Embryonic Stem Cell Research MYP Essay
January 31, 2014
Embryonic stem cell research is a hotly debated subject in the science world. Stem cell research is a biological study of stem cells from a human embryo. Scientist extract stem cells from the embryo and are testing them to possibly cure disorders and diseases passed down from generation to generation or serious injuries, some examples could be: Alzheimer’s, cancer, spinal cord damage, heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s, all of which currently have no cure. A lot of controversy starts to come in to play at this point though.
To start I should probably explain what an embryo is. A human embryo is the fertilized egg from zero to eight weeks of development. After the eight week marker the embryo is classified as a fetus and is no longer eligible to be used for the stem cell research. The short time period that the embryo can have the stem cells extracted from is a large part of why it is so difficult to perform the research project other than the controversy that surrounds the subject. A major breakthrough for embryonic stem cell research was just published on January 29, 2014.
Scientist who had wanted to avoid embryonic stem cell research due to their personal views on using an embryo, and have been using adult stem cells for their research, which can only grow into certain cells, but this may only be a problem of the past. Researches have created embryonic stem cells structure without an embryo. Although the structure was made by plant extractions, researchers feel like they will soon be able to replicate the results with an adult human stem cell.
There are also downsides to extracting stem cells from the embryo. The process of extraction may damage the embryo in such a way that the development process could be harmed and result in permanent disabilities as the child grows into an adult. Extraction could also cause the embryo to never reach the fetus stage and be destroyed. There is almost an infinite amount of upsides to the embryonic stem cell research, but any actual cures that could come from this form of stem cell research are many years away.
I think that a lot of non-supporters of the embryonic stem cell research are not supportive because they believe by extracting the steam cells from the embryo is damaging a human life. I personally do not think of embryos and fetuses as their own human life but part of the mother and carrier, and that they are their own human life when they are outside of the womb, so to me the obvious choice seems to be extract the stem cells from the embryo. Over 100 million people, in the United States of America alone, suffer from a disease or injury that could be improved or even cured