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Stem Cell Research-The ethics behind the issue

                Sheila Sierra

               March 19, 2010
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       This paper describes the ethics in stem cell research. It points out the benefits of the

process, what it does and how it helps individuals. Scientists have shown the many benefits that

this process brings along with it and the types of diseases it can cure. The counterarguments are

also pointed out, in order to show the other side of the argument, what other people think and

what their beliefs are. This scientific process is a very controversial topic nowadays, since the

method through which it is done is very unethical for many people.
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       Stem cell Research- The ethics behind the issue                             Sheila Sierra

       As new technology has risen, so have new techniques, such that make life better for

humanity. One example of the contemporary era is stem cell research.

       A stem cell is a "generic" cell that can make exact copies of itself indefinitely. In
       addition, a stem cell has the ability to produce specialized cells for various tissues in the
       body -- such as heart muscle, brain tissue, and liver tissue. Scientists are able to maintain
       stem cells forever, developing them into specialized cells as needed (Healthscout, 2009).

        Although this issue is controversial today, it brings many benefits to the individuals who

depend on this source to save their lives. This newly discovered medical process promises the

best results for the sick people, in which many lives are saved and the rates of survival are

higher. The controversial question is whether or not this issue is unethical. Based on the

characteristics of this research, it is not unethical due to the benefits it brings to many individuals

who have acquired treatment. Stem cell research has benefitted many lives before and it will

keep on helping many more.

       Ever since stem cells were discovered in human cord blood in 1978, many promises were

brought to humanity. It is a research that has saved many lives since it is a process that replaces

defective cells in the body with new ones. “Survival rates were highest (33 percent) for those

bone marrow transplants with matched unrelated donors.”(Sciencedaily, 2004) The survival

rates for patients have increased ever since stem cell research is available through bone marrow

transplant. “Scientists are exploring less controversial avenues of research, using adult stem

cells that are trained to act like embryonic stem cells.” (Watson, n.d.) It is an ethical procedure

since researchers and scientists are trying new, non harmful ways to perform these studies and

cure diseases.
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        To demonstrate the ethics in this process, doctors will test potential drugs and medicines

without the use of animal and human testers, there will be no more hurtful, unethical testing on

animals and humans, reducing the ethical controversy. With this “new discovery,” a limb and an

organ can be grown in a lab all by itself, outside of the human or animal body. “Limbs and

organs could be grown in a lab from stem cells and then used in transplants or to help treat

illnesses.” (Buzzle, 2010). These advancements benefit everyone, especially those who act

“morally correct” according to the general denomination of the term, for example those who base

their morals on religion.

        This research is working positively today, and it promises even more for the future of the

ill people in the entire world.

         Of course, there are dozens of other diseases stem cell research is also working on,
        including treatments for cancer and cardiovascular issues, vision or ocular disease
        processes like retinitis pigmentosa and corneal regeneration, as well as musculoskeletal
        disorders like muscular dystrophy.(Articlesbase, 2010)
        Stem cell research promises the cure for many diseases in a near future. There were

experiments done in mice that could not walk and stem cells were implanted in their spinal cords

and they could walk again. This means that in near future cells in specific body parts will be

replaced and people will be able to have a healthier future.

         Stem cell research is a great deal for those who need a cure and it has demonstrated

positive results in humans and animals, however, there are arguments that oppose this issue. First

of all, it is argued that stem cell research is a slippery slope to human cloning, in other words, it

is cloning in a smaller degree, and this duplication process is considered, for many, unethical.

This leads to the conclusion that those who are in favor of stem cell research are also in favor of

human cloning. Additionally, the way the cells are obtained and transplanted is harmful. The
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bone marrow transplant is hurtful and harms the body of the donor and the researches obtain the

cells through the human embryos.

       A life is a life and that should never be compromised. A fertilized egg should be valued
       as a human life even if it is in its very first weeks. Destroying human life in the hopes of
       saving human life is not ethical. (Stem Cell Research-Pros and Cons, 2008).
Some believe that human life starts at the union of a sperm and egg. Thus, they believe that the

usage of an embryo is killing a human being in order to save another.

        These statements are not reliable in terms of ethics because these methods are not

necessarily true. First, stem cell research is not considered cloning because it repairs cells and

changes the damaged ones for healthy ones. “Clinics create more embryos than are needed over

the course of a fertility treatment and are left with excess embryos that are often discarded.”

(Stem Cells, n.d.). Lives are not being taken away because discarded embryos are used. The

discarded embryo usage is a very huge debate, the whole reason why some people believe that

stem cell research is unethical. Even though to some this might seem unethical, the embryos in

the lab are not considered human life unless in the mother’s womb. “If potential parents decide

against having more children, scientists working with stem cells might ask them to consider

donating the unneeded embryos to research” (Reeves, n.d.). Many embryos are created, and

couple use them to have babies, but when they do not want to have any more children, then the

discarded embryos can have a better use. Concerning the pain and harm done to the body, there

is anesthesia that makes the donors sleep through the process and not feel any pain at all.

        The ethics behind this issue is that stem cell research is not an unethical process, based

on all the characteristics and new methods implied that benefit the lives of many. People can be

part of this treatment, without feeling that they are doing something morally wrong. This process

promises many cures in the future, for many diseases that are taking away many lives in the
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present. Ever since it was discovered in 1978, it has benefitted many lives and it will keep on

saving many in the years to come.
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 AAAS Policy Brief: Stem Cell Research. (n.d.).March 25, 2009,

Healthscout. (2009, 04 01). Retrieved 16 2010, 2010, from

Reaves, J. (n.d.). The Great Debate Over Stem Cell Research. March 10, 2010,,8599,167245,00.html

Stem Cells. (n.d.). March 10, 2010,

Watson, S. (n.d.). How Stem Cells Work. March 10, 2010,

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