Nursing and Medical Research: What is Christian?

15 Apr

Embryonic stem cell research is still a controversial topic today, and will likely always be.  Personally, I am on the pro side.  I believe that embryonic stem cell research is important to improve current health care needs and create possible cures for diseases.  Scientists believe that it one day could help cure diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, and genetic diseases.  On the other hand, many others may disagree.  The Church teaches its individuals to believe that life begins at conception.  This then in fact would ban any use of human cells because they are the start of life at all stages.  According to Hodges (n.d.), the Orthodox Church believes “that human life begins at conception, the extraction of stem cells from embryos, which involves the willful taking of human life — the embryo is human life and not just a clump of cells — is considered morally and ethically wrong in every instance” (para. 4).  Unfortunately, the embryo does have to be destroyed in order to extract stem cells, which is the overall cause of this controversy. 

It all returns to the question, where does life truly begin?  Some Christians would respond to this by saying that these embryos are already considered to be human life; I agree.  Others may further say that it is already a baby and destroying it would be committing murder; here I would have to disagree.  The extraction of the embryonic stem cell occurs within a week to two weeks after fertilization.  At this phase the embryo is deemed a blastocyst, not a fetus or baby.  In addition, the embryonic cells that used were made specifically for this purpose; research.   

While I don’t disagree with embryonic stem cell research, I think that it can be done by using other stem cells.  Stem cells are found in other parts of the body, such as cord blood and numerous adult tissues.  The only downfall to using these tissues for research is they form into limited types of cells while the embryonic stem cell can potentially form into any cell type within the human body.  At the least, fewer embryos could be used with the research weighing more heavily on other types of stem cells.  This type of research would definitely be the hardest type of study for a Christian to participate in.  Other unchristian research would include physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and cloning.

 
References

Hodges, Mark. (n.d.). Destructive Embryonic Stem Cell Research.  Retrieved from http://www.antiochian.org/stem-cell-research

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