Stem Cell Research: Weigh the Pros & Cons

Stem cell research has become a hot topic in the recent years. There are both proponents and opponents who present their views with evidence. Before you pick a side, it is important that you learn a bit about the existing pros and cons of stem cell research. Keep reading and this article will help you make a decision.

The Technology

There are lots of debates about whether stem cell research is mature, whether rejection can happen, etc. Here are some pros and cons about this.


  • Adult stem cells can be reprogrammed and are less likely to be rejected when used in transplants.
  • Embryonic stem cells can grow for at least a year in some cases, especially when established protocols are used. These cells can also be used to generate more cell types.
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells help avoid issues of histocompatibility in transplants, and research on these cells will help reprogram diseased or damaged tissues.


  • Adult stem cells have limited ability to differentiate from others and are extremely hard to grow for long period in culture. There is still no technology available that would help generate these cells in large quantities.
  • Embryonic stem cells may not be accepted when used in transplants because there is no process to generate them. They can even cause tumors when used directly from undifferentiated culture prep.
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells usually have no certain method of maintenance and reproducibility.

The Use of This Research

Many people think it is important not to continue with stem cell research, but others think the knowledge gained through this research has its merits. Here is a bit more about the pros and cons of stem cell research and the usage of the knowledge.


Stem cell research can prove extremely beneficial in treating a variety of medical problems, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries and diabetes. It may also prove helpful in finding a treatment for birth defects and heart diseases. It may also help reduce risk of transplantation and provide better knowledge to replace damaged organs.


The opponents believe that it is important that we shouldn't mess with human life and God decides what's best for humans. Some also believe that stem cell research will eventually make it possible to clone humans, which may lead to devastating consequences.

An Ethical Dilemma

Many people pay attention to pros and cons of stem cell research and the moral dilemma it poses. It makes you select between two moral principles: you should respect the value of human life; or you should do something to alleviate suffering. It means that if we use stem cell to help prevent suffering, then we are messing with human life. But if no one conducts stem cell research, it would become impossible to alleviate suffering caused by certain diseases such as Parkinson's diseases or birth defects. It's a really hard decision to make.

The Moral Status of Embryo

Similarly, the moral status of the human embryo is still a controversial issue and attracts lots of people's attention. If you think embryo has moral status and is a human life, then it's wrong to conduct stem cell research with embryo, which means we shouldn't sacrifice one life for another. But many argue that embryo doesn’t have moral status and it is only a bodily organ, so it's perfectly normal to use stem cells from embryo to conduct research. Here we will talk 4 aspects of this issue:

1. Embryo Has Moral Status

The opponents believe that fertilized egg is only part of someone else's body, which means the only respect it deserves is the respect you give to someone else's property and nothing more. However, the proponents of this view believe that the embryo won't grow when the embryonic stem cells are taken out, and this act actually prevents it from becoming a human being.

2. The Embryo Will Have a Moral Status After Fertilization

The proponents believe that a human embryo should be considered as a human being when it's in the embryonic stage, which is just like an infant. It means that even when the embryo doesn't have any human characteristics, it should be considered that way because it will develop into one.

The opponents believe that an early embryo, prior to its implantation into the uterus, doesn't possess emotional, psychological or physical properties of a human being, so it is completely fine to use it for the benefit of a patient. The embryo will never develop into a child unless it is implanted into the uterus.

3. There Is a Cut-Off Point After 14 Days of Fertilization

Some people are of the view that a human embryo should receive more protection after 14 days of fertilization because it cannot split to form twins after this period. Before this period, the embryo won't have a central nervous system, so it cannot feel anything just like a brain dead person.

4. The Embryo Should Get Increasing Status During Its Development

An embryo should receive more protection when the sperm fertilizes the egg – that's usually the time when its moral status increases mainly because it becomes more humanlike. The proponents say that the moral status of embryo will change through different stages of development, such as after 14 days of implantation and at the time when the baby could survive on its own.

The opponents believe that it is important to protect a life not just because it's important to the universe but also because it's an attachment to the person concerned. Therefore, it is impossible to make decisions about the moral status of the embryo from its age. They believe that even if it is not clear if an embryo is a human being or not, it shouldn't be destroyed.

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