Stem cells are a growing field for research. Many pursue this field due to the fact that it can solve many illnesses. Since stem cells are extracted from embryos, people have an ethical problem with it. Those who research stem cells believe there are ethical restrictions, but that is not true. As a result of stem cell research, embryos are being harmed or destroyed; therefore stem cell research should only be performed if there is an alternative solution. Stem cells are undefined cells that are able to self replicate. According to “Stem Cells. ” There are several types of stem cells and cell lines.
One type are embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are a type of cell that is actually collected from inside of the embryo, which is in its blastocyst stage. Another is called embryonic germ cells. These are collected from the fetal gonads that come later in the development of an embryo. Both of these types of cells are pluripotent meaning they are capable of producing daughter cells. They are also able to turn into many tissue and organs (“Stem Cells”, par. 1). All of this could help people with untreatable diseases or be able to give a person with a heart problem a heart right away instead of waiting for one.
Many influential people have changed the policies regarding stem cells. According to the article “Stem Cells Controversies and Research. ”, in 1995, Bill Clinton banned any funding that the government gave to stem cell research that harmed or made human embryos (“Stem Cells Controversies and Research”, par. 6). He allowed the researchers to test on already developed cell lines though. This was an ethical idea for stem cell research; it allowed researchers to keep testing, but kept them from hurting embryos. This idea was added onto 6 years later, 1 year after President George Bush came into power.
In an book called “Genetic Engineering”, it states that on August 9, 2001, George W. Bush ordered the banning of federal funding of research using human embryonic cells (64-65). This executive order still have room to allow for state or private funding, though it put many restrictions. This put even more firm regulations on the testing, and caused them to be able to do much since much of what they needed was prohibited. This was all undone many years later in 2009. President Barack Obama gave an executive order lifting the ban of federal funding for stem cell research.
That same year in October, a group was created to review where the human stem cells came from and how they were received to make sure they are eligible to receive federal funding. Because of this executive order at least 200 stem cell lines were approved (“Stem Cell Controversies and Research”, par. 12). While this placed more of the internationally ethical restrictions on stem cell testing, people should still have some values and not test on embryo, whether or not it is technically a child. Due to the stem cells being extracted from the embryo, the embryos are being harmed.
Since the embryo is only at the blastocyst stage, taking the stem cells from the inner mass of the harms the embryo and could destroy it (“Stem cells”, par. 1 and 12). Peter Moore says that there are two sides to the argument on whether or not stem cell research should be banned. For this reason many people say that stem cell research should be banned (“Stem Cell Research, 39). They say that the fact that it could cure untreatable diseases such as diabetes does not outweigh the fact that researchers are destroying or harming embryos.
On the other side of the argument, others say that the possibility that the stem cells can get someone a new heart without them having to wait on a waiting list should not be put on hold due to ethics, such as harming embryos. According to Peter Moore, there are many ethical restrictions such as not letting researchers experiment on embryos that are more than a certain age (“Stem Cell Research”, 38). There are not enough though. In “Stem Cell Research” it states that there is an act called The Human Fertilization and Embryology Act from the United Kingdom gives some ethical boundary (39).
It only allows researcher to use an embryo if it is only 14 days old or less. The act also states that the people should know that there are clear guidelines and the people of the country should be told that, along with the fact that the researchers are under careful supervision. But even with the restrictions the embryos are still being hurt. Moore says that the countries of Germany and Italy only allow stem cell research if and only if there are ‘spare’ embryos and those have to come from a fertility clinic (“Stem Cell Research”, 38).
This is not at all ethical because there should not be a such thing as ‘spare’ embryos. Those embryos still are capable of becoming a child that can have a life. While all these efforts try to protect the embryos from harm there still are better ways. The researchers have other options, that are solutions, in how they can get the stem cells. According to a book called, “Genetic Engineering. ”, adult skin cells can be changes to give them the properties of embryonic stem cells (64).
This solution gives researchers the ability to research stem cells and it does not hurt any embryos since the stem cell is not derived from the it.. Another solution that Constance Stein says is possible is to use cloned monkey cells in place of the stem cells (“Stem Cells”, par. 12). This does not hurt any human whether they are adults that skin cells are being collected from them or embryos, which are being destroyed. While these solutions are out there, most researchers prefer to go the traditional way of using the stem cells that are derived from the embryos and hurting them.
They do this due to the fact it is easier than getting cloned monkeys or asking adults to give them their skin cells. There should be more regulations stating that researchers should use this method to research stem cells and create cell lines to help others. If using cells with different properties that can be manipulated proves to be hard for labs that are used to the traditional way, there are other solutions. The article named “Stem Cell Eye Therapy Shows Promise. ” states that, there is a way to remove one cell from the embryo without hurting it.
Removing multiple cells hurt the embryo because it has not had the chance to replicate, but if a researcher only removes one cell, while the embryo still is in its blastocyst stage, that cell can replicate outside of the embryo (“Stem Cell Eye Therapy Shows Promise”, par. 27). This can create many different cell lines giving the researcher the cells they need to research stem cells. There is also another solution that can remove stem cells from an embryo without hurting it. According to Constance Stein, researchers can remove multiple cell from the amniotic fluid surrounding the embryo (“Stem Cells”, par. 11).
Since it is not injecting the embryo itself, it does not hurt the embryo. While the stem cell is still coming from the place the embryo is, it doesn’t touch the embryo and gives researchers the results they want. Laws and regulations should require laboratories to test embryos by either getting stem cells from adult skin cells or cloned monkey, or extract only one cell from the embryo or the amniotic fluid surrounding the embryo. Overall, there are multiple ways to extract stem cells without harming any embryos. Some countries say that their stem cell research is restricted by ethical guidelines, but they are still hurting a potential person.
Due to the fact that it is harmful to so many potential children, it is very controversial. This research has been a controversy for many years, but these could be suspended if researchers used other methods, such as using normal adult skin cells. The research could be done and the embryos are not being harmed or destructed. Currently, while the research is benefitting others by giving them medical treatment, it is not worth the cost. Countries all over the world should find other options than testing on unborn children. Stem cell research should only be allowed if there are other alternatives than hurting children.