Stem cells are primary cells that can be trained to develop into any human cell tissue (i.e. muscle, skin, brain, etc.). In embryonic stem cell research, stem cells are retrieved from embryos using a process called therapeutic cloning. The descriptions below will outline for you the stem cell process, as well as present the current debate that rages with regard to the moral and ethical obligations of those conducting stem cell research.
Therapeutic cloning is a process in which DNA from a person is put into an unfertilized human egg (effectively cloning the person). An embryo is grown for a few days to produce stem cells identical to the donor without any likelihood of rejection once injected.
Embryonic stem cell research offers the hope of curing diseases such as blood disorders, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, motor neuron disease, and spinal cord injuries. These cells could even be used to create retina cells which could cure blindness or create skin cells for burn victims. Many people are hopeful that stem cell research could be the answer to problems that have plagued the world population for centuries.
Stem cell research has been the topic of hot debate because of the use of embryos. Many argue that life begins during the embryonic stage, and that the product of stem cell research is not just a clump of cells but rather a human being. However, proponents of stem cell research argue that the potential benefits of the practice outweigh any moral risk that human life will be devalued in the process.
A great deal of human suffering stands to be alleviated if the research is successful. Throughout history humans have agreed to experiments to improve health and prolong life. Opponents of stem cell research should look at what they are really fighting against; revolutionary medical cures that will potentially improve the lives of thousands of people. People who disapprove of stem cell research are not open-minded enough to consider the potential benefits that this type of research could bring.
While the battle rages on about whether stem cell research is ethical, many whose lives are directly affected by disease are hopeful that answers are on the way. One has to wonder whether those who object to stem cell research due to moral or ethical reasons would have the same objections if a loved one suffered from a disease that could be potentially cured. In the end, we can only hope that common sense will prevail.