Human Stem Cell Research : Ethical Dilemmas With The Utility Of Embryonic Stem Cells

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Trevor McCarthy Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) research possesses ethical dilemmas with the utility of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) derived from human blastocyst, one of the earliest stages of embryonic development. Embryonic stem cell derivation is controversial because there are different opinions and beliefs on when an embryo is deserving of full moral status, equal to the moral respect, rights and treatment to that of a human being. ESCs extracted from a blastocyst will undergo experimentation that would be considered unethical if it were performed on humans. Having a restrictive federal policy would eliminate the unethical destruction of blastocyst that is required to extract ESCs and it would push the scientific community to find other means to provide cells with the equivalent or sufficient potential to attenuate or cure disease, such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Moreover, a restrictive policy would also terminate the unethical experimentation that embryos and fetuses undergo in laboratories across the U.S. The United States requires the integration of restrictive ESC policy for the following reasons: an embryo at all stages has the potential to form human life and is deserving of full moral status, and the need for ESC research can be rendered obsolete now that induced pluripotent stem cells are available. From the moment the egg is fertilized, the embryo holds full potential to become a human being and thus deserves dignity and unrestricted

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