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Embryonic Stem Cell Research: A Good or Bad Idea?

Did you ever think in the future that patients with diabetes, Alzheimers disease, or spinal cord injuries could be cured? Scientists have discovered a possible cure to all these conditions; embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are unspecialized cells and can differentiate or change into all other cell types. They are found in the early development stages of a human embryo. Scientists want to use these embryonic stem cells and make them differentiate into different types of cells to cure certain diseases. To get the embryonic stem cells, an embryo must be cut open therefore killing the embryo. Because of this many people think embryonic stem cell research is unethical. Other people argue that when embryonic stem cells are extracted, the embryo is only a week old; therefore it is not considered a person. Embryonic stem cell research can bring great advance in curing diseases that are untreatable today but should it continue to take place? Many people say embryonic stem cell research is unethical because an embryo has a moral status and killing it would be the same as killing a live human being. According to the article Embryonic stem cell research: an ethical dilemma, a human being is a human at the embryonic stage just as much as it is in the infant stage. The embryo will become a person and therefore should deserve the respect of a person. Taking embryonic stem cells out of embryos also prevent embryos from developing the way they are supposed to; into human beings. People also argue that embryonic stem cells should not continue because there are other options available other than embryonic stem cells that could potentially be more ethical and even safer. One alternative is adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are only found in existing tissue and do not require the killing of human embryos. According to J. C. Willke, adult stem cells can also

function more efficiently and safely than embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells can be taken from the patient themselves and re-injected. This will eliminate immune rejection which can cause a problem when using embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells have also been used many times in experiments in people while embryonic stem cell research is a newly introduced idea. Another alternative is induced pluripotent cells. These cells can turn into many different types of cells and also does not harm human embryos. According to Biotechnology with Student Activities by Laura M. Johnson, adult specialized cells such as skin cells are reprogrammed by turning on certain genes that allow the cell the cell to become more flexible. Embryonic stem cell research is unethical because embryos are also considered human beings so they should be killed and there are also other alternatives. Other people say that embryonic stem cell research is completely ethical. According to the article Embryonic stem cell research: an ethical dilemma, embryos are only part of other peoples bodies until they have developed enough to live on their own so they should therefore should be treated as property. It also states that If we destroy a blastocyst before implantation into the uterus we do not harm it because it has no beliefs, desires, expectations, aims or purposes to be harmed. An embryo is not yet considered a living human being because it does not possess the psychological, emotional, or physical properties that a human being had. It does not possess the characteristics of the living humans that we see. Another argument made that embryonic stem cell research is completely ethical is that embryos may fail to develop. An embryo which develops into a fetus may not always become a human being. According to Pregnancy Statistics, there are about 600,000 miscarriages in the United States every year. Therefore, taking embryonic stem cells from embryos is ethical because these embryos that do

not become living beings and are not humans should be used to benefit the people who are alive and human. In conclusion, embryonic stem cell research is a highly debated topic today. Many people say that it is unethical because embryos are human so they should not be killed and there are alternatives to using embryonic stem cells. On the other hand, people argue that embryos should only be treated as property because they do not possess the qualities need to be qualified as human so they should be used to benefit the ones that are human. I believe embryonic stem cell research is unethical because even though embryos cannot live on their own, they are still considered living. Also, if there are alternatives other than embryonic stem cells that could be more efficient and safer that are available, shouldnt they used rather than embryonic stem cells that kill embryos? Embryonic stem cell research is unethical in many ways and should not continue.

Bibliography

Cook, Michael. "Not with a Bang, but a Whimper: The Quiet Demise of Embryonic Stem Cell Research." LifeSiteNews. LifeSiteNews, 4 June 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.

Cook, Michael. "Not with a Bang, but a Whimper: The Quiet Demise of Embryonic Stem Cell Research." LifeSiteNews. LifeSiteNews, 4 June 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.

Johnson, Laura M. "What Is So Important About Stem Cells?" Biotechnology with Student Activities. N.p.: n.p., 2011. 176-78. Print.

Willke, J. C. "I'M PRO-LIFE AND OPPOSE EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH." Life Issues Institute, Inc. N.p., 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.