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Today, innovation has empowered analysts to work with human gametes and experiment on the creation of life. The utilization of stem cells from an embryo is a moral situation and issue facing a serious argument over the use of embryo to explore potential cures or treatments for different ailments (King and Perrin, 2014, p. 211). This way, it will be crucial to give the negative and positive sides of the discussion from a consequentialism outlook and morals of rights and obligation.
Negative and Positive Views from a Consequentialism Stand point of embryo Stem cell Research
There are different significant thoughts of advancing about the utilization of embryo to obtain stem cells for research from consequentialists and non-consequentialists views. The foundational argument of consequentiality is that fertilized ovum is not fully developed human being and using its stem cells to develop a treatment for diseases such as diabetes and cancer to benefit the larger population has greater consequences (King and Perrin, 2014, p. 211). In particular, supporters of the claims contend that embryo has no self-awareness and is only potential human being. Therefore, they cannot feel pain or suffering as an actual person would and are obtained with the desire to help people based on the guiding factor of alleviating human pain. The consequentialists ethical framework looks for the greatness and benefits of using embryo to benefit humanity (Mintrom, 2013, p. 28).
Further, consequentialism argues that even though it is impossible the exact dividing line during human development that can be used to indicate when an individual acquires personhood, embryos do not have emotional, psychological or intellectual characteristics associated with a human being (Savulescu, et al., 2015, p. 476). Therefore, it follows that they do not fulfill the criteria of personhood and may be used instrumentally to benefit those who are already known to be persons. They assert that embryos will always be used in stem cell research because they are taken from discarded embryos that are not human life physiologically or visually as they have no consciousness, brain, heart, arms or legs (Savulescu, et al., 2015, p. 476).
However, non-consequentialists hold that in-vitro fertilization is problematic because it results in more embryos than implanted in the body of the woman which implies that removing it leads in unceremoniously stopping development of human life. Such actions are morally impermissible because human life starts at conception (Ishii, Pera, and Greely, 2013, p. 146). Non-consequentialists argue that it is unethical to utilize human cells or organs even if they were obtained morally. They do not agree to deliberately and purposely continue to destroy embryos for the benefit of others. Further, they argue based on other alternatives that researchers can use to obtain stem cells. They note that experimenting with adult human or animals cells is a viable option that does not lead to killing anyone. Umbilical stem cells have been used successfully in development cure related to brain diseases (Ishii, Pera, and Greely, 2013, p. 146). Also, adults stem cells gained from blood, bone marrow, or spleen are used to block the growth of HIV. Therefore, non-consequentialism contends that there is much information that can be acquired from human adult and animal cells for the experiment.
Ethics of Right and Duties about Embryo Stem Cell Research
There are several ideas associated with rights of embryos that others might claim on its behalf and duties of doctors, technologist or researchers have toward the well-being of humans. Those that argue in favor of the contention of rights of embryos indicate that since they acquire human status from the moment of conception, they have the right to life and any intervention or action taken contrary to that is a violation of that right (Lampman, 2011, p. 166). They do not believe there is a good end in using stem cells to create differentiated cells to be used in therapeutic experiments. In particular, supporters of the claim affirm that human life starts at fertilization and proceed towards a course that ultimately leads to human person which implies embryos have personhood thereby right to life. At the same time, the proponents of the claim hold that researchers and technologists have a duty to respect the value of human life and to harvest human embryonic stem cells considerably violate that duty because it leads to the destruction of potential personhood (Cregan, 2015, p.126).
On the other hand, other believe that technologists, doctors, and researchers have a duty to protect human and alleviate their pain using whichever means possible. They emphasize the importance of saving lives and argue that this is the ultimate objective of embryonic stem cell research procedures (Walters, 2014, p. 22). Medical researchers are obligated to develop and build the world that favors humanity. They have a duty to be active partners in repairing the world, and therefore any activity that contributes to that advancement cannot be ignored. Human embryos only differ from a human person due to their stage of development, but they are considered a person just like infant regardless whether the individual is an adolescent or adult (Walters, 2014, p. 22).
Indeed, the issue of using human embryos to experiment has seen the considerable debate. While the intention is to find cures and treatment for diseases such as HIV, cancer, and diabetes, the result of the research carry both positive and negative impact. While the advancement could alleviate human pain, obtaining these cells of an embryo is seen as terminating and violating the right to life.
Cregan, K., 2015. Ethical and social issues of embryonic stem cell technology. Internal medicine journal, 35(2), pp.126-127.
Ishii, T., Pera, R.A.R. and Greely, H.T., 2013. Ethical and legal issues arising in research on inducing human germ cells from pluripotent stem cells. Cell Stem Cell, 13(2), pp.145-148.
King, N.M. and Perrin, J., 2014. Ethical issues in stem cell research and therapy. Stem cell research & therapy, 5(4), p.85.
Lampman, J., 2011. Different Faiths, Different Views on Stem Cells: The Nation's Three Largest Denominations Oppose Federal Funding for Research, but Other Groups Voice Support. Christian Science Monitor, 93(166), pp.1-2.
Mintrom, M., 2013. Policy entrepreneurs and controversial science: governing human embryonic stem cell research. Journal of European Public Policy, 20(3), pp.442-457.
Savulescu, J., Pugh, J., Douglas, T. and Gyngell, C., 2015. The moral imperative to continue gene editing research on human embryos. Protein & cell, 6(7), pp.476-479.
Walters, L., 2014. Human embryonic stem cell research: an intercultural perspective. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 14(1), pp.3-38.
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