Stem Cells Controversy Essay

882 words - 4 pages

When Marry Shelley says, “…how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge…” she is correct to an extent. A perfect example of this is stem cell research. It is amazing, stem cells can grow new organs, repair old ones, and cure conditions that were thought to be incurable before; however, at the current moment, the most convenient way to harvest stem cells is by harvesting the cells from an embryo, which is destroyed in the process. Although stem cells from embryos are the main focus right now, there are new alternatives that are being researched that will avoid the ethical issues with embryonic stem cells, which include stem cells from bone marrow, placentas, teeth, and umbilical cords. ...view middle of the document...

Embryonic stem cells are controversial due to the fact that an embryo is destroyed in the process. Some groups that are for embryonic stem cell research argue that embryos are not life, because they are just developing fetuses. They say that many of the embryos used for stem cell research, leftover embryos from in-vitro and legal abortions, would have been thrown away anyway. Other groups that are against embryonic stem cell argue that life starts when the egg is fertilized. These people, usually pro-life supporters, exclaim that the destruction of life that occurs when stem cells are harvested, devalues human life; who is to decide if life is to be destroyed? Both of these arguments have merit, but it all boils down to beliefs. However, in the medical world, life is said to start at conception. For example, in T.W. Saddlers book, Langman's Medical Embryology he says, "The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote." As controversial as the topic is, there are alternatives to bypass the ethical issues (Murnaghan) (Sadler).
The best, simplest, and easiest way to avoid embryonic stem cell controversy is to avoid using embryos altogether. There are many alternative ways to harvest stem cells that produce cells that are just as potent and that don’t involve an embryo at all. The umbilical cord blood, for one, contains stem cells that are just as useful as embryonic stem cells. Another amazing source of cells is...

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