Embryonic Stem Cell Source Controversy
What if one day a beloved one had an accident and became paralyzed from the neck down because of a severe spinal cord injury and would never be able to walk again? But what if there was the possibility of repairing the damaged spinal cord? There is a great new field of research in which scientists are trying to find ways to solve this type of problem alongwith many others through stem cell research. Nevertheless, ever since stem cell research started, there has been much debate over whether or not it should be allowed. Should stem cell research be allowed? Yes, but only if stem cell derivation is obtained from laboratory cell cultures and not from induced abortions.
Stem cell research has been a major biological breakthrough in recent years. Astem cell could help your beloved to walk again by repairing the damage. For example, cells that are damaged or dying, due to injury, disease or ageing, the hope is that introduced stem cells can come in and take over their function, repairing tissues or by finding the cure for terminal diseases. As a result it can produce therapies targeting specific diseases. Because of the great benefits it hasthe potential to help people and ease suffering. Recently it has become widely known to the public because of the benefits of the technology that is coming closer to reality. It offers good benefits but, there is a moral question raised about stem cell sources. The controversy emerges because this experimentation involves the destruction of human embryos and it is considered unethical because humanbeings should never be sacrificed for the benefit of others. This is considered unethical because some people think that at the fecundation stage life starts so it is seen as a murder.
So, what are stem cells? Stem cells are cells with the ability to divide for an indefinite period in culture and to give rise to specialized cells (Stem Cell Information, 2009). Most cells can only producelimited copies of the same kind, but stem cells, by contrast, can develop into many different cell types in Embryonic stem cells 3
the body. For example, a stem cell can differentiate into a brain cell, kidney cell, a blood cell or other type of body organ cell. That’s because it has the capacity to develop into a whole human being.
Stem cells are divided into two groups: adult stem cells andembryonic stem cells. These types of cells vary from where they are derivated and in their abilities of transformation. Stem cells can be found in embryos and in many mature tissues, including bone marrow, blood, the brain, hair follicles, fat, the pancreas and umbilical cords (Pollick, 2009). The most used one is the embryonic stem cell whose source is from embryos at the third stage. This third stageis known as the blastocyst . Blastocysts are about the size of a grain of sand and typically consist of about 150 cells. At this stage the blastocyst has only two types of cells: inner cell mass and trophoblast. Stem cells are taken from the inner cell mass. The controversy over the embryonic stem cells is that some people consider blastocyst is the beginning of the human being life. So, byremoving the inner cell mass the blastocyst is unable to develop further so, it would be considered a murder. These cells can also be derivated from a lab cell culture meaning that a scientist creates a stem cell from an oocite (unfertilized egg) and spermatozoo (spermatozoid) that are voluntarily donated. These cells are grown in a controlled environment. Another more controversial manner to obtainthese cells is from an embryo that came from an induced abortion. In this case when a research center needs embryos they publish advertisements requesting embryos. A woman who wants to end her pregnancy may consent to an induced abortion or in other cases wants to sell the embryo with the intention of making money.
The cells that are found in mature tissue are called adult stem cells . These...
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