Stem cell research cannot be conducted without embryonic material. To develop organs and tissues which are likely to save patient’s life, researchers take stem cells from human embryos. In most cases, they are supplied by fertility clinics which have this material produced by in vitro fertilization. Otherwise, stem cells are taken from living human embryos which shall be further destroyed. Sometimes stem cells can be taken from the non-embryonic material of children or adults, however, adult stem cells are not used as widely as embryonic.
Stem cell research has brought an ethical controversy. If the material is obtained from the miscarried or stillborn fetuses, researchers consider it as ethical. The embryonic material obtained trough abortion is treated as unethical because it involves killing of a human being. However, we cannot clearly define the ethics of such issues as abortion and donation of fetuses for the research. Mothers voluntarily agree to abortions, nevertheless, it is important that embryos remained alive for the stem cells to preserve their properties. Anyway, the embryos are further destroyed which brings discomfort to the advocates of human life.
Living ethical issues behind, scientists do their best to make stem cells research actually help with curing health conditions. Currently, there are documented cases when patients with Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes, blood diseases, and immunodeficiency were successfully cured with stem cells. On the other hand, experimental treatment may end up in failure; some patients with implanted cells or tissues developed tumors caused by this foreign material.
As most stem cell research is conducted using the embryonic material supplied by IFV clinics, aborted babies are not commonly donated to the labs. As stem cells offer great prospects for curing diseases, the research on embryonic material shall move on.