The embryo has increasing status as it develops An embryo deserves some protection from the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, and its moral status increases as it becomes more human-like. Implantation of the embryo into the uterus wall around six days after fertilization. Appearance of the primitive streak — the beginnings of the nervous system — at around 14 days. The phase when the baby could survive if born prematurely. If a life is lost, we tend to feel differently about it depending on the stage of the lost life.
A fertilized egg before implantation in the uterus could be granted a lesser degree of respect than a human fetus or a born baby. More than half of all fertilized eggs are lost due to natural causes. If the natural process involves such loss, then using some embryos in stem cell research should not worry us either.
Whatever moral status the human embryo has for us, the life that it lives has a value to the embryo itself. If we judge the moral status of the embryo from its age, then we are making arbitrary decisions about who is human. For example, even if we say formation of the nervous system marks the start of personhood, we still would not say a patient who has lost nerve cells in a stroke has become less human. But there is a difference between losing some nerve cells and losing the complete nervous system - or never having had a nervous system.
If we are not sure whether a fertilized egg should be considered a human being, then we should not destroy it. A hunter does not shoot if he is not sure whether his target is a deer or a man. The embryo has no moral status at all An embryo is organic material with a status no different from other body parts.
If we destroy a blastocyst before implantation into the uterus we do not harm it because it has no beliefs, desires, expectations, aims or purposes to be harmed. By taking embryonic stem cells out of an early embryo, we prevent the embryo from developing in its normal way. This means it is prevented from becoming what it was programmed to become — a human being. Different religions view the status of the early human embryo in different ways. For example, the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and conservative Protestant Churches believe the embryo has the status of a human from conception and no embryo research should be permitted.
Judaism and Islam emphasize the importance of helping others and argue that the embryo does not have full human status before 40 days, so both these religions permit some research on embryos.
Other religions take other positions. EuroStemCell factsheet on ethical issues relating to the sources of embyronic stem cells. EuroStemCell factsheet on the science of embryonic stem cells. This factsheet was created by Kristina Hug. Images courtesy of Wellcome Images: Embryonic stem cell research: What are the issues being discussed? What is the rationale for different opinions?
Some people see destroying a blastula for its cells as destroying an unborn child. Where does the middle ground lie? The ethical dilemma What moral status does the human embryo have? Embryonic stem cell research and religion Find out more Acknowledgements and references.
It forces us to choose between two moral principles: The duty to prevent or alleviate suffering The duty to respect the value of human life In the case of embryonic stem cell research, it is impossible to respect both moral principles. Arguments for this view Arguments against this view Development from a fertilized egg into to baby is a continuous process and any attempt to pinpoint when personhood begins is arbitrary. There is a cut-off point at 14 days after fertilization Some people argue that a human embryo deserves special protection from around day 14 after fertilization because: After 14 days the embryo can no longer split to form twins.
Before this point, the embryo could still be split to become two or more babies, or it might fail to develop at all. Before day 14, the embryo has no central nervous system and therefore no senses. Stem cell research can potentially help treat a range of medical problems. It could lead humanity closer to better treatment and possibly cure a number of diseases:.
Better treatment of these diseases could also give significant social benefits for individuals and economic gains for society. The controversy regarding the method involved was much tenser when researchers used Embryonic Stem Cells as their main method for stem cell research. These points are based on the old debate about the methods of stem cells research, from before Since then, scientists have moved on to use more ethical methods for stem cell research, such as iPS.
This section serves as an illustration of the difficult evaluations researchers may have to analyze. The stem cell-research is an example of the, sometimes difficult, cost-benefit analysis in ethics which scientists need to do. Even though many issues regarding the ethics of stem cell research have now been solved, it serves as a valuable example of ethical cost-benefit analysis. The previously heated debate seems to have lead to new solutions which makes both sides happier.
Stem Cell pros and cons had to be valued carefully, for a number of reasons. When you are planning a research project, ethics must always be considered. If you cannot defend a study ethically, you should not and will not be allowed to conduct it. You cannot defend a study ethically unless the presumed cost is lower than expected benefits.
Why was the debate regarding the stem cell research so intense? First, it was a matter of life - something impossible to measure.
And in this case, researchers had to do exactly that: Both an abortion and someone dying, suffering from a possible curable disease, is a tragedy. Which have the highest value? Does a big breakthrough in the research justify the use of the method in the present? Would the benefits of studying abortions outweigh the costs? The choice was subjective: Nobody knows all the risks or all the possible outcomes, so we had to value it with our perception of the outcome. Perception is influenced by our individual feelings, morals and knowledge about the issue.
Second, at the time we did not know whether the research was necessary and sufficient to give us the mentioned health benefits. Third, other consequences of the research are uncertain. Could the research be misused in the future or not? We simply do not know. All knowledge acquired, within research or other arenas, may be used for evil causes in the future - it is impossible to know. The Stem cell research-debate is an example on how people value various aspects differently.
It is also an example of how critics and debate can lead to significant improvements for both sides. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:. Retrieved Sep 14, from Explorable. The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4. You can use it freely with some kind of link , and we're also okay with people reprinting in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, course-material, papers, wikipedia and presentations with clear attribution.
This article is a part of the guide: Select from one of the other courses available: Don't miss these related articles:.
Aug 09, · The Case Against Stem Cell Research Opponents of research on embryonic cells, including many religious and anti-abortion groups, contend that embryos are human beings with the same rights — and thus entitled to the same protections against abuse — as anyone else.
Mar 15, · This decision comes amidst a heated debate regarding the medical and economic potential of stem cell research as against its ethical pitfalls. The scientific, legal, ethical and philosophical arguments have been discussed extensively (Mieth, ; Colman and Burley, ).
A lot of people don’t realize there are other cwmetr.gqnic stem cell research, unlike the others, in order to utilize a stem cell derived from a human embryo, it requires the destruction of that embryo – the destruction of life. Sep 05, · The Pew Forum and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press have done polling on this issue over the last six or seven years and have found that Americans generally favor embryonic stem cell research.
What are the arguments against stem cell research? Stem Cell Research I strongly oppose human cloning, as do most Americans. We recoil at the idea of growing human beings for spare body parts, or creating life for our convenience. Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Research. These new developments could help win stem cell research more support from those against embryonic stem cell research since they don't require the destruction of blastocysts. The use of embryonic stem cells for research involves the destruction of blastocysts formed from laboratory-fertilized human.