Numerous debates and arguments have already emerged on the issue of stem cell research. This has come to advent from the time scientists and researchers utilized human embryos in studies and researches. Those who have opposed the research contended that it is unacceptable to use human embryos for the purpose of research and experiments. It is however herein argued that the benefits and advantages that mankind can derive from stem cell research can supercede any negative issue that the opponents of the research has raised against it.
Understanding the Stem Cell
Stem cells are unspecialized animal cells that can renew themselves and replicate into any form of body cells. Stem cells are primarily categorized into three but pluripotent cells which can divide continually and has the ability to develop into any given form of cell, has been the basis of all the interest in the field of science and medicine. Pluripotent cells have the ability to develop into any given form of cell, otherwise known as stem cell plasticity.
Stem cell plasticity allows a single stem cell to develop and become a cell that makes up the brain, the heart or any other forms of cell in the body. Pluripotent stem cells are taken from young embryos and are therefore more popularly called as embryonic stem cells.
The reason why scientists are so eager to study pluripotent cells from embryos is that they can help in finding cure to a number of existent illnesses and diseases such as kidney failures, cancer, and heart diseases that, to date, have limited or non-existent treatment yet.
The Side of the Critics
Two premises have been the major contentions of those who are opposed to stem cell research. One is that stem cell research constitutes immorality in that critics of stem cell research argue that it is immoral to use and exploit human embryos for use in experiments and research. They say that an embryo has the potential to become a person and that destroying it is equitable to murder. They claim that destroying human embryos for the purpose of obtaining stem cell lines is murder of innocent lives.
The second contention of critics is that the use of human embryos in the research is a disrespect to the value and dignity of human lives present in an embryo (Bedford-Strohm).
Why Stem Cell is Beneficial
The reason why many researchers and other famous people support stem cell research is because of the potentials of the research in putting to end many of man’s physical illnesses, afflictions and ailments. Scientist, for example argue that studies of stem cells can bring forth the development and creation of new human organs that are much needed for transplants.
This is of much importance, according to the medical and scientific community for reason that organ transplants today are limited due to risks by the immune system to reject another organ from another person. Organs that are created out of stem cells, scientists contend, are not rejected and in fact complement the body of any person.
In addition to this, the number of patients that die because of the need for organ transplant has escalated not for reason of immune system rejection but because of the inavailability of organs that will be compatible for use in the transplants.
Scientists believe that when stem cell studies are pursued and improved, they will be able to create new organs that will cater to the needs of patients looking for compatible and available organs. These organs would be of such necessity to patients with kidney problems, cancer and several diseases who need new organs in order to survive, live normally and even live (Herold).
Scientists also argue that it is stem cell research is necessary because it will allow them to study human cells better which can result in the formulation of the proper treatment for diseases, injuries and ailments that currently inflict men. Cancer, for example, which has already claimed thousands of lives will hopefully have cures of stem cell research will be enhanced and pursued.
Limitations of the Critics’ Position
Those who are opposed to stem cell research only have two major reasons why they are against the conduct of the research: their claim that stem cell research is immoral in that it constitutes murder; and their claim that the dignity of the human person existent in human embryos are disregarded.
These very reasons in themselves have their own limitations in that while embryos that are used for stem cell research are indeed destroyed, these embryos that are in fact bound to die. It is important to consider that the embryos that are being used in stem cell research are taken with consent from in vitro fertilization where most surplus embryos die when storage facilities malfunction and when parents of these embryos decide not to take them because of economic reasons.
Whether there would be stem cell research or none, these embryos will not develop into human beings and most of these will become discarded without use. It is therefore better when instead of being disposed, these embryos will be utilized in research and studies that aim to improve human lives.
The other contention of those who are against stem cell research is that the dignity of the human person existent in a human embryo is being disrespected and ignored. Human embryos that are used in stem cell research, as already explained will not become humans and as such, no human dignity is being disrespected and if there were, it still remains more moral to sacrifice very young human embryos for the continued existence of grown up humans that need treatment for a number of diseases and ailments.
This is similar to saying that grown up people who needs proper treatment for their illnesses need more attention than very young embryos that would be sacrificed to meet the medical needs of grown up humans.
Benefits Over Disadvantages of Stem Cell Research
Stem cell research indeed has its limitations in the moral sense that its critics and opponents raise against it. These limitations and disadvantages, however, cannot supercede the benefits and advantages that can be brought about by the promises of stem cell research especially in the ability of stem cells to create new organs and to result in cure to many diseases that have tolled in many deaths and afflictions.
Stem cell research will brought forth new organs that are very much required for dying patients with body organs that have been damaged, no longer work and need replacement. The organs that will be created from the knowledge gained in stem cell research will give hope to patients whose days have already counted because of cancer, aids and similar incurable diseases. Stem cell research will allow these people to live better, healthier and happier. It is noteworthy to understand that the sacrifices, including the human embryos that have to be destroyed in the process of bringing more meaningful lives to others would not be much. This can be much understood when a family member or a loved one is on the verge of death and only the breakthroughs in stem cell research can make a difference.
Stem cell research has become a moral issue for reason that it makes use of human embryos for the purpose of research. The destruction of the human embryos in the conduct of the research has been considered by critics of stem cell research to constitute disrespect of human dignity and even murder.
This argument, however, have been proven to be false and that the sacrifices for the conduct of stem cell research is necessary to give hope particularly to those who suffer from incurable diseases and injuries. It has also been herein proven that while there may be sacrifices and disadvantages in the conduct of the research, the benefits which include giving better, happier and healthier lives to living persons supercede the disadvantages and sacrifices of stem cell research.