Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"Debating the Ethics of Stem Cell Research" from

A fair round-up of the issues regarding ESCR is right here. Via Here's a taste:
The research around stem cells is primarily focused on how to 'train' them, so as to specialise in specific tissues. The purpose for that would be to treat patients who have been diagnosed with a disease where the cells are not functioning properly. Once these stem cells have been trained outside of the body, they would later be put inside the body, either by injection or direct placement.

As more scientists have explored stem cells, they have realized that they could be found through different sources: umbilical cords, bone marrow, placentas, aborted babies and embryos—the latter being one of the most controversial.

The use of embryos is central to in vitro fertilization (IVF). Many couples unable to have children revert to IVF. Often, the process results in IVF clinics having to deal with excess embryos.

If excess embryos are donated for research, the stem cells in each embryo's nucleus are removed—ending the embryo's development cycle. This procedure has divided Christians and non-Christians alike. Some argue that removing stem cells from an embryo is killing human life. Others argue that while an embryo has the potential to become life, at that stage it is not.
I have only a few complaints. One is that no mention is made of the latest developments in Adult Stem-Cell Research. For instance, adult stem cells possess the same ability as embryonic stem cells to multiply. I'm not surprised, however. Only one other media source mentioned it. Another concern I have is treatment. ASCR has led to more treatments than ESCR. You won't find that out from this essay.

Otherwise, it surveys the issues well. Check it out.