Examining Bioethics

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Examining Bioethics




Examining Bioethics

Bioethics can be defined as the study of characteristically contentious ethics created by developments in medicine and biology. Bioethics is concerned with moral discernment and its application in medical research, practice and policy. Professionals in the sector focus on the different ethical dilemmas that occur in the associations among biotechnology, medicine, law, and philosophy. Bioethics also entails the study of the common issues of values that arise in various branches of medicine. Embryonic stem cell surgery is one of the medical innovations that offer opportunities for modern therapies, but their use is greatly debated especially on ethical lines. Diverse countries have opted to standardize embryonic stem cell research using different techniques.

For the sake of the greater good, stem cells from embryos, fetuses, or adults should be used in embryonic stem cell surgery. The main ethical argument for or against embryonic stem cell surgery is in essence, a struggle between a duty to avert and ease suffering and the duty to respect human life as being valuable. In support of embryonic stem cell research, it is impossible to respect human life when using this technique (Magill, 2002). To get a hold of embryonic cells, the growing embryo has to be killed. This would mean murdering an unborn human child that is similar to infanticide or abortion. However, the results of the embryonic stem cell research would be put to good use in developing vaccines, cures and other solutions to a myriad of diseases, conditions and physical problems among human beings. Using numbers to stress the significance, one experiment on an embryo that would be ultimately killed has the potential to produce the cure that would cure over a billion individuals throughout the world (McLaren, 2007).

Individuals and groups that are opposed to embryonic stem cell research argue that the embryo took up the status of a human being during the fertilization period. Therefore, the destruction of the embryos in the name of research constituted murder (Magill, 2002). However, this argument was flawed in that early embryos lack the emotional, physical and psychological qualities of a person.

The government should take a backseat in the funding of the stem cell research. This is because the government funding is subject to government policy and public opinion that might lower or even do away with the funding program. Such disruptions have the possibility of rendering the whole project useless (McLaren, 2007). The accuracy of the embryonic stem cell research would be compromised if aborted fetuses were used for the studies. Since the stem cell project is a massive undertaking by numerous stakeholders, it is only rational that embryos obtained from fertility clinics be used for the tests and researches (Ventura-Juncá, Patricio t al, 2009).

In the situation where there are excess embryos in most fertility clinics, utilizing them for the purpose of research would be a sensible reason. First, the excess embryos are not exactly fully developed human offspring, and they would not have most of their perceptions developed such as sight, smell or taste. Second and most important, addresses the validity and effectiveness of the research process (McLaren, 2007). When dealing with diseases that harm human beings, it is only natural that human specimen be used to test potential cures in the laboratories.

However, using fully matured individuals has caused human rights outburst that were based on the idea that they were undergoing adverse discomfort and pain. Using independent embryos that were created in the laboratories for the purpose of tests to come up with cures hardly seems an unethical choice among scientists. It is only when opponents of embryonic stem cell research such as human rights activists look at the bigger picture, that they can comprehend this choice. It is only when they can perceive the magnitude of the effect of the stem cell research on the global population, can they embrace this new and revolutionary development in medicine.





















Magill, G. (2002). The ethics weave in human genomics, embryonic stem cell research, and therapeutic cloning: promoting and protecting society’s interests. Albany Law Review, 65, 3, 701-28. Retrieved from http://www.albanylawreview.org/archives/65/3/TheEthicsWeaveinHumanGenomicsEmbryonicStemCellResearchandTherapeuticCloning-PromotingandProtectingSocietysInterest.pdf

McLaren, A. (2007). A scientist’s view of the ethics of human embryonic stem cell research. Cell Stem Cell, 1, 1, 23-6. Retrieved from http://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/abstract/S1934-5909(07)00009-4

Ventura-Juncá, Patricio, Santos, Manuel, & Larraín, Juan. (2009). Proposals for embryonic stem cell production without destroying human embryos: scientific and bioethical challenges. Scientific Electronic Library Online. Retrieved from www.scielo.cl/pdf/abioeth/v15n2/art14.pdf


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