of another human being. Because of that argument, the government has a problem deciding whether we should allow research on those cells.
To avoid the debate of whether we can kill an embryo to save other lives, many scientists have turned to research on adult stem cells. Those cells are not derived from an embryo but are found in an adult body; they thus do not need the destruction of a life to be collected. There are different kinds of adult stem cells. The most common one is the blood stem cell. These cells, found in the bone marrow and spleen, are normally used to create new blood cells. Another stem cell is the one found in the umbilical cord at birth. Unfortunately, all those cells are found in very small quantities and are limited in what they can do. They can only form blood cells or repair minor tissue damage. But because those cells are not completely undifferentiated, they will not perform the function of the cells they replace. Another drawback of adult stem cells is that they cannot be stored well in a culture; they require an environment that they are compatible with. Only embryonic cells can make other tissue than blood cells as well as survive outside the body. This does not mean that adult stem cells are useless. They still can be used in a restricted amount of diseases, and scientists should continue to explore them. They, however, will not replace the embryonic stem cells.
In any event, the debate as to whether we can use embryonic stem cells for research seems difficult to understand if we consider that abortion is legal during the first trimester of the pregnancy in the United States. If those embryos can be killed anyway, it seems better if at least they can be used to save other lives. If we consider the fact that the cells from one fetus have the potential to save many lives, it seems that people who want to defend human life should be happy that an embryo that would be destroyed because the mother does not want it can be used to save other lives. The idea is that whenever a woman chooses to have an abortion, the embryo should be harvested to be used to help cure many people. Some scientists even go farther, reminding people that twenty percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most of those miscarriages happen during the first trimester due to natural causes. In some cases those embryos could...

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