Written by Chloe Harrison
Stem Cells are cells that can be taken and made into anything. There are 3 types of stem cells: Embryonic, Adult and Induced Pluripotent. The one I would like to talk about is Embryonic. “Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, an early-stage embryo. Human embryos reach the blastocyst stage 4–5 days post fertilization, at which time they consist of 50–150 cells.” (1)
9-week Human Embryo from Ectopic
Pregnancy [by Ed Uthman, MD] (2)
The embryonic stem cells have many uses. Since they are stem cells they can be used to make several different kinds of cells. For example they can be used to make new heart or nerve cells. We can then use these cells to study diseases. “The biotechnology company ACT is also using human ESCs to make cells for patients with an eye disease: Stargardt’s macular dystrophy.” (3)
To obtain these embryonic stem cells the doctors and scientists have to get an embryo, and kill it. They then have the cells they needed. This sounds totally horrible, I know, but most of the time they use the embryos left over from fertility clinics. I am still definitely not ok with the use of embryos for stem cell research let me get that straight right now! I don’t think its right to use a tiny little baby to save other people’s lives and that is what I will be talking about in the next few paragraphs. (5)
My position, on using embryonic cells for stem cells, is that I’m against it. I don’t think that we should be using tiny humans to save other humans.
The people that need the stem cells are going to be dead soon and the babies have a whole life time to live. No human has ever been cured by embryonic stem cells[G1] so why keep testing if it’s not working? We could also use animal embryos that are very closely related to us, for example chimp embryos!
So some people have been saying that the embryo isn't really a human because it’s only a few days old. That isn't really true. It is life, it is a human being, maybe it hasn't grown up fully yet but it’s still there, its growing and its living. If you could see that baby grow up and see what they accomplish, would you want to see them die before they could experience any of that? What if that baby was the next Albert Einstein or the next president? We would never know.
The people that need new stem cells have already lived a pretty long life. Even when they do get their stem cells to fix them how much longer do they have? No one really knows. With a newborn baby they have a full life to live. They have so much to do and learn. The older people have done so much, but there is only so much you can do. The new generation is sooo technologically savvy that they are almost already ahead of the older generation. The children are the future.
Chimps are our closest relatives. In theory we even evolved from them. Chimps also have embryos so why aren't there scientists looking in
So over all, as you can see, I don't think we should be using embryonic cells. It’s like killing a little human. Which ones get to live and which ones have to die so one of us can live. Why do we have to take their precious little lives? They have so much more to live for and accomplish than we do. I've already said this once but I’ll say it again, the future is in the children.
1. "Embryonic Stem Cell." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.
3."What Are Human Embryonic Stem Cells Used For?" EuroStemCell. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.
4. "An Overview of Stem Cell Research." The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.
6. "Arguments Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research." The Public Square. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.