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Why Are Stem Cells So Controversial?

1779 words - 7 pages

The paper that I am writing today deals with one of the most talked about topics to this day. Politicians win or loose elections, scientists gain funding for research, or are forced to move to countries that allow this type of research to be continued in their nation; people with numerous disabilities come closer or float further away from their dream of one day being cured of their disease. My topic is stem cell research. What are those cells and what is so remarkable about them to produce so much controversy?What are the ethics of embryonic stem cell research and the morality of offering hope? Before giving any answer to this question, we should analyze these points and try to get answers; what is a stem cell? What are the differences between embryonic stem cell and adult stem cell? What is an embryo? Is an embryo the first stage of development of a human being? Should stem cell scientists be able to destroy even early stage human embryos in order to advance medicine? Those questions have been framed in many different ways. When does life begin? What is the value of human life? Stem cell research is a hot button. It is controversial. It has both negative and positive sides. The key moral or ethics problem of the embryonic stem cell research is under what conditions, if any, is stem cell research morally justifiable? How society, government, and biotech companies think and approach to stem cell research? What are the current regulations about stem cell research? I will try to answer those questions in this paper.Stem cells differ from other kinds of cells in the body. They have extraordinary potential to develop into many different cell types. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person is still alive.When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. Stem cells can be derived from different sources. First is embryonic stem cells, they are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that were fertilized in vitro fertilization clinic - an assisted reproduction technique in which fertilization is accomplished outside the body. They are then donated for research purposes with informed consent of the donors. Embryonic stem cells possess the attribute of pluropotency, which is to say that they are capable of issuing in any cell type except the placenta. Another source is from germ cells from aborted fetuses. If someone thinks that abortion is wrong, he should consider that the researchers doing these experiments on the tissue provided to them. They don't do the abortion themselves, but use the tissue coming from an abortion.(Shanon 177) Embryonic stem cell is distinct from the stem cells found within the adult body, as it can only be derived from cells found in the embryo. During development, at 5-6...

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