Stem Cell Research Ethics Essay

Stem Cell Research Ethics Essay-84
We share our knowledge and peer-reveiwed research papers with libraries, scientific and engineering societies, and also work with corporate R&D departments and government entities.Human embryonic stem cell (HESC) research offers much hope for alleviating the human suffering brought on by the ravages of disease and injury.This process of disaggregating the blastocyst’s cells eliminates its potential for further development.

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It also encompasses questions about, among other things, whether researchers who use but do not derive HESCs are complicit in the destruction of embryos, whether there is a moral distinction between creating embryos for research purposes and creating them for reproductive ends, the permissibility of cloning human embryos to harvest HESCs, and the ethics of creating human/non-human chimeras.

This entry provides an overview of all but the last two issues just listed; cloning and human-non-human chimeras are addressed in separate entries.

To show that researchers who use but do not derive HESCs participate in an immoral activity, one would further need to establish their complicity in the destruction of embryos. But for the moment, let us address the argument that it is unethical to destroy human embryos.

A premise of the argument against killing embryos is that human embryos are human beings.

While each of the cells is alive, they only become parts of a human organism when there is substantial cell differentiation and coordination, which occurs around day-16 after fertilization.

Thus, on this account, disaggregating the cells of the 5-day embryo to derive HESCs does not entail the destruction of a human being.

In its most basic form, the central argument supporting the claim that it is unethical to destroy human embryos goes as follows: It is morally impermissible to intentionally kill innocent human beings; the human embryo is an innocent human being; therefore it is morally impermissible to intentionally kill the human embryo.

It is worth noting that this argument, if sound, would not suffice to show that all or even most HESC research is impermissible, since most investigators engaged in HESC research do not participate in the derivation of HESCs but instead use cell lines that researchers who performed the derivation have made available.

The prospect of our going out of existence through fission does not pose a threat to our current status as distinct human persons.

Likewise, one might argue, the fact that a zygote may divide does not create problems for the view that the zygote is a distinct human being.


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