While this would violate the law, the fact that it is within a researcher's power to prevent the destruction of the embryos he or she receives poses problems for the claim that the decision to discard the embryos dooms them or causes their destruction.
Assume for the sake of argument that it is morally impermissible to destroy human embryos. It does not follow that all research with HESCs is impermissible, as it is sometimes permissible to benefit from moral wrongs.
For example, there is nothing objectionable about transplant surgeons and patients benefiting from the organs of murder and drunken driving victims Robertson If there are conditions under which a researcher may use HESCs without being complicit in the destruction of embryos, then those who oppose the destruction of embryos could support research with HESCs under certain circumstances.
Researchers using HESCs are clearly implicated in the destruction of embryos where they derive the cells themselves or enlist others to derive the cells. However, most investigators who conduct research with HESCs obtain them from an existing pool of cell lines and play no role in their derivation. This view requires qualification. In such instances, it may be that no individual researcher's plans motivated the derivation of the cells.
Nonetheless, one might argue that investigators who use these cells are complicit in the destruction of the embryos from which the cells were derived because they are participants in a research enterprise that creates a demand for HESCs. For these investigators to avoid the charge of complicity in the destruction of embryos, it must be the case that the researchers who derived the HESCs would have performed the derivation in the absence of external demand for the cells Siegel The issue about complicity goes beyond the question of an HESC researcher's role in the destruction of the particular human embryo s from which the cells he or she uses are derived.
There is a further concern that research with existing HESCs will result in the future destruction of embryos: Conference of Catholic Bishops This objection faces two difficulties. First, it appears to be too sweeping: Yet, no one, including those who oppose HESC research, argues that we should not support these areas of research. Second, the claim about future demand for HESCs is speculative. Indeed, current HESC research could ultimately reduce or eliminate demand for the cells by providing insights into cell biology that enable the use of alternative sources of cells Siegel While it might thus be possible for a researcher to use HESCs without being morally responsible for the destruction of human embryos, that does not end the inquiry into complicity.
Some argue that agents can be complicit in wrongful acts for which they are not morally responsible. One such form of complicity arises from an association with wrongdoing that symbolizes acquiescence in the wrongdoing Burtchaell The following question thus arises: Assuming it is morally wrongful to destroy human embryos, are HESC researchers who are not morally responsible for the destruction of embryos complicit in the sense of symbolically aligning themselves with a wrongful act?
One response is that a researcher who benefits from the destruction of embryos need not sanction the act any more than the transplant surgeon who uses the organs of a murder or drunken driving victim sanctions the homicidal act Curzer But this response is unlikely to be satisfactory to opponents of HESC research. There is arguably an important difference between the transplant case and HESC research insofar as the moral wrong associated with the latter a systematically devalues a particular class of human beings and b is largely socially accepted and legally permitted.
Imagine a society in which the practice of killing members of a particular racial or ethnic group is legally permitted and generally accepted.
Suppose that biological materials obtained from these individuals subsequent to their deaths are made available for research uses. Could researchers use these materials while appropriately distancing themselves from the wrongful practice? Arguably, they could not. There is a heightened need to protest moral wrongs where those wrongs are socially and legally accepted. Attempts to benefit from the moral wrong in these circumstances may be incompatible with mounting a proper protest Siegel But even if we assume that HESC researchers cannot avoid the taint of metaphysical guilt, it is not clear that researchers who bear no moral responsibility for the destruction of embryos are morally obligated not to use HESCs.
One might argue that there is a prima facie duty to avoid moral taint, but that this duty may be overridden for the sake of a noble cause. Most HESCs are derived from embryos that were created for infertility treatment but that were in excess of what the infertile individual s ultimately needed to achieve a pregnancy.
The HESCs derived from these leftover embryos offer investigators a powerful tool for understanding the mechanisms controlling cell differentiation. However, there are scientific and therapeutic reasons not to rely entirely on leftover embryos. From a research standpoint, creating embryos through cloning technologies with cells that are known to have particular genetic mutations would allow researchers to study the underpinnings of genetic diseases in vitro.
From a therapeutic standpoint, the HESCs obtained from leftover IVF embryos are not genetically diverse enough to address the problem of immune rejection by recipients of stem cell transplants. Induced pluripotent stem cells may ultimately prove sufficient for these research and therapeutic ends, since the cells can a be selected for specific genetic mutations and b provide an exact genetic match for stem cell recipients.
At present, the best way to address the therapeutic problem is through the creation of a public stem cell bank that represents a genetically diverse pool of stem cell lines Faden et al. This kind of stem cell bank would require the creation of embryos from gamete donors who share the same HLA-types i. Each of these enterprises has its own set of ethical issues.
In the case of research cloning, some raise concerns, for example, that the perfection of cloning techniques for research purposes will enable the pursuit of reproductive cloning, and that efforts to obtain the thousands of eggs required for the production of cloned embryos will result in the exploitation of women who provide the eggs President's Council on Bioethics , Norsigian With respect to stem cell banks, it is not practically possible to create a bank of HESCs that will provide a close immunological match for all recipients.
This gives rise to the challenge of determining who will have biological access to stem cell therapies. There are, however, more general challenges to the creation of embryos for research and therapeutic purposes. Some argue that the creation of embryos for non-reproductive ends is morally problematic, regardless of whether they are created through cloning or in vitro fertilization.
There are two related arguments that have been advanced to morally distinguish the creation of embryos for reproductive purposes from the creation of embryos for research and therapeutic purposes. First, each embryo created for procreative purposes is originally viewed as a potential child in the sense that each is a candidate for implantation and development into a mature human.
Second, while embryos created for research and therapy are produced with the intent to destroy them, the destruction of embryos created for reproduction is a foreseeable but unintended consequence of their creation FitzPatrick One response to the first argument has been to suggest that we could, under certain conditions, view all research embryos as potential children in the relevant sense.
If all research embryos were included in a lottery in which some of them were donated to individuals for reproductive purposes, all research embryos would have a chance at developing into mature humans Devander Since those who oppose creating embryos for research would likely maintain their opposition in the research embryo lottery case, it is arguably irrelevant whether embryos are viewed as potential children when they are created.
Of course, research embryos in the lottery case would be viewed as both potential children and potential research tools. But this is also true in the case of embryos created for reproductive purposes where patients are open to donating spare embryos to research.
As to the second argument, the distinction between intending and merely foreseeing harms is one to which many people attach moral significance, and it is central to the Doctrine of Double Effect. But even if one holds that this is a morally significant distinction, it is not clear that it is felicitous to characterize the destruction of spare embryos as an unintended but foreseeable side-effect of creating embryos for fertility treatment.
Fertility clinics do not merely foresee that some embryos will be destroyed, as they choose to offer patients the option of discarding embryos and carry out the disposal of embryos when patients request it. Patients who elect that their embryos be discarded also do not merely foresee the embryos' destruction; their election of that option manifests their intention that the embryos be destroyed.
There is thus reason to doubt that there is a moral distinction between creating embryos for research and creating them for reproductive purposes, at least given current fertility clinic practices.
Recent scientific work suggests it is possible to derive gametes from human pluripotent stem cells. Researchers have generated sperm and eggs from mouse ESCs and iPSCs and have used these stem cell-derived gametes to produce offspring Hayashi ; Hayashi While it may take several years before researchers succeed in deriving gametes from human stem cells, the research holds much promise for basic science and clinical application.
For example, the research could provide important insights into the fundamental processes of gamete biology, assist in the understanding of genetic disorders, and provide otherwise infertile individuals a means of creating genetically related children. The ability to derive gametes from human stem cells could also reduce or eliminate the need for egg donors and thus help overcome concerns about exploitation of donors and the risks involved in egg retrieval. Nonetheless, the research gives rise to some controversial issues related to embryos, genetics, and assisted reproductive technologies D.
One issue arises from the fact that some research on stem cell-derived gametes requires the creation of embryos, regardless of whether one is using ESCs or iPSCs. To establish that a particular technique for deriving human gametes from stem cells produces functional sperm and eggs, it is necessary to demonstrate that the cells can produce an embryo. This entails the creation of embryos through in vitro fertilization.
Since it would not be safe to implant embryos created during the early stages of the research, the likely disposition of the embryos is that they would be destroyed. In such instances, the research would implicate all of the moral issues surrounding the creation and destruction of embryos for research.
However, the creation of embryos for research in this situation would not necessitate the destruction of the embryos, as it does when embryos are created to derive stem cell lines.
One could in principle store them indefinitely rather than destroy them. This would still leave one subject to the objection that life is being created for instrumental purposes. But the force of the objection is questionable since it is not clear that this instrumental use is any more objectionable than the routine and widely accepted practice of creating excess IVF embryos in the reproductive context to increase the probability of generating a sufficient number of viable ones to produce a pregnancy.
Further issues emerge with the prospect of being able to produce large quantities of eggs from stem cells. As the capacity to identify disease and non-disease related alleles through preimplantation genetic diagnosis PGD expands, the ability to create large numbers of embryos would substantially increase the chances of finding an embryo that possesses most or all of the traits one wishes to select.
This would be beneficial in preventing the birth of children with genetic diseases. But matters would become morally contentious if it were possible to select for non-disease characteristics, such as sexual orientation, height, superior intelligence, memory, and musical ability.
One common argument against using PGD in this way is that it could devalue the lives of those who do not exhibit the chosen characteristics. There is additionally a concern about advances in genetics heightening inequalities where certain traits confer social and economic advantages and only the well-off have the resources to access the technology Buchanan Of course, one can question whether the selection of non-disease traits would in fact lead to devaluing other characteristics, whether it would alter the nature of parental love, or whether it is distinct enough from currently permitted methods of gaining social and economic advantage to justify regulating the practice.
Nonetheless, the capacity to produce human stem cell-derived gametes would make these issues more pressing. The Ethics of Creating Embryos for Stem Cell Research and Therapy Most HESCs are derived from embryos that were created for infertility treatment but that were in excess of what the infertile individual s ultimately needed to achieve a pregnancy.
Stem Cell-Derived Gametes Recent scientific work suggests it is possible to derive gametes from human pluripotent stem cells. Joel Feinberg, Belmont, CA: A Review of Human Subjects Research , 11 2: A reply to B. Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues , eds.
Cambridge University Press, 65—75 Lee, P. Problems at the Margins of Life , New York: A Review of Human Subjects Research 6 Academic Tools How to cite this entry. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPapers , with links to its database.
An Ethical Inquiry U. Conference of Catholic Bishops, , Fact Sheet: And right to life derives from human equality. The right to life is, in a way, drawn out of the political vocabulary of the Declaration of Independence.
And so, to my mind, the argument at the heart of the embryonic stem cell debate is the argument about human equality. Recently in The New Republic magazine, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker wrote that conservative bioethicists like yourself consistently predict the worst when looking at developments in biotechnology. From the beginning of the scientific revolution, science and technology have tried to allow us to manipulate and shape the world around us for the benefit of man.
For the benefit of what? But there are newer scientific developments, such as certain types of human enhancement technologies that raise very complicated questions of how we should judge the ends and the means of technological advancements.
That being said, Pinker has a point, in a larger sense — that judging the risks of new technologies is very difficult. In general, I think we ought to give the benefit of the doubt to our ability to use new technologies. But there are specific instances, which are few but very important, when we do need to be cautious. Obviously there are people of faith on both sides of this debate. In fact, there are conservatives — traditional social conservatives, such as Republican Sen.
Orrin Hatch of Utah — who support embryonic stem cell research. But could you explain how the Judeo-Christian and Western moral ethic informs your views on this issue and why you think that God is ultimately on your side? My approach to this is not religious. That being said, those foundations are not utterly secular, and my understanding of them is not utterly secular.
I think that to believe in human equality you do have to have some sense of a transcendent standard by which to make that judgment. In other words, when we talk about equality, what do we mean? Equal in relation to what? Some people have certainly tried to make a purely secular liberal argument for human equality.
I think that this is really about whether we believe in a liberal society, which comes from a belief in human equality. Why do you think this has happened, and what do you think this trend indicates?
When you put the question in medical terms, you find, I think, somewhat larger majorities supporting it. In our poll, we asked the same people a series of questions that basically put the same issue in several different ways, and their responses are total opposites of one another. To my mind, the aim of people such as myself has always been to find ways of doing the science without violating the ethics rather than to force a choice between the science and the ethics.
It certainly has been done in some instances when the principle was more evident and more obvious — such as imposing limits on human subject research. Again, the aim from my point of view — and from a lot of people on my side of this argument — has been to find ways to advance the science without violating the ethics.
That would begin to break up the practice of medicine and to affect our attitudes about science — which on the whole has done a tremendous amount of good for society. So I think what everybody should aim for is finding a way to end this potentially very damaging debate rather than force a choice. About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.
It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions.
What are the arguments against stem cell research? Stem Cell Research I strongly oppose human cloning, as do most Americans. We recoil at the idea of growing human beings for spare body parts, or creating life for our convenience.
Mar 15, · This decision comes amidst a heated debate regarding the medical and economic potential of stem cell research as against its ethical pitfalls. The scientific, legal, ethical and philosophical arguments have been discussed extensively (Mieth, ; Colman and Burley, ).
Aug 09, · The Case Against Stem Cell Research. Opponents of research on embryonic cells, including many religious and anti-abortion groups, contend that embryos are human beings with the same rights — and thus entitled to the same protections against abuse — as anyone else. 1) Stem Cell Research - Arguments Regarding the Usage of the Knowledge. As you will most probably notice, the following arguments are not exclusively in use when talking about stem cell research. Pros. Stem cell research can potentially help treat a range of medical problems.
The final arguments against stem cell research deal with the actual cost of such treatments is simply too high to be implemented on a large scale. Stem cell research pros and cons have gained a lot of attention lately due to President Obama lifting a ban on stem cell research. Home > Stem Cells > Arguments Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Arguments Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research 1) Embryos are lives. An embryo is actually a human; it should be valued as highly as a human life.