What Makes Stem Cell Research such a Controversial Issue

Most people have a strong opinion on stem cell research. For years, people have debated over the intricacies of this groundbreaking research. What exactly is it that makes stem cell research so controversial? There are a number of factors that come into play.

Destruction of embryos

A large part of the controversy surrounding stem cell research is the destruction of human embryos, according to a Time article in collaboration with CNN. Some people feel that the destruction of any human embryo, no matter how early, is inappropriate and is akin to ending life.

Those for stem cell research have many arguments against those posed against it. First, they cite the fact that the embryos are far from developed. Typically the embryo utilized in stem cell research is only three to five days past the date of conception. A few dozen cells make it up, and it cannot even be seen by the naked eye. Consciousness is not yet there. There is no memory, and it in no way resembles a human baby.

Another argument for stem cell research is the fact that the embryos are generally excess embryos that would otherwise be destroyed or frozen. When people go in for fertility treatments, they often create more embryos than they need in case the first attempts do not work. These embryos may not have a chance to develop anyways, thus proponents of stem cell research feel that they should be used to continue this important research. They feel that if they are going to be destroyed, it should be for a reason.

Powerful potential

Those for stem cell research tout the fact that so many lives can potentially be saved by it. According to NOVA online, stem cell research may allow researchers to produce specific types of tissue that can address various conditions and diseases. Cardiac tissue could be created for heart patients, new skin could be applied to those with burns and blood and marrow cells can aid cancer sufferers. Other conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease might also be eventually fought with treatments from stem cell research. The possibilities are nearly endless. Also, very few stem cells be used for a great deal of research.  

In a lot of ways the controversy regarding stem cell research mirrors that of abortion. In general the embryos in stem cell research are typically far younger. It is a polarizing argument, one that is unlikely to disappear.