The use of human embryonic stem provides future hope for the treatment of many diseases. Stem cell research helps to understand basic mechanisms of development and differentiation of humans beings and it also provides hope to find treatments of some common diseases like diabetes, injury of spinal cord, Parkinson’s disease, and myocardial infarction (heart attack). However, this stem cell research faces many legal and ethical obligations many which are affecting the research for development of these cell-replacement therapies. The greatest challenge for this research is to maintain respect for human life and overcome the ethical concerns. The origin of pluripotent stem cell lines from oocytes and embryos is filled with differences of opinion about the inception of human personhood. There are various concerns arising related to sensitive downstream research. There are concerns regarding the permission to donate materials for research, early clinical trials of hSC therapies, and error of hSC research. These ethical and policy concerns are required to be examined along with scientific challenges to make certain that stem cell research is carried out in an ethically and legally suitable method.
Stem cell research raises general questions about the suitable distribution of resources of government and private in the field of biomedical science. In the United States, the matter of when human life begins has been extremely divisive. People know that embryos grow to become human beings and if embryos are implanted in the uterus of female, she can give birth to a normal child. However, some people believe that an embryo is a living individual with the same moral significance as an adult or a new born child. Because of religious faith and moral sincerity, people believe that “human life begins at conception” and thus embryo is a person. According to this analysis, an embryo has interests and rights that must be respected. Therefore, from this viewpoint, to take a blastocyst and remove the inner cell mass to obtain an embryonic stem cell line is equivalent to murder. When frozen embryos are donated then many ethical concerns arises such as, informed approval from the woman or couple donating the embryo, approval from donors of the gamete who are involved in the conception of the embryo, and the privacy of information of donor.
Stem cell research can provide information that will allow certain individuals to live longer and improved lives. It can also help to treat diseases whose cure has not been found out till now. However, effectiveness of treatment using stem cell research is also a major concern. People who participate in debates regarding stem cell technology should also identify lack in the health system. Encouragement for stem cell research should include support for a better health system. If there is no improvement in the health care systems then any curative benefits which can be developed through stem cell research will be unfairly restricted to fortunate patients who can have access to best health care services.
Dresser, R. (2010). Stem Cell Research as Innovation: Expanding the Ethical and Policy Conversation. Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics, 38(2), 332-341. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2010.00492.x