Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Stem Cell Debate

If you asked me about my opinion on stem cells six months ago I would have given you a luke warm politically correct answer that would have hinted on my thoughts, but would have done so in a way that would certainly not have stimulated a firey debate.  Why?  Because I really did not prioritise it as one of my most important issues.

However, since stem cells have become a hot topic for me personally, the issue has stepped up in my view.  Now the hot topic that everyone is talking about is embryonic stem cell research.  Just to clarify, the procedure I am having is an adult autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant.  Hematopoietic meaning from the blood, adult meaning from an adult donor and autologous meaning donating to myself.  The reason I tell you this is so you know that I do not stand to benefit directly from an embryonic stem cell transplant.

I'll start by making two statements.  First, incase you haven't guessed, I am an supporter of embryonic stem cell research.  Second, I really hope to get your opinions on the subject, especially if you are anti embryonic stem cell research, because it is only through debate that we can move forward with the issue.

As always, this post is becoming much larger than I suspected so I am just going to give you one argument.  Is the source of an embryonic stem cell part of a life form?  There are many definitions of life, from the theological to the biological.  Depending on what you believe will influence on your definition.

Embryonic stem cells are extracted from blastocysts which is a structure formed in the early stages of embryogenesis. The blastocysts we would use are formed in vitro (outside of the womb) and therefore cannot grow into a foetus in their current environment.  As the cells involved are yet to grow into their final tissue, there is no brain or nerves.  Therefore they cannot think or feel.  So they are not life, just the potential to be life.

Every ovum is the the potential be life, so is every sperm.  Does that mean that every unused sperm and ovum is destruction of life?  I guess it all comes down to where you draw the line of where life begins.  For me, it is when one can think or feel.

As I stated earlier,  I will welcome your arguments on both sides of the debate.  All I ask is that you keep it civil.  Until next time, stay well:)

1 comment:

  1. A comment I got via facebook. These words are not mine, they offer an alternative opinion, but I thought it very important to share.

    Yes, I am a Christian and of course my answer will be in that vein. I wasn't sure how to post on your blog page, so here is my opinion: The Bible does teach that life begins at conception. Every culture's view of when human life begins changes as society's values, moral standards, and knowledge about the process of embryonic development change. Prior to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed abortion on demand, developing embryos were considered unborn persons. Now, even a fetus that could survive on its own outside its mother's womb could be aborted, under certain medical circumstances. This demonstrates that we do not consider an unborn child to be a true human being.

    Science tells us that human life begins at the time of conception. From the moment fertilization takes place, the child's genetic makeup is already complete. Its gender has already been determined, along with its height and hair, eye and skin color. The only thing the embryo needs to become a fully-functioning being is the time to grow and develop.

    More importantly, God reveals to us in His Word that not only does life begin at conception, but He knows who we are even before then (Jeremiah 1:5). King David said this about God's role in our conception: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb . . . your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:13, 16).

    Society continually seeks to devalue the lives of the unborn, creating its own definitions of humanity based on distorted views of morality. But the undeniable fact is that life begins at creation, and a human is created as soon as he or she is conceived. God is present at our creation; He is, in fact, our Creator. Our value as human beings created in His image is conceived even before we are.