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:)