Friday, July 22, 2011

Stem Cells- What's Moral and What's New in the News

I love this one!

If you're confused about the stem cell controversy, you're not alone. What's the big hype? Why are people saying it's not ethical? I hope to sort it out for you and share some news from the science community about what's going on with stem cells.

Basically, as a Catholic, a mommy, and a compassionate person, I cannot condone embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of a human embryo. A human embryo is a human life and therefore, killing it is murder, which is against the Fifth Commandment.

There are also what they call adult stem cells. These come from cord blood (the blood from your baby's umbilical cord when he or she is born), and from various organs around your body. The main role of adult stem cells is to maintain and repair tissue in your body. There is nothing morally wrong with using adult stem cells in research and medicine because nobody has to die to obtain them.

Adult stem cells have been used for years for treatments in such things as leukemia and spinal injuries. Recently, they've been used to grow a human heart. Read about it here.

Here's an older article, but I thought it was interesting because it lists loads of uses for adult stem cells. Read that here.

The nice thing about adult stem cell therapy is you can use the patient's own cells, which work more in harmony with his or her body. A foreign cell would seen as an invader and could be rejected.

If you would like to know what the Vatican says on the subject, go here to read Declaration on the Production on the Scientific and Therapeutic Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells.

I was excited to read about a new development. Read it at LifeNews.

Two scientists independently devised a way to force adult stem cells to behave more like embryonic stem cells. I love this quote from Dr. Shinya Yamanaka:

“When I saw the embryo, I suddenly realized there was such a small difference between it and my daughters, I thought, we can’t keep destroying embryos for our research. There must be another way.”

Or, as one of my daughters said, after I briefly explained embryonic stem cell research, "Why would anybody donate their baby for that? It's like abortion!"


*Links to image sources embedded in image captions.


  1. Actually, embryo killing research is worse than abortion. In an abortion, the child is in a woman's body, and one must have concern about the woman and her health needs. There are some cases--- ectopic pregnancy--- where a child's life might need to be risked or ended to save a mother's life.

    When there is an embryo lying around in a lab, there is no woman and her body involved. That embryo can be implanted into a willing healthy woman and the child's life saved.

    Scientifically our lives as individual humans begin at conception. If we don't recognize that in law, we have contradictory situations as in that a doctor who aborts a 9 month 'fetus' is doing a lawful act, while a woman who smothers her prematurely born newborn baby is a cold-blooded killer who might face the death penalty--- even though the 9 month 'fetus' is more developed (and 'human')than the preemie.

  2. You brought up important matters. I think I should create an abortion post so we can delve into those.

    But I will say that surgury for an ectopic pregnancy isn't abortion, as you are not directly killing the baby. You are cutting out the tube which is malfunctioning. The secondary and unintended result is the death of the baby, but it's not direct murder. This is the Church's stand and it's mine also. I think this was discussed in the june 3rd show at Catholic Answers Live- "Moral Principles" but I can't remember for sure. That is, I know they discussed it recently and I think it was on that show.

    However, it's morally wrong to intentionally take the life of a baby even if it will save the mother because doing an evil for a good reason isn't permitted. Measures to preserve her life that may result in the death of the baby is allowed, but you can't actually kill.

    So, she can get chemotherapy or have surgery to remove a tumor even if it might result in the death of the child, because the child wasn't the intended target. You didn't take a scalpel to him or inject her womb with poison meant to abort. The child's death was a secondary effect.