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Stem Cell Research

 
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marisa6
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:42 am    Post subject: Stem Cell Research Reply with quote

I know this is something people will probably have very strong opinions on, but I would really like to hear your views. I find myself pulled two ways on this.

Currently, the way stem cells are extracted is from embryos at the eight cell stage of development. In the news this week a team of scientists think they have found a way of keeping the embryo alive after removing a cell, although to an extent that is splitting hairs as it is still research that could harm embryos.

This is an ethical minefield. Life is sacred - but when does sentient life begin? I have never liked the idea of abortion - although I would never judge another woman for having one. When I was pregnant I would get upset if I even heard the 'A' word. I know that even at eight cells life has begun, but I find it hard to visualise this as a baby. But, and its a big but, it is a human life, so it makes me very uncomfortable.

On the other hand - I am the mother of a diabetic child whose best hope of a cure is stem cell research. Without a cure he will continue to live a very restricted life with the risk of horrendous long-term complications. he will also, on average, have his life expectancy cut by 15 years. He is my baby and I am torn.

I am left hoping that they will soon find a way to make stem cells from adult cells. But I know to do this they must go down the route of embryonic stem cell reasearch first.

I'm not sure how I feel about this and would very much value all of your opinions!

Marisa xx
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Kim
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a dumb question (dumb because I really don't know much about this issue).

As far as I know, these embryos are destined for destruction if not used, and otherwise just "sit there" ... which in a sense is also a cruelty.

If so much good can come from working with stem cells to cure illnesses and disabilities .... why not? If the alternative is just a senseless destruction - how is harvesting stem cells "more wrong" than outright destruction or lives left "in limbo" from lack of use?

In a sense, it seems to me that the embryos go nowhere and are disrespected already because of the logjam of politics that prevents something good from happening.

Or maybe I am simply revealing my own ignorance on this issue. Think

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Torile
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marisa - I can see where you would feel torn on this issue. As mothers we always want the very best we can give our children especially if it is health related. We would do anything to see that their needs are met. But at what cost and to what lengths are we willing to go.

The stem cell debate is really secondary to the abortion debate. Generally, I think those that believe abortion is OK will have no issue with stem cell research and those who are adamantly opposed to abortion will be on the other side of the fence.
Quote:
I know that even at eight cells life has begun, but I find it hard to visualise this as a baby. But, and its a big but, it is a human life, so it makes me very uncomfortable

Then there are people that share these same views. While morally they would be opposed to killing a "baby" they don't actually picture the embryo as a baby until it resembles a little child.
So -as doubt you will find any people who are opposed to abortion that feel stem cell research (in the manner it is performed now) is alright and vice versa with the pro-choice people. The only people that I see who might be swayed in either direction are people like yourself.

So here's a hypothetical question - purely off the wall, I know. Let's say that your son had heart disease instead of diabetes. Let's say that the only hope for life your son had was a heart transplant. (Now here's the off the wall part) Hypothetically, let's say that the heart HAD to come from a living donor, a small child near your son's age. Aw heck - let's just take it a step farther and assume that the donor organ (I'll call it that since it's easier to separate emotions if we don't actually put a face on it) belonged to an small child in an orphanage --- a child no one wanted anyway.

So - would you sacrifice one child to save another? I'm sure most people would immediately say, "Heaven's NO. That would be murder." But take it a step farther and say that the "donor" were not only an orphan but deaf, dumb and blind or maybe had a disease of it's own which might shorten a normal life expectancy anyway. Now people might balk at this scenario but if you do accept that an embryo IS a life form then all we are doing is putting a face on it as a child.

I may be wrong but I thought that stem cells could be harvested from umbilical cords as well. ((Can anyone confirm this for me??))
How many cords are snipped and tossed in the trash with the placenta every day in this country?
As far as I'm concerned embryonic stem cell research is another ploy to de-sensitize us to abortion and devalue human life.
Quote:
I am left hoping that they will soon find a way to make stem cells from adult cells. But I know to do this they must go down the route of embryonic stem cell reasearch first.

Why? Why do we have to explore embryonic research first? I ask this in all sincerity because I really don't know what the reason might be. I don't understand why we would need to destroy life and not explore all other possible avenues.

Kim - again, I may be wrong, but I thought that President Bush had given the go-ahead for utilization of the cells already harvested and has halted any
further harvesting. So, if that is the case, there should be no reason why these cells would need to be destroyed.

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Kim
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Kim - again, I may be wrong, but I thought that President Bush had given the go-ahead for utilization of the cells already harvested and has halted any
further harvesting. So, if that is the case, there should be no reason why these cells would need to be destroyed."

This is possible. As I said, I am not current on all the news and politics in this issue, so it is hard for me to say much about what I don't know. Angel

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Carole B
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe fervently that scientific research into such things as stem cell's and their use is nothing less than an urgent need in this modern world.

Where would we be if past politicians and supposed 'world leaders' had banned all such research. Back living in caves with the guys dragging their women around by the hair probably.

I'll not venture into the religious or political aspects of such arguments as I don't believe religion or politics have any place, or right to argue when just one human life may be saved or the quality of that life may be improved following such dedicated research.
But as a parent I will admit that if my child was in danger of losing his life then I would not hesitate for even a nano second to agree to use the results of ANY modern research if that was the last chance for my child.

I would not care one iota what any political party or religious dogmas may or may not 'advise' or 'dictate'. I'd just say for 'heavens sake' - just do it"!!!!

It's to enable us to make decisions like this that I believe we were given brains and the capacity to reason.

Carole B.

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Rosie B.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you've said it best Carole.

I am all for stem cell research.

I don't like abortion either but I consider that perhaps if the child is born he's being brought into this world by a mother who does not want him or her and will possibly neglect the child and make their life a living hell. The mother could possibly be unfit to have the child just by her will to see it killed in the first place. Should we force a person like this to have a baby? Do we have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body unless we are willing to adopt her child or help support it with thousands of dollars? It's so easy to dictate morality to others when we have no intention of doing anything to help raise these unwanted children.

I'd simply wish people would use birth control in the first place although it's very obvious that isn't always the choice being made.

I am designated as an organ donor on my driver's license. I hope you all are. I feel it's the least I can do.

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Debra
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I strongly believe that a human life begins at a cellular level and should not be destroyed or injured for research UNLESS those embyos were to be destroyed anyway??? which I'm still finding confusing and need to find out more about. My beliefs are not guided by any political or religious dogma--it's just simply a matter of when I believe life begins. To me, those cells are truly the beginnings of a human life and should not be touched any more than a fully formed baby should be. Needless to say I am against abortion too and feel a strong need for better education regarding birth controll.
And if I had a sick child I would indeed be torn about it.

I'm a designated organ donar too and can only hope that that in some will can be used for not only transplants but towrds tissue research too.

Very interesting topic Marisa. You lead me to want to find out more.

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marisa6
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks ladies - this is all helpful.

Sigh - I still don't know what to think, but the biggest part of me wants them to find a cure for Cameron and all the other people around the world. I can cope with the idea of using existing cells for research, but I think that if I thought that blastocysts/ embryos (call them what you will) were being farmed specifically I would have a much harder time with that. But again I keep coming back to the possible benefits - not just for diabetes but a whole range of other conditions. It is a really really hard one.

I'm not sure why the stem cells from umbilical cords aren't as good. I know that there is ongoing research into making stem cells from adult cells. Even the cells in teratomas (spelling?) might be useful. It would make me much happier if they find a way to utilise these instead.

Still thinking hard about it Think Eh?

Marisa
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marisa6
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just found this on Wikipedia for anyone interested. It is quite comprehensive and more importantly easy to read!

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tbech7430
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This question is a damned if you do and damned if you don't one!
I don't like the abortion thing either but that is where they get the stem cell's from or from someone donating the embryo.
I am all for science but this is a very sticky situation. I think everyone has stated very good point's. but is it right to take a life to save a life?

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Carole B
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it is indeed a 'sticky' subject - as is the question of abortion....

But - and this is a personal view - I fear that as human beings, and as parents many people don't want to come down on the side of either stem cell research (or abortion) because they feel uncomfortable having to say "I agree with that"! There is the fear of being sneered at and (even worse) castigated by all those others who always seem to 'know what's good for us'!!!!!

How many of us here have admitted to carrying 'Donor Cards' for organ transplants? Many of us believe that this is 'ethical', but transplants didn't come about by themselves did they? The research needed to enable us to use this procedure must have been incredible. So why is it nowadays OK to have a heart , liver, kidney, eyes or lungs from someone else's body - butnot some 'stem cells'?

Once again - a personal view - whatever parts of our bodies may help save another life - should be used... If I had a loved one who was terminally ill and a scientist told me that he had the means to save my loved one - I would not be strong enough to say"I don't care! You must stop all your research - I don't believe in 'stem cell research'!!! No way - I would grab at ANY straw anyone was offering me.... But could any of us - if we are honest - do or say that? I know I couldn't.

But then I wouldn't want to!

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Debra
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good points Carole. The difference to me regarding the donation of my organs is that I will be dead and gone or brain dead and let go.... The embyo is living, viable , soon to be a full-fledged human baby. It's on it's way to a life that I feel it deserves to have. If I am giving my organs up after I'm dead [hopefully!] then a lot of good can come from them I hope.

Again, a great question Carole--could I if one of my family members or myself became terminally ill still come down on stem cell research? I don't know in all honesty. When actually faced with a decision like that....if a doctor said to me in 10 years we could have a cure for cancer but we need to harvest embryos and then disregard them after they are used , I honestly don't think I could go for it!

You know--I'd like to find out a bit more about how transplantation of organs came about!

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marisa6
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm - I think the difference comes down to the ability to give informed consent.

I know what both of you ladies mean. Once the medical advances are made, exactly how the scientists came to them is quickly forgotten. Many modern medicines and procedures these days derive from the initial experimentation on Jewish captives during WW2. While the way these things came about was indescribably horrible, we are nonetheless used to being able to access the treatments.

I think as far as stem cell research goes, I am regrettably going to take the head-in-the-sand approach or I am going to tie myself in knots. Not ethical I know - but we must do these things for the sake of our sanity sometimes..... Anxious

Marisa
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Debra
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Marisa, -- you put it better than I did! Consent would be the key here for me.

I don't blame you for putting your head in the sand either!!!
Sometimes it's all too overwhelming to think about!

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