Science brings society to the next level; ethics keep us there. Dr. Hal simeroth
A large portion of the debate behind stem cell research is associated with embryonic stem cells. Stem cell research thus raised difficult questions:
- Does life begin at fertilization or the womb?
- Is a human embryo equivalent to a human child?
- Does a human embryo have any rights?
- Might the destruction of a single embryo be justified if it provides a cure for a countless number of patients?
- Since embryonic stem cells can grow indefinitely in a dish and can, in theory, still grow into a human being, is the embro really destroyed?
Many of these questions have been left unanswered, so embryonic stem cell research has yet to be experimented with in humans. The stem cells have been deemed "unproven," and "unsafe." They tend to produce malignant carcinomas, cause transplant rejection, and form the wrong kinds of cells
Private investors aren't funding embryonic stem cell research. They are funding adult stem cell research, which is an ethical alternative. However, adult, or somatic stem cells are unable to differentiate into any type of cell the way embryonic stem cells are able to.
Some of the most startling advancements using adult stem cells have come in treating Parkinson's disease, juvenile diabetes, and spinal cord injuries.
- How can “good” and “bad” uses of gene therapy be distinguished?
- Who decides which traits are normal and which constitute a disability or disorder?
- Will the high costs of gene therapy make it available only to the wealthy?
- Could the widespread use of gene therapy make society less accepting of people who are different?
- Should people be allowed to use gene therapy to enhance basic human traits such as height, intelligence, or athletic ability?
Even though parents want what is best for their child, they should not be allowed to change the genetics of their offspring. Humans need to consider gene therapy as a gift of life, something that could change people’s lives by possibly curing them of a terminal disease or even preventing them from having such a disease in the first place. Humans should not be thinking of it as a gift of aesthetic. Instead of changing their child to be something that it’s not, the parents should teach their child to “act tall,” to demand and earn respect because of his/ her personality rather than their looks. Assuming the embryo even lives, considering gene therapy is still in clinical trials, it is better to teach a child to have a “tall attitude,” than to gamble their life for the sole purpose of changing their appearance, even if all they wish is the best. Humans do not have the right to play God for aesthetic. However, for the purpose of treating disease, embryonic stem cells are a beneficial alternative to traditional methods. Yet, I believe that there should be more testing to ensure the stem cells are entirely safe for use on humans.