Should Embryonic Stem Cells Be Used For Medical Research?
Ethical issues plague the minds of doctors, politicians, and other members of society alike. Research in the medical field often drives the need for new technology and methods based on the findings of experiments being conducted in the field. At the same time, the research material can be as controversial as any other issue in society. One of the issues being faced today is whether or not embryonic stem cells should be used for medical research?
The reasons that stem cell research is highly sought after have to do with the function of stem cells. A stem cell is a type of cell that gives rise to other cells. In other words, it has not been programmed with the necessary information to designate what type of cell it is to become. A stem cell can be used to make anything from a liver cell to a neuron. There are obvious possible benefits to having a cell that can be designated to become any type of cell found in the body. Some of these could be nervous tissue regeneration, the removal of societies dependence on organ donation, Alzheimer’s’, and even defeating cancer (AAAS, 2005).
With all of the possible benefits to stem cell research, why is it a controversial subject? The answer is that stem cell research requires stem cells. Stem cells are found in the developing embryo and umbilical cords of human beings. One of the ideas that were presented in harvesting these cells linked it to another controversial subject in society, abortion. This linking of two controversial topics put a cease on all research until the government could find a middle ground. The removal of funding and the implementation of strict guidelines were overcome in 2001 by an amendment to a previous decision to allow a limited number of cell lines to be released for research (NewsMax, 2002).
The public outcry against stem cell research and the removal of much of its funding led scientists to discover new techniques in...