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Should Embryonic Stem Cell Research Be Allowed?

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Research Review

Discussion

Conclusion

Evaluation

Bibliography

Appendices

Abstract

The aims of my project are to mainly to investigate stem cell research as a whole to conclude whether it should be allowed or not. I want to find out if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and the arguments for and against the morality of stem cell research.

I myself believe that embryonic stem cell research should be allowed if it means there is a high possibility of treating many terminal diseases as it will help a very large number of people all over the world. As for support, mainly used the internet to collect websites, articles and blogs. I have also used stem cell books written by specialists.

In my discussion, I have explored the scientific, Islamic, Hinduism and Christian view on embryonic stem cell research. I have also included what embryonic stem cells actually are and what they could potentially do and the legislations regarding the research of these cells. I have also found surveys to portray the public’s view as well.

After researching thoroughly about this topic, I have come to the realisation that not everyone can come together to agree on the same view. However, I can generalise certain views together such as more religious people are generally more against embryonic stem cell research where as those not as religious agree and are for embryonic stem cell research.

Introduction

For my extended project qualification, I have chosen to research about whether embryonic stem cell research should be allowed or not as I have some brief knowledge about embryonic stem cells as I did triple science for GCSE. I found it quite interesting and so would like to go into more depth.

I would like to explore the different views on embryonic stem cell research such as various religious views, scientific views, medical views and ethical views. I have chosen to look at religious views as it will help me gain a better understanding of where people’s faith lies compared to their own beliefs. Also, I will look at law related cases/issues about embryonic stem cells to make my project more strong and effective. This will provide a more factual based argument to whether embryonic stem cell research should be allowed.

The word ‘embryonic’ stands for embryo which is a cluster of cells that would later turn into a new born baby. The word ‘stem’ is meant to represent the core root, the beginning, a new start. The word ‘cells’ is quite self explanatory. Cells are the building blocks for everything. The phrase ‘embryonic stem cells’ means the beginning of the new cells of a new life (baby).

Embryonic Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can divide and differentiate into any type of specialised cell. This treatment is readily available. However, it is restricted due to viral controversy.

[1]Adult stem cells exist throughout the body after embryonic development and are usually found inside of different types of tissue. Stem cells can also be found in embryos formed during the blastocyst phase of embryological development. These stem cells are called embryonic stem cells. Once an egg cell is fertilized by a sperm, it will divide and within few days it will become an embryo. At this stage the embryo consists of around a hundred cells and forms a blastocyst. In the blastocyst, there are stem cells that are capable of becoming any type of cell of the human body.

[2]For research, scientists get embryos in two ways. Many couples conceive by the process of in vitro fertilization. In this process, a couple’s sperm and eggs are fertilized in a culture dish with certain specific conditions. The eggs develop into embryos, which are then implanted in the female. However, more embryos are made than can be implanted. So, these embryos are usually frozen. Many couples donate their unused embryos for stem cell research. Another way for scientists to gain embryos are by donators who willing donate their embryos in exchange for some money which is more useful to them. This is somewhat like a blood donor.

Researchers are also working to expand and perfect methods for making particular adult cell types from embryonic stem cells in the lab. Controlling exactly how embryonic stem cells differentiate is still a major challenge. Even so, some scientists are already investigating whether embryonic stem cells can be used to make adult cells that could be transplanted into patients to help heal injured or diseased tissue.

I feel this is quite a controversial topic as everyone has their own opinions, reasons and influences which determines their answer to this question. Career choices can influence their opinions as a scientist would more likely to agree with embryonic stem cell research rather than a priest since that is what they are paid to do. Religion can have a huge impact as well especially in a very religious household. Also, family pays a role as views and opinions can get passed on to each other.

The main religions that I will look at is Christianity, Islam and Hinduism as these are the most popular religions worldwide. Within Christianity I will look at different denominations such as Catholics, Protestants and Anglicans.

From completing my project, I would like to show and learn about different opinions and views of different people and how there isn’t necessarily only one correct answer. I hope that from completing this project it will help me how to find non-biased relevant research and to learn how to make notes from my research in a quick and efficient way as I believe it will help me for when I go to university.

Research Review

  1. Title: The Church of England

Source: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/36556/humanescells.pdf

Publisher: Ethical Investment Advisory Group

Date: 2004

This website is about The Church of England’s view on embryonic stem cell research. Even though it is opinion based this source is quite reliable on the content as it is from the Church of England therefore the source must be correct and true that the content is from the most reliable source according from that religion.

  1. Title: How stem cells work

Source: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/cellular-microscopic/stem-cell2.htm

Author: Stephanie Watson and Craig Freudenrich

Date: 2004

This website tells me how stem cells work and what embryonic stem cells actually are. This information is useful as it provides a bit of general and basis knowledge that needs to be known for the reader to know what my project is about. This is factual hence cannot be biased.

  1. Title: BBC Religions Islam: Stem cell research

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/islamethics/stemcells.shtml

Publisher: BBC

Date: 2009

The Islamic view about stem cell research is presented in this website. This is an opinionated source.

  1. Title: Stem Cells Research

Source: http://www.islam101.com/science/stemCells.htm

Author: Muzammil Siddiqi

This is another website that gives more detail about the Islamic view on embryonic stem cell research. This is also opinion based and can be seen as biased. However, this is not a major concern as it necessary for displaying different views about embryonic stem cells.

  1. Title: Human embryonic stem cells: research, ethics and policy

Source: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/4/672.full

Author: Guido de Wert

Date: 2003

In this website, the use of embryonic stem cells is explained. This is a factual based source.

  1. Title: History of Stem Cell Research

Source: http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/historystemcellresearch.html

Author: Ian Murnaghan

Date: 2017

This website shows me a factual time line of how stem cells have progressed. From this source, I have taken when embryonic stem cells were discovered and key dates to portray how research has been very slow.

  1. Title: Hinduism

Source: https://embryo-ethics.smd.qmul.ac.uk/tutorials/embryo-and-religion/hinduism/

Date: 2006

The Hindus view on embryonic stem cell research is given in this website which makes it an opinionated source.

  1. Title: A Scientist’s View of the Ethics of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Source: http://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/fulltext/S1934-5909(07)00009-4

Author: Anne McLaren

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.

Date: 2007

This website shows the scientists view on embryonic stem cell research. This is opinion based.

  1. Title: Regulation of stem cell research in the United Kingdom | Eurostemcell

Source: http://www.eurostemcell.org/regulations/regulation-stem-cell-research-united-kingdom

Author: Aurélie Mahalatchimy

Publisher: EuroStemCell

Date: 2017

The legislations of embryonic stem cell research in England are stated in this website. This is a speculation. This source is quite reliable as the domain of the website is the ‘Euro Stem Cell’ so the website is approved with the most important scientists surveying out important, incorrect and reliable facts and opinions.

  1. Title: Regulation of stem cell research in Lithuania | Eurostemcell

Source: http://www.eurostemcell.org/regulations/regulation-stem-cell-research-lithuania

Author: Sean Small

Publisher: EuroStemCell

The legislations of embryonic stem cell research in Lithuania are stated in this website to provide an alternative to the legislations in England. This is also a speculation. This source is quite reliable as the domain of the website is the ‘Euro Stem Cell’ so the website is approved with the most important scientists surveying out important, incorrect and reliable facts and opinions.

  1. Title: Medical Technology

Author: Robert Snedden

Publisher: Smart Apple Media

Place of Publication: Mankato, Minnesota

Date: 2009

In this book, there is a chapter (page 28-35) about embryonic stem cell research which is relevant to my project. This is factual and very reliable as every book that gets published must be checked by a figure of authority. Robert Snedden is an experience author and editor for more than 30 books. Since he has been involved in more than one book it provides us with a sense of stability that he is reliable and professional. His work cannot be biased as it is a report based book containing facts that is double checked before publishing. The fact that he is an editor it shows that other authors trust him enough to allow him to review their work.

  1. Title: In Vitro Fertilization

Author: Ann Fullick

Publisher: Pearson Education

Date: 2009

Even though this book is mainly about In Vitro Fertilization there is a section in this book where it talks about the ethical issues which crosses over with the ethical issues to do embryonic stem cell research.

  1. Title: Stem cells: FAQs about stem cell research

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bone-marrow-transplant/in-depth/stem-cells/art-20048117?pg=2

Publisher: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Date: 2013

This is a factual source about embryonic stem cells and what they can achieve. It is quite generic but sums up the main ideas into short sentences quite nicely.

  1. Title: Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research

Author: Clive N. Svendsen

Publisher: SAGE Publications

Place of Publication: Los Angeles

Date: 2008

As this is a book it means it is more reliable that my online based sources that I have used.1

  1. Title: What Christians should know about embryonic stem cell research

Source: https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/what-christians-should-know-about-embryonic-stem-cell-research

Author: Joe Carter

Date: 2013

This source is both factual and opinionated. It is also speculation as is states the laws of embryonic stem cell research in other countries as well. I used this source for insight about the Christian view on embryonic stem cell research.

  1. Title: Stem cells

Source: https://answersingenesis.org/sanctity-of-life/stem-cells/stem-cells/

Author: Georgia Purdom

Date: 2009

This website is shows the Christian view on embryonic stem cell research which makes it opinionated.

  1. Title: Stem Cell Research: A Biblical Perspective | Believer’s Magazine

Source: http://www.believersmagazine.com/bm.php?i=20050503

Author: D Vallance

Publisher: John Ritchie Ltd.

Date: 2005

This source provides only the Christians view on embryonic stem cell research. It is opinionated.

  1. Title: Stem Cell Research

Source: http://www.healthline.com/health/stem-cell-research#overview1

Author: Jacquelyn Cafasso

Date: 2016

This is a factual source about embryonic stem cell research. The content written is all checked by the University of Illinois which means that it is highly reliable as it was double checked for any false statements before being published.

For all my reference sources, I have made sure to choose references which are necessary and relevant to my project. Some of my sources can be interpreted to be biased as they are opinion based. However, to answer my question I need to show a range of opinions and views. To make sure my factual sources weren’t biased I made sure the information was reliable and from a trustworthy person to add consistency to my extended project. However, some information such as the author and date published for some of the sources that I used couldn’t be found. The two book sources I have chosen are reliable as every book that gets made must get checked and modified by professionals to make sure the content is correct and not false. Only then can the book be published and become accessible to the public. At the bottom of my websites that I have chosen to use there are references to the writer of the articles which makes them more dependable. I chose to stay away from using Wikipedia as anyone can add information onto it without it being necessarily true.

Discussion

 

My own view:

Personally, I believe embryonic stem cell research should be allowed. This is mainly due to the fact that the research can create the cure to many terminal illnesses. The possible outcomes are very rewarding. Even though u have to destroy embryos in the process I think that the end achievement weighs more highly than the overall process. Also in my opinion I don’t think that the embryo is developed enough to be classed as a baby yet. This is why my own view is for embryonic stem cell research.

 

What it could potentially cure:

[3]Since stem cells have the ability to turn into various other types of cells, scientists believe that they can be useful for treating and understanding diseases. Stem cells can be used to:

  • grow new cells in a laboratory to replace damaged organs or tissues
  • correct parts of organs that don’t work properly
  • research causes of genetic defects in cells
  • research how diseases occur or why certain cells develop into cancer cells
  • test new drugs for safety and effectiveness

Stem cells can be used to cure Alzheimer’s disease by injecting neural stem cells (stem cells that can only develop into types of brain cells) into the brain and hope that they will develop into new neurones. The aim of this is that the new neurons would integrate into the brain, replacing the neurons that have been damaged.

[4]There are various sources of human embryonic stem cells. These have been spare IVF embryos. The most revolutionary option would be the creation of embryos specifically for the purpose of isolating stem cells via ‘nuclear transfer’. This option is purported to be the optimal medical use of embryonic stem cell technology since the nuclear DNA of the cells is derived from a somatic cell of a patient to receive the transplant, reducing the chances of tissue rejection.

2The establishment of embryonic cell lines is becoming increasingly efficient, with up to 50% of spare IVF embryos that develop into blastocysts. There are reports of efficiencies much lower than 50%. Growth of the cell lines over extended periods and in some cases under defined conditions has also been reported, but the controlled expansion and differentiation to specific cell types is an area where considerable research will be required before cell transplantation becomes clinical practice. In addition, research will be required on how to deliver cells to the appropriate site in the patient to ensure that they survive, integrate in the host tissue and adopt appropriate function. These are the current scientific challenges that will have to be overcome before cell therapy becomes clinical practice; the problems are common to both human embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. The efficiency of establishing embryonic stem cell lines from nuclear transfer embryos is currently unknown, but expected to be lower than from IVF embryos.

[5]The main ethical reason why stem cells should not be used is because some people believe that these embryos could eventually become into human beings so you are practically killing a human by using them. Other arguments against embryonic stem cells are the fact that adult stem cells are the ones currently being used in therapies and so there is no need to use embryonic stem cells. However, one major reason why they should be used for research is because using embryonic stem cells are easier for scientists and you can also get them from some adult organs. Another argument for embryonic stem cell research is that the embryos are left over from in-vitro fertilisation and would otherwise be destroyed so they should instead be put to greater use.

One risk of using stem cells to cure Alzheimer’s disease is that the new neurones (that were injected in the body) might not be integrated properly so the brain or that the plaques or tangles already present in the brain might damage them. On the other hand, this could possibly cure the 500,000 people living with it in the UK and millions more in the world which would change people’s lives and give them a chance to live like an ordinary human being who is not dependant on someone to take care of them.

[6]Embryonic stem cells also might trigger an immune response in which the recipient’s body attacks the stem cells as foreign invaders, or simply fail to function normally, with unknown consequences. Researchers continue to study how to avoid these possible complications.

It is clear embryonic stem cells have so much medical capability. Scientists have stated stem cell research could help treat many incurable illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Paralysation. With more research, scientists could discover many other things stem cells are capable of, increasing the possibility of overcoming such terminal diseases.

 

Scientific view:

[7]Scientists have been experimenting and studying stem cells for roughly about a century now. The very first stem cells were discovered by Russian Histologist Alexander Maksimov in 1908. Embryonic stem cells were derived from mice embryos in 1981 and from human embryos in 1998. Since then this research has been progressing slowly. This is mainly because of pressure from prolife and religious groups with arguments stating that using embryonic stem cells for the purpose of research is unethical and immoral since it involves extracting the stem cells from the embryo which destroys the embryo in the process. Also, the sufficient funding for stem cells as result of public opinions and political influence plays a major role in the slow progress of stem cells.

Medical professionals and scientists have stated that stem cells have the ability to cure everything from HIV to Parkinson’s. The scientific community sees the potential of stem cells as a key breakthrough in medicine and science. The reason for outrage in the scientific community is that there is a great potential for saving lives through embryonic stem cells research, and that funding and public support is being threatened or ended because of the conflicting side who disagree with allowing the use of embryonic stem cell research. A vast number of scientists agree that embryonic stem cells have huge possibilities to cure Parkinson’s and other infamous and deadly diseases. The only main reason that scientists talk about the probability and potential of human embryonic stem cells research is because substantial amount of research hasn’t been allowed to occur due to friction caused by the opposing side.

 

Legislations:

 

[8]In the United States of America, there are no restrictions on research and only minimal restrictions on government funding of embryo-destructive research. In 2009, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order that lifted all restrictions against federal funding of stem cell research.

[9]In the UK, the use of embryos in stem cell research can be carried out only with authority from the HFEA (The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority). Licences are granted only if the HFEA is satisfied that any proposed use of embryos is absolutely necessary for the purposes of the research. Licensed research can only take place on embryos up to 14 days. Stem cells are isolated from the blastocyst much sooner than this.

7Research using cells taken from destroyed embryos is illegal in many countries, including Germany, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and New Zealand. Most African and South American countries also have some form of restriction or ban.

[10]In Lithuania research on human embryos and the import and export of tissues of a human embryo, stem cells of a human embryo and lines are prohibited. Stem cell research in Lithuania is regulated by the Law on Ethics of Biomedical Research. The Law defines the embryo as “the stage of development of a human organism from the moment of impregnation (formation of a zygote) until the end of the eighth week of a woman’s pregnancy”. The use of embryos for research is restricted to clinical observations (non-interventional trials). The Law on Donation and Transplantation of Human Tissues, Cells and Organs regulates the storage and use of tissue (adult) stem cells for transplantation purposes.

 

Islamic view:

[11]Islam does not have a centralised authority, like the Vatican in Roman Catholicism, to state its position. Most Muslim countries have not yet introduced laws on embryonic stem cell research. Some Muslims are in favour of research, arguing that the embryo does not have a soul until the later stages of its development which is what I believe. Others agree with the Catholic Church which says that it is immoral to destroy embryos at any stage to harvest stem cells.

[12]The Shari’ah law states that it is forbidden to take a human life but it is questionable up to what extent do we consider an embryo as a human life. Muslim jurists have made a clear distinction between the early stages of pregnancy (first 40 days) and its later stages. It is mentioned that if someone attacks a pregnant woman and aborts her baby in the early stages of her pregnancy, that person’s punishment will be less than that of the person who does that during full pregnancy. Also, if he kills the child after the birth, then he is liable to be punished for homicide. The embryo in this stage is not human. It is not in its natural environment, the womb. If it is not placed in the womb it will not survive and it will not become a human being so many scholars believe that there is nothing wrong in doing this research, especially if this research has a potential to cure diseases.

 

10In 2003, Iranian scientists developed human embryonic stem cell lines. Other Muslim groups and countries such as Turkey and the National Fatwa Council in Malaysia also support embryonic stem cell research. However, there are still some Muslim officials that are concerned that the technology could be abused and that babies could be cloned and then killed to supply organs or ‘spare parts’ for other patients.

 

Hinduism view:

[13]The main Hindu view is that deliberate destruction of an embryo is homicide. This is similar to Catholicism. The Vedas, which is the oldest of the sacred Hindu texts, emphasise the sanctity of life and this concept is at the heart of the Hindu principle of non-violence. All life is God’s creation and therefore all life must be respected. In showing love to living creatures, we also show love to God is what many Hindu’s believe.

 

12Belief in reincarnation is particularly important in shaping traditional Hindu attitudes to embryonic stem cell research. They believe that when we die, our soul is reborn as another species (this could be human or animal). The process of death and rebirth goes on over many, many, many lifetimes. It is a cycle that can end only after innumerable lifetimes of good deeds. Once liberated from the cycle, the soul ends up with God.

 

12The purpose of human life is to make progress towards this liberation from rebirth. However, the destruction of an embryo interrupts this process of reincarnation because according to traditional Hinduism, the soul is reborn from its previous life at the moment of conception. This means destroying an embryo means destroying a new life with a soul and this can interfere with progress towards liberation from rebirth.

 

12It is perfectly possible to use other Hindu concepts and traditions as the basis for accepting embryonic stem cell research. One can, for example, appeal to an ancient Hindu embryology which says that incarnation takes place as late as the 7th month of pregnancy. Research would then be acceptable right up until the seventh month, as the embryo is not a person until this age.

 

12Hindus emphasise the need for society to make sacrifices for the greater good. Anil Bhanot, the General Secretary of the UK Hindu Council asks whether it is not worth sacrificing “a few for the greater good of helping the existing life”, is this not “in itself a noble value for all our salvation?” According to Bhanot we live in a world where “the law of nature rules that we must kill in order to survive. Human beings only live and continue to breathe by consuming the plant and, in most cases, the animal life around us.” Under this view it is natural for humans to kill to survive and so it not fair for some very early forms of life i.e. the embryo to be destroyed if doing so produce treatments for otherwise incurable disease

[14]Adult stem cell research does not pose an ethical problem for Hindus. However, embryonic stem cell research for cloning does, and so, to a degree, does embryonic stem cell research that is intended to achieve therapeutic results. For most Hindus, the traditional belief about conception is that it begins the rebirth of a person’s soul from a previous life. As the embryo develops, it acquires personhood between the third and fifth months of gestation. This period is also the traditional time of “quickening” in Western ideas about conception. For some Hindus, incarnation can occur as late as the seventh month.

 

13Although for Hindus a foetus is a person, Hindus also permit abortion if it is performed to save the life of the mother. This is an expression of empathetic kindness toward another. It is a part of a devoted sacrifice that is performed out of concern for others. The broad sacrificial tradition condones taking life for a higher cause. In the Mahabharata, it is acceptable to sacrifice a son for the family and a family for the village. Embryonic stem cell research might be condoned under this tradition. However, it is not a universal Hindu view, and probably there is, given the enormous variety of beliefs among Hindus, no such thing as a common Hindu belief on virtually anything.

In light of the enormous amount of the funding and the expected profits that will eventually come from stem cell research if it generates cures, the profit motive is of concern to Hindus. Specifically, the widespread Hindu concern is that stem cell therapies be affordable by all, including the poor. There is also concern among Hindus that a human life in a test tube is in danger of being treated as an object rather than with awe and reverence.

 

Christian view:

[15]Preserving life is extremely important in the Christian faith. However, the controversial issue of killing embryos for stem cells is one that highly debatable among modern day Christians since technology is advancing faster than society’s ethics.

 

5A big controversy today is that of determining when life beginsThe sanctity of life is a religious idea closely linked to Christianity. It is the belief that life is precious and should be valued. Most Christians believe the destruction of an embryo for stem cell research is violating the sanctity of life, since life starts at conception. The Sixth Commandment states “Thou shalt not murder”. Determining the ethics in these issues is especially difficult when the research promises to cure diseases that leave millions disabled or dying every year. However, the Bible clearly prohibits evil means to accomplish good ends. In addition, the Bible encourages us to look after each other; ‘We are to love our neighbours as ourselves’ and ‘Jesus taught that a stranger in trouble was our neighbour’. Here the implication is that the stranger in trouble is an embryo being used for research purposes.

The process of obtaining stem cells leads to the destruction of the embryo from which the cells are taken. Since human life begins at conception, embryo destruction is immoral since it is the destruction of a human being. Even some people who do not believe that human embryos are deserving of full moral status worry about what the effects of normalising such practices may have on society. The majority of Christians are strongly against the use of embryonic stem cell research. However, this number is strongly depleting in the modern day. Some Christians feel the use of embryonic stem cell research is more valuable to humans than killing unused embryos. In the past Christians have been strongly against taking another beings life, therefore previously would not have agreed with embryonic stem cell. This is the case with many older Christian believers as their generation have been brought up to not kill one another. Older Christians of modern day society may not agree with embryonic stem cell research. However, the younger generation of Christians who have been brought up during the cutting edge or science research and development would be able to understand the advantages of embryonic stem cell and the benefits associated with it, meaning they are more likely to agree with the use of embryonic stem cell research.

7There are several passages in the Bible that strongly suggest that human life begins at conception. The Bible is also clear about taking an innocent life. For these reasons, many Christians don’t support medical research that requires killing innocent human beings at the earliest stage of their development.

Jesus taught a story of love and compassion, therefore Christians would feel the need to do the same in their lives. Although everyone wants to see such devastating diseases come to an end, we all must realise our work will only lead to a temporary alleviation. Most Christians believe that “Jesus Christ, the true conqueror of disease and death, will create a new heaven and a new earth where the effects of sin have been removed”.

14A promising new field of study involves stem cells found in the dental pulp of baby teeth. One U.S. Company involved in this research is Baby tooth Technologies of Massachusetts founded by three Christians: Jason Bourgeois, John Beaulieu, and Robin Crossman, DVM. Since they believe the Bible’s teaching that life begins at conception, they focus on adult stem cell research. The founders also say that they desire both to make embryonic stem cell research less palatable and to bring glory to God.

[16]God gave man dominion over his creation which encourages Christians to unlock the secrets of the biological world and harness them for our benefit. However, they must exercise their dominion responsibly, for they are merely stewards of God’s creation. God is sovereign over life. He created every living thing, and He controls both life and death. Christians are not their own, but his by creation and by redemption. Therefore, they believe that they have no right to seek control of human life, to tinker with its genetics, or to advance its “evolution”. Just because something is technically possible does not mean that it is morally permissible. We have the technology to destroy the human race with nuclear warheads, but that does not mean that they should ever do so. This is a strong counterargument against embryonic stem cell research.

[17]Currently there are very few companies involved in this type of research, as it is relatively novel. As the benefits of embryo research emerge, more healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are likely to invest in embryonic stem cell research. However, The Church of England does not invest in companies who research embryonic stem cells as they do not agree with its ethics.

Today’s public view:

For Not sure Against
34 9 17

 

The information above shows the results of a small survey I conducted about different people’s view and opinions on embryonic stem cell research. After giving a rough overview about embryonic stem cell research, that I gained so far from studying this topic, I asked a total of 60 people in the Highcross Shopping Centre. From the results I gathered, I can conclude to say that over 50% of people agree with the use of embryonic stem cells if it means potentially curing diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

 

Age:

As time and technology is progressing so is people’s views and opinions. Many of the older generation are still caught up in their old beliefs and thinking which is why many of them disagree with embryonic stem cell research. They cannot fathom the concept of this research and so almost fear what it may do or its consequences. They also seem more connected to their religious roots and so aren’t as accepting of the scientific practises. However younger generation have grown up in society where science and technology is advancing rapidly and so they tend to be more accepting of the idea of using embryonic stem cells for research for potentially curing many diseases. I obtained this understanding from talking and engaging with some of the people I met at Highcross Shopping Centre when I conducted my survey.

Conclusion

After looking at all the information I obtained from this project it is very clear that embryonic stem cells have the potential to cure many illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and paralysation. However, for this to be fully possible in a safe manner in the medical and science industry a lot more research will have to be done. The side against embryonic stem cell research’s main and simple issue is with destroying an embryo, which they believe has the same rights as any other human being, is immorally wrong and claim that alternative adult stem cells can be used instead since they have found some many cures already from these stem cells. Yet this would take even more research and time than that of embryonic stem cells would need and is not as highly guaranteed that adult stem cells could potentially find the cures to these diseases.

Everyone will answer my question, ‘whether embryonic stem cell research should be allowed?’, differently as everyone has different opinions and views but I would like to conclude and answer my question with a yes, that embryonic stem cell research should be allowed but only with embryos from abortions and failed IVF that would’ve been thrown away anyway. I believe this, as those embryos would’ve been destroyed anyway so it’s better to put them to medical and scientific use for curing many diseases.

Evaluation

I think that I have answered my question quite well as I have looked and provided a wide overview with a lot of variating views from different groups of people.

During this project, I have learnt how to time manage with the help of using the activity log to note my progress down. I have learnt how to interact and conduct a survey with people that I am unfamiliar with which has helped my confidence and communication skills develop.

I think that my project is quite informative and reliable as I have provided not only secondary information but also primary data that I obtained myself. However, one thing that I would like to do differently for next time is to carry out my survey in multiple different places instead of just one place such as a mosque, cathedral, elderly care home, shopping centres, etc. This is because different people visit different places so by visiting a variety of places my primary data will allow a stronger interpretation as it can be backed up with more data and statistics that I would’ve obtained.

I had to cut out some sections that I originally wanted to include in my discussion such as the future and organisations sections. This was due to time and lack of information that I could find. Also, I had originally planned to look at some law case studies or news articles for some more insight. However, I did not get around to finding sufficient reliable evidence for any of these sections so excluded it from my project. If I got a chance to answer this question again I would like to spend more time to gain a wider spread of different type of sources other than just websites and books.

Another issue with my ep was the fact that I had to alter my whole discussion to add my own point of view which wasn’t made clear in the beginning. This lead to me having to rush as the deadline was the week following. I would’ve liked to have had earlier and clearer instructions.

Bibliography

  1. Bbc.co.uk. (2009). BBC – Religions – Islam: Stem cell research. [Online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/islamethics/stemcells.shtml [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Cafasso, J. (2016). Stem Cell Research. [online] Healthline. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/stem-cell-research#overview1 [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Carter, J. (2013). What Christians should know about embryonic stem cell research. [online] ERLC. Available at: https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/what-christians-should-know-about-embryonic-stem-cell-research [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Church investment & human embryonic stem cell research. (2004). [ebook] London: Ethical Investment Advisory Group. Available at: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/36556/humanescells.pdf [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Embryo-ethics.smd.qmul.ac.uk. (2006). Hinduism. [online] Available at: https://embryo-ethics.smd.qmul.ac.uk/tutorials/embryo-and-religion/hinduism/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
  1. Fullick, A. (2009). In-Vitro Fertilization. 2nd ed. Pearson Education.
  1. Mahalatchimy, A. (2017). Regulation of stem cell research in the United Kingdom | Eurostemcell. [online] Eurostemcell.org. Available at: http://www.eurostemcell.org/regulations/regulation-stem-cell-research-united-kingdom [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Mayo Clinic. (2013). Stem cells: FAQs about stem cell research. [online] Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bone-marrow-transplant/in-depth/stem-cells/art-20048117?pg=2 [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. McLaren, A. (2007). A Scientist’s View of the Ethics of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. [online] cell.com. Available at: http://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/fulltext/S1934-5909(07)00009-4 [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Murnaghan, I. (2017). History of Stem Cell Research. [online] Explorestemcells.co.uk. Available at: http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/historystemcellresearch.html [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Purdom, G. (2009). Stem Cells. [online] Answers in Genesis. Available at: https://answersingenesis.org/sanctity-of-life/stem-cells/stem-cells/ [Accessed 13 Mar. 2016].
  1. Siddiqi, M. (n.d.). Stem Cells Research. [Online] Islam101.com. Available at: http://www.islam101.com/science/stemCells.htm [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Small, S. (n.d.). Regulation of stem cell research in Lithuania | Eurostemcell. [online] Eurostemcell.org. Available at: http://www.eurostemcell.org/regulations/regulation-stem-cell-research-lithuania [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Snedden, R. (2009). Medical technology. Mankato [Minn.]: Smart Apple Media.
  1. Svendsen, C. and Ebert, A. (2008). Encyclopedia of stem cell research. Los Angeles [Calif.]: SAGE Publications.
  1. Watson, S. and Freudenrich, C. (2004). How Stem Cells Work. [Online] HowStuffWorks.com. Available at: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/cellular-microscopic/stem-cell2.htm [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Wert, G. (2003). Human embryonic stem cells: research, ethics and policy. [Online] academic.oup.com. Available at: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/4/672.full [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].
  1. Vallance, D. (2005). Stem Cell Research: A Biblical Perspective | Believer’s Magazine. [online] Believersmagazine.com. Available at: http://www.believersmagazine.com/bm.php?i=20050503 [Accessed 7 Nov. 2016].

Appendices

Project Proposal Form
Learner Name Aleena Ghafoor Learner number 3068
Centre Name English Martyrs Catholic School Centre Number 25120
Teacher Assessor  Mr Cajkler Date 19/09/2016
Unit
Proposed project title Should embryonic stem cell research be allowed?
Section One: Title, objective, responsibilities
Title or working title of project (in the form of a question, commission or design brief) 

Should embryonic stem cell research be allowed?

Project objectives (e.g. what is the question you want to answer? What do you want to learn how to do? What do you want to find out?):

I would like to find out whether embryonic stem cell research is right and whether it should be allowed.

I would like to explore the different views on embryonic stem cells such as various religious views, scientific view, medical view and the ethical view.

I would like to learn how to find non-biased relevant research and to learn how to make notes from my research in a quick and efficient way as I believe it will help me for when I go to university.

If it is a group project, what will your responsibilities be?

No, this is not a group project.

Section Two: Reasons for choosing this project
Reasons for choosing the project (e.g. links to other subjects you are studying, personal interest, future plans, knowledge/skills you want to improve, why the topic is important): 

I chose this topic as I have some brief knowledge about embryonic stem cells as I did triple science for GCSE. I found it quite interesting and so would like to go into more depth. I will look into the:

  • Religious view
  • Scientific view
  • Medical view
  • Ethical/Moral view
  • Law related cases about embryonic stem cells

As well knowing different views I would like to know if religion influences their own views. This will help me gain a better understanding of where people’s faith lies compared to their own beliefs. I am taking biology for A levels as in the future I would like to work in the medical field.

Section Three: Activities and timescales
Activities to be carried out during the project (e.g. research, development and analysis of ideas, writing, data collection, numerical analysis, rehearsal techniques, production meetings, production of final outcome, administration, evaluation, preparing for the presentation, etc): 

Planning:

I will look at non biased and relevant sources of information and make a note of them so that when I start my research I don’t waste time looking for specific books or websites. I would also arrange with my school access to any university or non-public libraries which I would be available to use.

Research:

I will use various sources to obtain knowledge needed for my research such as books from the library and the internet. I will also ask a range of people for their own views and include quotes from them to help me answer the ethical/moral view section of my overall question.

Developments:

I will look through my notes I made from my research and at the arguments both for and against to enable me to develop a conclusion and my final thoughts and ideas.

Editing:

I will look through my work closely to look for any mistakes or improvements. Then I will do an improved and final copy.

How long this will take:
  

Milestone one:

Collect and review 15 sources

Research review section of written bibliography

Target date (set by tutor-assessor):

5th December 2016

19th December 2016

Milestone two:

Writing analysis

Conclusion

Final draft copy

Target date (set by tutor-assessor):

13th march 2017-12th June 2017

Section Four: Resources
  

What resources will you need for your research, write up and presentation (e.g. libraries, books, journals, equipment, rehearsal space, technology and equipment, venue, physical resources, finance):

For my project I will need:

  • Books from the library
  • Internet either on my phone or laptop
  • To ask a random variety of people some questions based on embryonic stem cell research to gain a primary source of information
  • Quotes, facts and statistics to back up my findings.

What your areas of research will cover?

From completing my research it will help me answer my main question.

Comments and agreement from tutor-assessor
Is the learner taking this project as part of the Diploma?                                                          Yes/No 

 

If yes, which Diploma are they taking?   ______________________________________________

 

Comments (optional):

 

 

 

Is project derived from work which has been/will be submitted for another qualification?          Yes/No

 

Which qualification (title and unit)?      _______________________________________________

 

Comments (optional):

 

 

 

I confirm that the project is not work which has been or will be submitted for another qualification and is appropriate.

 

 

Agreed:      (name)                                        (date)

Comments and agreement from project proposal checker
Comments (optional): 

 

I confirm that the project is appropriate.

 

Agreed:      (name)              (date)


[1] Sneddon, 2009, Medical Technology, Smart Apple Media, Mankato Minnesota, page 28-30

[3] Cafasso, Stem Cell Research, http://www.healthline.com/health/stem-cell-research#overview1

[4] Wert, Human embryonic stem cells: research, ethics and policy, http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/4/672.full

[5] Fullick, 2009, In Vitro Fertilisation, Pearson Education, page

[6] FAQs about stem cell research, http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bone-marrow-transplant/in-depth/stem-cells/art-20048117?pg=2

[7] Murnaghan, History of Stem Cell Research, http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/historystemcellresearch.html

[8] Carter, What Christians should know about embryonic stem cell research, https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/what-christians-should-know-about-embryonic-stem-cell-research

[9] Mahalatchimy, Regulation of stem cell research in the United Kingdom | Eurostemcell, http://www.eurostemcell.org/regulation-stem-cell-research-united-kingdom

[10] Small, Regulation of stem cell research in Lithuania | Eurostemcell, http://www.eurostemcell.org/regulations/regulation-stem-cell-research-lithuania

[12] Siddiqi, Stem Cells Research, http://www.islam101.com/science/stemCells.htm

[14] Svendsen and Ebert, 2008, Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research, SAGE Publications, Los Angeles, page

[16] Vallance, Stem Cell Research: A Biblical Perspective | Believer’s Magazine, http://www.believersmagazine.com/bm.php?i=20050503



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