Human Stem Cells
The study in the human embryonic stem cell (HESC) provides great opportunities for relieving the people’s suffering caused by the damaging effects of different illnesses and trauma. Human stem cells are valuable for their ability of self-renovation. Moreover, stem cells possess an outstanding ability to evolve into a number of various kinds of cells in the organism on any stage of its development. Moreover, they are an element of the inner restoration system of a number of tissues; they divide without any restrictions, in order to replace the damaged cells as long as the human being is alive. Each new stem cell can either stay a stem cell or change into another type of cell with a more specific role, such as a bone marrow cells or white blood cell. Despite the fact that the human stem cells can be very helpful, and their utilization in healthcare may be beneficial, there are many opponents of their usage. The current research paper analyzes the arguments for and against the issue of the human stem cells usage. Moreover, the paper demonstrates the viewpoint, which is closer to me, and explains why I decided to choose this viewpoint.
As a matter of fact, stem cells are different from the other kinds of cells by two crucial features. Firstly, these are no other cells capable of revitalizing themselves through the cell separation after the long period of non-activity (Kelly, 2007). Secondly, they can transform into tissue- or organ-peculiar cells with specific roles under definite circumstances (Kelly, 2007). Stem cells divide to restore and supersede the exhausted or damaged tissues on a regular basis, especially in a number of organs, including the gut and bone medulla. On the other hand, stem cells can merely divide under other circumstances, particularly in the pancreas or heart (Hynds & Giangreco, 2013, p. 419).
Arguments in Support of the Human Stem Cell Use
Among those who support human stem cell investigation and use; there are many scientists; they have a lot of strong arguments to support their position. There are numerous areas, in which human stem cells might be utilized, including the scientific investigation and healthcare. First, human stem cells are presently being used in conducting experiments and verifying the new medications. Consequently, the new drugs can be well-tried for their influence on various cells induced from the human pluripotent cell branches (Quigley, Chan, & Harris, 2012, p. 3). The general suitability of the pluripotent stem cells allows for the medication investigation in a broader diapason of cell types. Second, the major argument for the human stem cell investigation concerns utilitarianism. In such a manner, the human stem cell investigation can bring numerous benefits, which will obviously outweigh the moral issue of killing the embryos (Quigley, Chan, & Harris, 2012, p. 3). For instance, utilitarianism states that the human stem cells have the ability of developing into a laboratory; they are able to transform into almost all kinds of the organism tissue cells. Consequently, human stem cells are a perfect source of cellular treatment for numerous diseases (Vunjak-Novakovic & Scadden, 2011, p. 258). In addition, the social, economical, and individual spending on the illnesses, which the human stem cells are able to cure, are much higher than the costs associated with killing the embryo (Monroe, Miller, & Tobis, 2008, p. 170). Therefore, the most crucial feasible appliance of human stem cells concerns the process of generating different cells and tissues, which can be utilized in the cell-based treatments. Currently, the donated tissues and organs are frequently utilized in order to supersede diseased or damaged tissues; however, the demand for the transplantable tissues and organs seriously outweighs the existent reserve (Quigley, Chan, & Harris, 2012, p. 97). Stem cells, which can develop into the particular cell kinds, offer a unique potential of the natural restoration of cells and tissues, which help in medicating such diseases as macular degenerations, spinal cord damages, osteoarthritis strokes, scalds, heart diseases, and diabetes, as well as rheumatoid arthritis (Kelly, 2007, p. 73). The third argument for the investigation of the human stem cells obtained from embryos concerns human possibility and humaneness. This argument is close to the previous one in terms of utilitarianism. The very argument of humaneness concerns the fact that some people believe embryos are non-life while staying inside the uterus. In fact, they are considered a potential material for the future or existing life. Moreover, this argument demonstrates that a blastocyst, which develops into an embryo, is nothing but a human cells group. This group of cells has not been differentiated yet (Quigley, Chan, & Harris, 2012, p. 99). Therefore, these cells are a person no more than, for instance, a muscle cell. Moreover, the aim of preserving the existing human life outweighs all the means to be utilized (Quigley, Chan, & Harris, 2012, p. 99). Fourth, the scientists believe that the human stem cell investigation is effective due to the fact that if an embryo is killed, it is much better to use it for the possible improvements than to waste it. As abortions are legitimate in many countries, the aborted embryos can be used for the investigation and not be just disposed of (Kelly, 2007, p. 87). These facts demonstrate that human stem cells can either improve the quality of life or even save people.
Arguments against the Human Stem Cell Use
The stem cell investigation promises a new and effective treatment; however, their utilization has been seriously debated. Various opponents of investigation and use of the embryonic cells, incorporating different religious and anti-abortion considerations, assert that embryos are human beings; therefore, they must have the similar rights (Monroe, Miller, & Tobis, 2008, p. 104). In fact, it means that embryos are to be protected against any abuse just as all people are. These opponents consider that life begins at the moment of conception; a separate organism starts to exist and develops into a human being. Therefore, the abortion of an embryo is equal to the homicide. It is an example of theological argument (Kelly, 2007, p. 100). Moreover, a lot of anti-abortion groups and associations also oppose the use of the stem cells, which are received from the aborted fetuses (Monroe, Miller, & Tobis, 2008, p. 104). These activists renounce the argument that, since abortion is already legitimate, and females do perform it, the stem cells from the aborted fetuses can be utilized as otherwise, they are simply disposed. Therefore, the use of the human stem cells creates specific ethical and moral dilemma. The utilization of human stem cell makes people select between the two moral grounds. The first ground concerns the fact that people should remember about their obligation to prevent or alleviate somebody’s sufferings. The second ground presupposes that people should remember about the obligation to respect the worth of the human life (Monroe, Miller, & Tobis, 2008, p. 104). In terms of the human stem cell utilization, it is impossible to esteem both theories. In order to receive embryonic stem cells, the life of a fetus is taken away; consequently, the life of a possible human being is destroyed (Kelly, 2007, p. 100). On the other hand, according to the first theory, the embryonic stem cell investigation can help in designing innovative medical therapies, which can alleviate the suffering of numerous human beings. Therefore, it is important to choose, which moral ground should prevail. It is possible to provide an answer after deep investigation of the nature of an embryo (Kelly, 2007, p. 100). Consequently, it is important to understand whether it has the actual status of a person or not. Thirdly, many opponents of the human stem cell investigation assert that this practice is inappropriate due to the fact that their belief or religion forbids it (Kelly, 2007, p. 101). Therefore, the opponents consider that such utilization of embryos cannot be permitted under any condition. In fact, their viewpoint on the embryo’s potentiality caused numerous problems associated with the human stem cells (Kelly, 2007, p. 100). The process of destroying an embryo is equal to a murder due to the fact that it is a future human being. This example is a slippery slope (Kelly, 2007, p. 100). Moreover, the process of the human stem cell investigation ultimately results in the destruction of the utilized embryo (via the extraction of stem cells). In fact, it means that the human stem cell investigation is similar to a homicide (Kelly, 2007, p. 100).
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My Personal Attitude to the Human Stem Cell Use
I believe that the human stem cells should be utilized and investigated. As a matter of fact, the arguments provided by the proponents of the human stem cell investigation are scientific and more reliable. On the other hand, the opponents of this issue support their views and arguments with moral, ethics, and religion. I do not believe that it is ethical to deprive a person of the possibility to have a better life and cure all diseases, from which he or she suffers. Moreover, it is illogical to allow religion to intervene into science; the experience of the Dark Ages and Renaissance clearly proves this assumption. As a matter of fact, numerous actions performed in science and healthcare are unethical and immoral. A lot of years ago, it was immoral to dissect the corps; however, nowadays, it is a common and demanded surgery procedure, especially, when the relatives do not know the reason of somebody’s death. I believe that it is immoral and unethical to use animals for the medical investigation; however, it is allowed somehow. The religion does not believe that animals have a soul, but it is neither proved that an embryo has one. Both animals and embryos are living creatures, but the attitude and treatment of the two are different. As a matter of fact, many people believe that stem cells can be obtained only from the embryos; however, it is incorrect. In fact, human stem cells may be received from the funiculus cords, placenta, amniotic fluid, various adult tissues and organs such as bone medulla, fat, which is left after the liposuction, specific regions of the nose, and even from cadavers in up to twenty hours after the death (Quigley, Chan, & Harris, 2012, p. 108). The majority of opponents of the human stem cell utilization bases the arguments on the immorality of the embryo stem cell usage. In fact, they do not know the whole truth about these cells. Moreover, the abortion is legal and allowed, and a lot of females have abortions; therefore, it is absolutely unethical and immoral to allow embryo stems cells to go to waste if they can help someone to survive. Many people live in the hope of that the life will provide them with another chance, and doctors will be able to cure their problems. Human stem cells can help in solving this problem, as well as the shortage of donated organs. Saving the life of a human being outweighs the ethical dilemma of the human stem cell usage and investigation.
The current research studies the issue of human stem cell investigation. It provides the arguments in support and against the human stem cell use. The proponents employ scientific-based arguments while the opponents resort to the ethical- and religious-based arguments. I believe that it is more ethical to save someone’s life with the help of human stem cells. On the other hand, it is immoral to allow the embryo stems cells to go to waste if they are so significant for the science and medicine.
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Hynds, R., & Giangreco, A. (2013). Concise review: The relevance of human stem cell—derived organoid models for epithelial transplantation medicine. Stem Cells, 31(3), 417-422.
Kelly, E. (2007). Stem cells. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Monroe, K., Miller, R., & Tobis, J. (2008). Fundamentals of the stem cell debate: The scientific, religious, ethical & politica issues. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Quigley, M., Chan, S., & Harris, J. (2012). Stem cells: New frontiers in science & ethics. Danvers, MA: World Scientific Publishing.
Vunjak-Novakovic, G., & Scadden, D. (2011). Biomimetic platforms for human stem cell research. Cell Stem Cell, 8(3), 252-261.