It will be necessary to acquire more stem cell lines, and the way that he thinks is most appropriate is to make use of the "unwanted" embryos that are being held in freezers in fertility clinics that are not going to be used to create new life. He suggests that the current practice of simply throwing away such tissues is wasteful and that it is somehow disrespectful. Since it has become accepted practice to harvest organs from dead persons who have agreed to this practice, one could compare using these embryos to this established and accepted medical practice. Both practices would have the potential to save or improve lives.
Third, Elfstrom (2001) argues in favor of such research that since it is already going on in many different global research facilities, what is needed is the creation of regulatory and monitoring systems that will prevent abuse. Making sure that no research institute, for example, pays a woman to conceive a fetus and then abort the fetus so that it can obtain research "raw materials" is an ethical necessity in regulating this possible abuse. In other words, Elfstrom (2001) recognizes that there is a potential for abuse in this delicate area, and believes that taking steps to prevent such abuses is required. Governments are in the ideal position to achieve this goal.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) (2008), the American body responsible under presidential orders for overseeing and regulating such research, takes the position that both ESCs and ASCs are viable for important research directed at developing medical treatments and interventions. While ESCs may be more flexible and able to differentiate indefinitely from a single cell, ASCs are readily obtained from a variety of sources. ASCs are said to be more immunogenic than ESCs (Atala, 2002; Korobkin & Munzer, 2007). ESCs are said to be more difficult to differentiate uniformly and homogeneously into a target tissue than ASCs and mor...
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