Stem Cell Research Essay On Abortion

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Stem cell research has been a controversial issue since the first human embryonic stem cells were isolated from human embryo’s in 1998. This discovery has allowed for major advancements to occur in disease research and drug development, however there has been much opposition to the research because it requires a human embryo to be killed. Recently, scientists have been experimenting with adult stem cells that can be induced to mimic embryonic stem cells, and does not require the death of a human embryo.

The main issue with stem cell research is the question: when does a embryo become human? The definition of when a person becomes a person is extremely unclear with many arguing that a person is a person from fertilisation. Embryonic stem cells
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They believe that embryos, particularly the blastocysts that are used in stem cell research, do not have the physical, emotional or intellectual characteristics that are associated with human beings. An embryo does not develop a nervous system until it is around 14 days old, this means that when the stem cells are extracted between day 5 and 7, the blastocyst feels nothing. The overwhelming majority of embryos used in stem cell research are left over or excess embryos from IVF, with the consent of both donors. In Australia it is illegal to artificially produce an embryo in a laboratory for scientific research, they must be donated. If these fertilised eggs where not donated for scientific research they would most likely be killed anyway. For embryos to fully develop into humans they must be transferred into a uterus, they cannot do it on their own, embryos require external help. There is also a chance the embryo will not develop as conception via IVF has a success rate of approximately 50%. The stem cells extracted from are used to help with the understanding of diseases and developing drugs and treatments for them. One example of this is trials that are under way at the moment that are investigating whether embryonic stem cells can be used to help patients with cardiovascular disease. Heart diseases are the leading cause of death in Australia and stem cells could hold the secret to treating these conditions. Scientists are also researching the possible implementation of stem cells in the treatment of other diseases like diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and many forms of cancer. Stem cell researchers argue that because embryos do not exhibit the emotional, intellectual or physical qualities of a human they do not need to be protected when cells from something that might become human could be used to help many people that are actually

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