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Ethics of Stem Cell Research

A Learning Aid for UK Medical Students

❶But what exactly are the ethical arguments and why are they so tricky to resolve? Of course, research embryos in the lottery case would be viewed as both potential children and potential research tools.

This article is a part of the guide:

The ‘potentiality’ problem
I. Introduction
Question & Answer

But other critics of stem cell research support research on aborted fetuses, since those fetuses are already dead, yet oppose the destruction of embryos, because they consider the embryos to be alive — or at least have the potential to become a human being.

Some groups that do not oppose abortion are uneasy about the prospect of studying tissues derived from aborted fetuses or discarded embryos. For example, the United Methodist church supports abortions rights, but opposes the research industry's demand for embryos. Many ethicists and scientists also oppose embryonic research. In a July statement, bioethicists, scientists and legal scholars said they objected to embryonic stem cell research on the grounds that such research is both unethical and unnecessary.

Some of these critics argue that recent research showing that adult stem cells may be more versatile than previously thought, say scientists may soon be able to derive stem cells from adults. Those who are opposed to this research also believe that their tax dollars should not go to supporting the research regardless of whether or not the research is permitted.

Most critics of the embryo research ban contend that week-old blastocysts are not human beings, and that destroying those embryos does not constitute killing. At one week, embryos are merely a cluster of cells and not deserving of the protections afforded to others, they say. When conceived naturally, a blastocyst has not been implanted in the uterus by that time.

Most scientists argue that an embryo is not a person until it is at least two weeks old, when it develops a so-called primitive streak, the first evidence of a nervous system. A number of religious groups support embryonic stem cell research, and many Protestant sects and most Islamic and Jewish theologians also do not consider a young embryo to be a human being. Some critics of an embryo research ban point out that funding is already permitted for research on more advanced, aborted fetuses.

Advocates of embryo research say that the potential medical benefits of the research outweigh moral concerns about the embryo. They worry that a ban might cut off scientific opportunities "to those most qualified to make dramatic advances towards using stem cells for the treatment of disease," according to one group in favor of the research. All scientists must consider whether the positive effects from their research are likely to be significantly higher than the negative effects.

Stem Cells are crucial to develop organisms. They are nonspecialized cells which have the potential to create other types of specific cells, such as blood-, brain-, tissue- or muscle-cells. Some types of stem cells may be able to create all other cells in the body. Others have the potential to repair or replace damaged tissue or cells. Embryonic Stem Cells are developed from a female egg after it is fertilized by sperm.

The process takes days. Stem cell research is used for investigation of basic cells which develop organisms. The cells are grown in laboratories where tests are carried out to investigate fundamental properties of the cells.

The controversy surrounding stem cell research led to an intense debate about ethics. Up until the recent years, the research method mainly focused on Embryonic Stem Cells, which involves taking tissue from an aborted embryo to get proper material to study.

This is typically done just days after conception or between the 5th and 9th week. This is probably an important advancement in stem cell research, since it allows researchers to obtain pluripotent stem cells, which are important in research, without the controversial use of embryos. There were two main issues concerning stem cell research with both pros and cons:.

The first issue is really not just about stem cell research, as it may be applied to most research about human health. Since , the second point, concerns about the methods involved, has been less debated, because of scientific developments such as iPS.

As you will most probably notice, the following arguments are not exclusively in use when talking about stem cell research. Stem cell research can potentially help treat a range of medical problems.

It could lead humanity closer to better treatment and possibly cure a number of diseases:. Better treatment of these diseases could also give significant social benefits for individuals and economic gains for society. The controversy regarding the method involved was much tenser when researchers used Embryonic Stem Cells as their main method for stem cell research. These points are based on the old debate about the methods of stem cells research, from before Since then, scientists have moved on to use more ethical methods for stem cell research, such as iPS.

This section serves as an illustration of the difficult evaluations researchers may have to analyze. The stem cell-research is an example of the, sometimes difficult, cost-benefit analysis in ethics which scientists need to do. Even though many issues regarding the ethics of stem cell research have now been solved, it serves as a valuable example of ethical cost-benefit analysis. The previously heated debate seems to have lead to new solutions which makes both sides happier.

Stem Cell pros and cons had to be valued carefully, for a number of reasons. When you are planning a research project, ethics must always be considered.

If you cannot defend a study ethically, you should not and will not be allowed to conduct it. You cannot defend a study ethically unless the presumed cost is lower than expected benefits. Why was the debate regarding the stem cell research so intense? First, it was a matter of life - something impossible to measure.

And in this case, researchers had to do exactly that: Both an abortion and someone dying, suffering from a possible curable disease, is a tragedy. Which have the highest value? Does a big breakthrough in the research justify the use of the method in the present?

Top 10 Arguments Against Stem Cell Research

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Watch video · Embryonic stem cells offer hope for new therapies, but their use in research has been hotly debated. Presenting the issues, rationale and key ethical arguments.

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What are the arguments against stem cell research? Stem Cell Research I strongly oppose human cloning, as do most Americans. We recoil at the idea of growing human beings for spare body parts, or creating life for our convenience.

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Apr 14,  · Good arguments can be made both for and against paying donors of research Human stem cell research raises some ethical issues that are beyond the mission of institutional review boards (IRBs) to protect human subjects, as well as the expertise of IRB members. Oberman M, Reijo Pera R, Wagner RM, Wuerth MT, . On the standard argument against HESC research, While it may take several years before researchers succeed in deriving gametes from human stem cells, the research holds much promise for basic science and clinical application. Holm, S., , “The Ethical Case Against Stem Cell Research,” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics .

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Critics against stem cell research argued that the ethical issues of scientific work on aborted fetuses did not justify the possible benefits. "A life is a life and that should never be compromised. A fertilized egg should be valued as . Sep 05,  · The Case Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research: An Interview with Yuval Levin There has been some discussion that this advance makes the moral and ethical debate over embryonic stem cells moot. Do you think that’s an accurate assessment? And so, to my mind, the argument at the heart of the embryonic stem cell debate is the argument.