Stem Cell Research

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Biomedical issues interface with a variety of areas in health care. Following are some examples of biomedical issues. Pick one, and elaborate on it from both perspectives. 1. Designer babies (Stem cell research meets in vitro) 2. Stem Cell Research 3. The use of animal organs for human transplants 4. Genetic engineering and enhancement 5. Cloning 6. Mechanical Limbs What other biomedical issues can you think of?

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When you ask us to “elaborate on it from both perspectives,” I assume that you are asking us to provide arguments for and against a given course of action.  I will discuss stem cell research, looking at arguments for and against conducting such research.

The major argument in favor of stem cell research is that it can be of great benefit (at least potentially) to a large number of people.  If stem cell research is allowed to go on, many kinds of therapies might be discovered.  Stem cells might be used to grow new organs for people.  They might be used to cure people of many conditions that cannot now be cured.  It seems that it would be unethical to refrain from pursuing a type of research that could lead to such beneficial outcomes.  Therefore, it seems that we might have an ethical duty to pursue stem cell research.

The major argument against such research (if we are talking about embryonic stem cells) is that it essentially involves research on human subjects without their consent.  It can even involve destroying human life.  The argument here is that every human embryonic stem cell line is a potential human life.  For people who believe that life begins at conception, stem cells are human life.  It is never ethical to destroy one human life in order to pursue research that might lead others to be saved.  This is one of the things that the Nazis did that made them so evil.  In other words, no matter how many lives stem cell research would save, if stem cells are human lives, it cannot be ethical to do research using them.

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