1
   

Stem cell research v. organ/tissue donation

 
 
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2004 03:19 pm
Should the "parents" of frozen embroys be allowed to donate this tissue to science as they might the organs and tissues of a brain-dead child?

Would such an arrangement help alievate the moral problems many people have with stem cell research, or not?

I aprreciate your opinion.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 9,563 • Replies: 86
No top replies

 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2004 04:37 pm
Since no one seems ready to jump in on this one, let me explain my thinking a bit further to see if it sparks any discussion.

If, as some believe, life begins at conception, then stem cell research is immoral as it destroys a "living being".

For organs to be transplantable they must come from "beating heart" cadavers; meaning that the heart and lungs are supported despite brain death, until the organs can be matched to a recipient. Essentially, the organs are harvested from a "living being".

I believe that organ donation is looked kindly upon by nearly everyone.

If parents were to release frozen embryos using the same protocol as ogan/tissue/body doantion where is the moral delimna?
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2004 05:07 pm
Quote:
For organs to be transplantable they must come from "beating heart" cadavers; meaning that the heart and lungs are supported despite brain death, until the organs can be matched to a recipient. Essentially, the organs are harvested from a "living being".


Very interesting. I had never really conceptualized, or even thought about the fact that organs are donated from "living" beings.

The only reason that I didn't jump into your thread, is that I think that stem cell research is vital to scientific progress. I am not concerned if the cells are gotten from frozen embryos, babies' umbilical cords, or aborted fetuses.

I wouldn't talk your point up too much. In the "moral" climate that we are in now, if some of the fundamentalists realized what is being done when organs are harvested, they might want that stopped too! Evil or Very Mad
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Nov, 2004 08:53 pm
Good point, Phoenix. I certainly hope that no person or group decides that organ donation is immoral!

There is a really fascinating book called "Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers" that goes through the many different things that can happen to your body once you donate all or part of it upon your death. Some of it is quite creepy but it would never dissuade me from donating.

I really do think that some minds might be changed if people would think of these frozen embryos as organ donation.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2004 06:08 am
Quote:
I really do think that some minds might be changed if people would think of these frozen embryos as organ donation.


Boomerang- Well, you can start the ball rolling. Why don't you try writing a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper, or even to your people in Congress.
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2004 12:21 pm
My mother had two miscarriages--both at the 6th month of pregnancy. She always said she would have been delighted had those children had a chance to contribute to the world in death as they were not able to in life.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Nov, 2004 12:44 pm
Your comment really points out the difference in the two ways to view moarlity, Noddy, and I think your mother was ahead of her time.

And sadly, still ahead of our times.

I really try to understand the anti-stem cell research arguments and I just can't make sense out of them.
0 Replies
 
Hazlitt
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2004 11:03 pm
Moral status of stemcells
Boomerang,

I personally believe it's morally right to use stem cells for therapeutic purposes. Just about any definition of embryos that deals with the question of whether or not the embryo is a human being is in effect a value judgment (as opposed to a fact). We are apt to disagree on value judgments. I think it is frequently pointed out that in the early stages, there is not brain activity in an embryo, and that the embryo is thus similar to the brain dead person from whom organs are harvested. To the best of my knowledge this line of reasoning has been rejected by the Catholic Church and by the Protestant Fundamentalists.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Nov, 2004 07:11 am
Hi Hazlitt.

I completely agree with you.

I suppose that this line of reasoning is rejected because they see the potential for life.

I've heard that same argument used against keeping people alive via medical machinery and against my state's physician assisted suicide law. There have of course been challenges to both but I believe the courts have said that each state has the right to make law regarding its citizens. With this in mind, couldn't each state treat embroyo donation as tissue donation? A responsible person makes the decision whether the potential is great enough to warrent intervention.

I had not thought about the brain activity of the embryo but you are absolutely right and that is a very good point.

I'm not sure of the protocol used by fertility clinics. Do the embryo's "parents" pay for storage? Is there some kind of shelf-life (that doesn't sound right but what word does) for the embryos? What eventually happens to the unused embryos? Do the "parents" currently sign some kind of consent about what happens? Are they given any choice in what happens?

I obviously need to do some reading to firm up my position but it still seems that using organ/tissue donation, assigned by the embryo's "parents" cicumvents many legal barriers to this research.
0 Replies
 
Hazlitt
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Nov, 2004 05:27 pm
Embryos
Boomerang,

My understanding is that a person seeking the services of a fertility clinic signs a contract stipulating that the clinic will store all surplus embryos as long as the client pays the storage fee. If the client stops paying, which frequently happens, the clinic, after a diligent search for the client, can discard the embryos.

In actual practise, the clinics tend to keep the embryos on ice because they fear law suits. This is an area not tested in the courts.

I doubt that the religious people would be satisfied with a law casting the medical use of an embryo as an organ donation. Their point is that the embryo is a human being and is therefore subject to all the rights and protections of the constitution. In their view, there is a difference between an embryo and a brain dead person.
0 Replies
 
dare2think
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Nov, 2004 11:00 am
boomerang, I am all for stem cell research, I am extremely happy that we voted for it here in California on Novemebr 2, I am so proud of my fellow Californians.
The fundamentalists are fanatical, in my opinion.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Nov, 2004 02:59 pm
I had a chance to do a little reading on the subject yesterday. It seems that many embryos are donated from fertility labs for research. Finding out what kind of research was a different matter altogether - I couldn't find anything on it -- yet.

There are apparently several options - keep them frozen (in which future viability of the embryo is not a given), disposal (by a variety of methods), donation (for research or adoption) and take-home (for god knows what).

I can understand why many clinics are afraid of lawsuits. It certainly does present some ethical problems. All life and death medical decision do, in my opinion.

I come from a line of people who are very pragmatic about dying. I've argued before (to the outrage of some) that we should always assume people want to donate their organs and make them sign something if they DON'T want to. My father did a whole body donation when he died -- too late to help him, maybe not too late to help others. I suppose that is one of the reasons I see this whole stem cell thing as so weird. Who in their right mind would chose not to help, if they could help in any way?

California should be proud of itself! That is one investment that will most certainly pay off.
0 Replies
 
Lady J
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Nov, 2004 04:29 pm
I am also a Californian who voted in favor of Proposition 71. All politics aside, it was THE most important issue on the ballot as far as I was concerned. Like dare2think, I am also incredibly proud of my fellow Californians that supported this measure. I am also proud of our governor, being a Republican, coming out in strong support of Stem Cell research, even when it goes against the grain of his political party for the most part He is at least smart enough to see that the few lines granted by the Federal government are not nearly enough.

Boomerang, I love your concept of treating the frozen embryos as transplantable, viable options. It wasn't long ago, my daughter and I were talking about this same subject and I mentioned to her that I would create a ton of test tube blastocysts to donate to stem cell research if I knew that it was allowed. I wouldn't be asking for anything in return but the chance to improve life for others.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Nov, 2004 04:53 pm
Swartzenegar (spelling?) seems to be a pretty moderate Republican, Lady J. I typically approve of moderation in all things. I think Californias might have shown that there is a lot of support for this research.

I know that there is no way to ever convince everyone about stem cell research but I think this is a good argument that I haven't really heard. It might persuade a few people to rethink their position.

One of the big stumbling blocks might be that people who do have to use fertility clinics don't take their fertility for granted which makes this "offspring" a bit more problematic emotionally.

It would be interesting to hear from anyone who had undergone IVF and from anyone in the anti-stem cell research camp.

I thought about taking Phoneix's advice and turning my thoughts into a letter to the editor or a "My Turn" essay for Newsweek or something but the more I read the more I realized that the amount of research required is beyond me. However, I might try to find someone with the means and skills to investigate the position because I do think it has merit.
0 Replies
 
Lady J
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2004 01:43 am
It does have a lot of merit, but like you, I would also like to hear some opposing viewpoints to stem cell research. and some of the reasons they are against it that I may have never considered.

I doubt my mind could ever be changed into an anti stance on this particular issue, but I am interested in others point of view.

Imagine just for one moment.....Stephen Hawking. One of the most brilliant men still living that I can think of. Being told at the age of 21 that he had ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive and ultimately fatal neuromuscular disease. He has lived with this disease for 41 years. Longer than I have known anyone with ALS to survive. He has even lived much longer with the disease than Lou Gehrig, for whom it was named after.....brief history in time, sorry, I digress...

But...imagine. If possible, 5 or 10 years from now. A cell transplant that could re-grow the dead neurons in his feeble body and allow him to not only speak again, but to stand again, to walk again, to hug and love his wife again. And maybe one day, stand upon a stage and lecture again, with his own voice, instead of a synthesizer.....maybe some dreams can come true.

This subject runs very near and very dear to my heart, and while it is too late for the one I loved so much to be able to benefit from possible advances and cures, I never want to see anyone miss out on the chance of what might be.
0 Replies
 
dare2think
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2004 12:41 pm
You know why the opposers are against stem cell research? They think that it is killing a baby, or a potential baby. This is the ignorance we are dealing with. They get this non-sense from the "religious fanatics", (now I don't mean all religious people are fanatics), just to get that straight.
0 Replies
 
Lady J
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2004 02:48 pm
dare2think wrote:
You know why the opposers are against stem cell research? They think that it is killing a baby, or a potential baby. This is the ignorance we are dealing with. They get this non-sense from the "religious fanatics", (now I don't mean all religious people are fanatics), just to get that straight.


I knew who you meant. Smile I guess I could be deemed a stem cell research fanatic if that made the opponents feel any better. Smile

I guess it depends on how each view and determine for themselves when life actually begins and that is a HUGE debate that I am certain will rage forever and a day. I wonder how those same religious fanaticals view organ donations or for that matter, a simple blood donation/transfusion. Both of those are living parts of one human going to another to improve the quality of, or saving someone's life. I personally don't see how a blastocyst would be any different.

Edited because my spelling is crapola today in spite of spellchecker!
0 Replies
 
Idaho
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2004 05:02 pm
Okay, here's an opposing point of view for you. I am, personally, supportive of stem-cell research, although it is still preliminary and unproven at this stage. HOWEVER, I am adamantly opposed to using aborted fetus, frozen fetus or harvested fetus for this purpose because I do believe life begins at conception (contrary to what was said earlier, this is scientific fact - the real argument is over when that life means anything, and when that life possibly outweighs or is on equal footing with the mother's life) and that those little lives are precious. So, for me, the moral issue is reason enough. But, there are other reasons.

BTW - it's not illegal for private industry to perform stem cell research, even from harvested fetus. The law signed by President Bush set up requirements for government funded research only, and was the first to allocate any funds to the research at all.

The most promising stem-cell research to date has been from adult donor stem cells. Donation sites could be set up, just like Red Cross blood donation.

The most abundant form of stem cells available is from placenta and umbilical chord. I would have GLADLY donated, were it an option, and I'm sure most people would. There is such an abundance from this source, compared to aborted fetus and fertility clinic fetus, that we should just use the abundant source and completely eliminate the controversy.

Financially, because of the abundance, the cost would be lower. Additionally, with a ready supply, it would become less costly to perform the research itself (simple supply and demand). Also, the material would be available to many more researchers, making the chances of real progress greater and faster.

The point is, all parties can be happy on this issue without the controversy.

Quote:
This is the ignorance we are dealing with. They get this non-sense from the "religious fanatics",
That, BTW, is just knee-jerk and rude.
0 Replies
 
Etruscia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2004 08:35 pm
I am quite for stem cell research. It presents a giant leap in ability for saving lives although more research needs to be done. If the fetus is at a point where there is no brain activity, then i believe it can and should be used for research (if unwanted of course). It is astonishing to think of all the lives that could be saved with this technology.

One thing that never ceases to confuse me is how evangelicists (sp?) can be against this, where it has the huge possibility to save lives but for the death penalty, which kills one, saves no one, and puts people into guilt and grief.
0 Replies
 
Idaho
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Nov, 2004 10:29 pm
Quote:
It presents a giant leap in ability for saving lives
Make that a POSSIBLE giant leap. The research is so preliminary, that we really only know it has some potential (maybe 50 years down the road). It warrents research, but it's not certain it will save any lives.

Again, there are other ways to get the needed material without any controversy so why not do it and get the research done while eliminating all the fighting? The word you were looking for was evangelical, BTW.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Stem cell research v. organ/tissue donation
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 09/26/2020 at 09:50:41