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Controversy In The Use Of Embryonic Stem Cells

1448 words - 6 pages

“How can the use of stem cells be so controversial?”, one may ask. If the stem cells are donated out of free will or were going to be destroyed anyway, how can putting them to better use be controversial? Sure, a potential life must be destroyed to save a life, but only before one can tell that it is a human. Should the use of stem cells for medical research and use be regulated? These questions and more will be discussed and pondered throughout this paper.
A stem cell is defined as a cell that can change into a different type of cell. Stem cells are different from other cells because from the start they do not have specialized functions. Embryonic stem cells are found within the blastocyst (embryo), which is just a tiny package of around twenty cells. They are extracted when the blastocyst is less than a week old (“What Are Stem Cells?”). These stem cells can live and be maintained for a long amount of time. If the use of them was not as strictly regulated, the human population could be much more advanced, health wise. A large amount of the embryonic stem cells used for research are left over from in vitro fertilization and donated. If they weren't donated, they would be destroyed, thus losing their incredible potential.
 Embryonic stem cells are classified as pluripotent (“Miracle Cell”). This means they can be grown and changed into any other type of cell. They also have the benefit of being able to multiply and divide numerous times, as opposed to adult stem cells. The adult stem cell, in addition, is not as easily manipulated to become any cell, as in the case of the embryonic stem cell. The embryonic stem cell potentially could cure many life threatening diseases, including but not limited to genetic disorders and Alzheimer’s ("The Stem Cell Debate…”). This “miracle” cell could also possibly be used to grow and produce cells for organs. These organs would then be transplanted into someone whose had previously failed or is in the process of shutting down.
In humans adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells, have been used in therapies for more than forty years. People with blood disorders have used stem cell therapy to take the opportunity to improve upon their life. On the other hand, embryonic stem cells have a very high potential to treat or even cure numerous diseases like diabetes and heart disease. They are much more versatile in their usage compared to adult stem cells. Another practical use for embryonic stem cells is to treat damaged nerves ("Testing The Use…”). These nerves could have been impaired in a spinal cord injury. As of today, scientists have already performed stem cell transplants in people whose cells were damaged through chemotherapy of disease.
To make the use of stem cells helpful to the patient they must come from that person. If not, there is a possibility of the stem cells being rejected. Currently, only adult stem cells have been transplanted into humans, with embryonic stem cells missing out. If a person...

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