The Dilemma of Stem Cell Research

William - USA
Entered on September 17, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: science
  • Top 100 Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

Science has always been key to our enlightenment. Through it, we have a better understanding of ourselves and the environment around us. In the field of medicine, science has allowed us to prolong and alleviate lives. However, because this seeking of knowledge is not the only aspect that makes us human, it can be hindered from conflicted reasoning, primarily ethics. It is not that morals are the problem, so much as science cannot be a justification in any way for misdeeds and cruelty.

Such an example of this circumstance is that of embryonic stem cell research – the study of particular cells in the unborn that have the ability to produce other various specialized cells in the body. Stem cell research has advanced modern medicine by unlocking new answers to what were thought of as incurable conditions. It has been reported that stem cells, with further development, will be able to treat ailments such as Parkinson’s Disease, and cancer. (Lindvall, Goldman) Despite its benefits, conflicts have arisen due to ethical impasses; however, I believe that there is a way to circumvent these dilemmas, so that we may be able to continue to help the unfortunate without having to cross any moral boundary.

Neither persuasive reasoning, nor attaining other test subjects would resolve the matter at hand. Trying to justify it would only yield further debate, and using animals in place of humans addresses completely different issues. However, instead of conducting studies on embryonic stem cells, researchers should concentrate more heavily on somatic stem cells, which are retrieved from adults rather than embryos. According to Dr. Ed Kane of DVM News Magazine, they can be “turned into embryonic stem cells by inserting key genes. No embryo is created nor destroyed in the process, thereby avoiding the ethical controversy.” (Kane 1)

As the United States Government is not willing to expend any federal funding to an immoral cause, using somatic stem cells allow for better funding and in turn more in depth research and a faster solution. (Lysaght and Hazlehurst)

If we can find ways to get around these conflicts of science and morals, we will be able to develop into a healthier and more brilliant species than we are now.