Why Can’t We Experiment On Human Embryonic Stem Cells?


Studies on human embryonic stem cells are
highly controversial, and the current law says that embryos must be destroyed after
14-days. But why 14-days? What’s so significant about the two week limit, and should we even
keep using it? Hi there my science buddies. Julian here for
DNews. Human embryonic stem cells are one of the most legally and morally contentious
areas of study. On the one hand, stem cells, both adult and embryonic, are valuable for
researching a huge range of illnesses and diseases, from cancer to diabetes to Alzheimer’s.
On the other hand, many people believe that this benefit to medicine comes at the cost
of potential human lives. If you want a bit of background on the moral and medical controversy
surrounding stem cells, you can check out either of these videos on screen. Originally, the 14-day limit comes from a
1979 United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare report. A committee of theologians,
psychologists, and doctors came to a compromise: human embryonic stem cells could be studied
for two weeks after fertilization, beyond which time the cells would have to be destroyed.
But this limit was fairly arbitrary, as at the time, scientists could not keep embryos
alive in vitro for more than a few days. A later report, organized in 1984 by British
existential philosopher Mary Warnock, justified the two week limit. The report states that
on the 14th or 15th day, a faint line of cells appears on the embryo, called the “primitive
streak”. This, it was argued, is a moment that signifies that the embryo has become
an individual being, as before this time the embryo could potentially split into twin organisms. One of the reasons this stage appealed to
those who objected on moral grounds, was that if an embryo could split into two people,
then it could not yet be an individual person. The rule codified an easy to measure mark,
coupled with an unambiguous time frame; making the question less about conception or “a
soul”, while still allowing for a religious and moral compromise. Additionally, a 2002 report from California
stated that less than half of all fertilized embryos, both in vitro and in vivo, ever reach
the primitive streak, meaning that most of embryos used for research would have been
unlikely to make it to term anyway.. But recent advances have made it possible
for scientists to keep embryos alive for longer than two weeks, by simulating womb-like conditions.
With the potential for further research using stem cells, the question has been forced again:
is the 14-day limit still valid? Some scientists say no. Arguing that they
could use the research in preventing miscarriages, infertility, and birth defects which they
believe to be more important than a more or less arbitrary time limit. For example, in
2014, researchers were able to cure “induced Parkinson’s disease” in rats Neuroscientists
used human embryonic stem cells to create neurons that produce dopamine, which is missing
in those who suffer from the disease. Although no human clinical trials have been done, these
early results with animals have been very promising. That said, other researchers in bioethics
have pointed out that even an arbitrary limit is better than no limit at all. As more restrictions
are lifted, the very real question becomes “where is the limit on human experimentation
in the pursuit of knowledge?”

100 thoughts on “Why Can’t We Experiment On Human Embryonic Stem Cells?

  1. I'm Catholic and I love to learn about things like this. Biology is my favorite subject in school and certain topics like these do not bother me in the sense of religion. Let's be honest, religion is a belief. It is a belief that I follow but it is still a belief. If we have the opportunity to discover our true afterlife, or lack of, let's just get it over with. I am not very educated on this topic so I cannot get into details but finding out our future may help us make better decisions on earth. If there is no God. I would actual be all for living forever. This is assuming we have found ways to support the massive population. If there is, people will be living entirely different and all follow the religion that is confirmed by the person that is brought back to life. I'm hoping we can communitcate with the people we bring back and have conversations with them but we may be talking hundreds of years. Stuff like this makes me excited. And people, stop roasting religion and to all of my fellow Catholics and members of other faiths, don't force beliefs. Let's all just get along.

  2. We've gone from fetuses (fertilized cells) are people to simple cells are people, now?! At this rate, we'll all starve to death because "plants and animals are people too."

  3. Do you have any idea how many comments along the lines of, "this guy is gonna inject an aborted baby into his joint" I've seen? This is why stem cells research can't go through.

  4. Religion is our way of explaining the things that science hasn't explained or can't explain. When science finds a new explanation for something, it should supersede religion.

  5. I always said that scientists would NEVER create a human, because a human needs a soul to be alive.
    And i was saying this years ago, and no one has ever proved me wrong! Scientists have not yet created a functioning human being.

  6. As we Creative Bioarray knows, scientists across the world conduct stem cell research that informs our understanding of the human body and how we approach medicine.

  7. i think it is a nice thought to think about limbs being made but human cloning is against all of Gods laws because there is no soul or spirit and for a soul to be stolen from another human being would be grand theft no legal not right we need to keep faith in our higher power so that he can give us a life without having to die

  8. Experimenting on a lumb of cum and eggs is not wrong when the trade off is truly astronomical advances in medicine. Let's kill a collection of cells utterly without conscience and self awareness in order to save actual human beings with friends and family.

  9. Is it okay to murder a human for no reason? answer: No.

    Therefor we need to know when a human being is a person. Somewhere between conception and birth. (I personally believe it is at the first detectable sign of brain activity) Wouldn't it be terrible to be looked back at in 100 years as the generation who was murdering humans for decades because we failed to identify when a human life is a life?

  10. I don't understand why people who want an abortion don't think of donating their embryo's cells to a lab for research on things such as stem cells because that way there is at least a use for those cells and they could potentially be used to save someone's life in the future.

    I mean I'm not promoting abortion or killing embryos when I'm saying this (I think it's ok to have one abortion in your life if it's life threatening or you are underage or something along those lines) , I'm just saying that donating the cells is a far better option for everyone and maybe people wouldn't feel so bad for giving a baby up because of it.

  11. I believe that its ridiculous to think that it is a good thing to neglect the research, even for the "possible human lives". The reason for this, is because the lack of research will affect them negatively even when they grow up into people.

    So you aren't actually saving anybody with this, but simply removing ways to save other future lives…. And it would be in a much higher number, since unlike refusing research, if it instead gets completed, the new found formulas could be used to save lives without any additional sacrifices.

    Refusing it would just completely remove any possible cures (so anybody getting the cureless diseases and/or damages are f'd, including the embryos the might grow up to become full-fledged babies) while only maaaaaybe give some of the would-be aborted embryos a chance to get a decent life (many would still die at birth either case, some with the mother if not aborted).

  12. The cells can't think like me. It has no love, no pain. It's like being sad I killed bacteria by washing my hands.

  13. most science minus a very few was discovered by accident, that means hunans really still don't understand most of what they do in science. instead of messing with embryo eggs science needs to understand the basic atom organic structure and how you can take things that are around us every day in life and make it be a productive organism period what are the laws that allow us to have the organisms the structures of those organisms we have today. it spoils down to what come first the chicken or the egg still 100000 years later. understanding the law or organic chemistry atoms and nature is not even close as you think. we are way far away still. Go back to the drawing board start all over understand the very Basics first but you won't win a Nobel Prize not until somebody takes the basics and takes it another step up. how does the molecule H2O really work because we're not even close to understanding that why does it have the laws it has and how does it attract how does it appear in places

  14. deplorable Trump voter here….

    I support embryonic, stem cell research….

    the destruction of these embryo's within a certain amount of days I THE SAME AS ABORTION!…. this science can expand the human lifespan for YEARS!…. yeah!… I'm PRO-LIFE and I support embryonic stemcell research!…..

    guys… this is why I'm libertarian, and don't like to call myself "republican"….

    rest assured, that if the stemcell science comes out to get my FORESKIN RESTORED, I will be getting it done!…

  15. I’m sorry religion but I gotta disrespect yall on this one part. We could have saved so much lives without the need of your own beliefs. I respect you find this wrong or whatever “Play God” but keep that shit to yourself because I rather have a source of valid evidence and throughout experiment of a treatment then suffer and have some bums pray for me lmao

  16. The miracle of embryonic development is mentioned in Holy Quran in such minute detail 1400 years ago, much of which was unknown to scientists until only recently. It mentions the first stages of life after conception, the second stage after conception
    In the Holy book, God speaks:

    “We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed substance)…” (Quran 23:12-14)

  17. Because the same people that believe their all powerful god it's losing to the devil. If their god is so powerful to create the entire universe then literally every does of dust in the universe is exactly where, when, and how god wants it. So what's that say about evil and hell ect. They're god seems like an asshole to create all these people that he knows will go to hell.

  18. I seriously do not understand why people make this out to be such a complicated moral issue. In terms of human experimentation It’s very simple, all experimentation that does not cause suffering to whatever is being experimented upon must be allowed, for it is an abomination to halt scientific progress for arbitrary reasons. An embryo that has not reached the stage of brain formation required to be capable of suffering, cannot suffer, so it should be free game for scientists. Seriously, who is even against potentially curing cancer, birth defects, etc.? :/

  19. I am 100% for genetic manipulation and cybernetic engineering of our species through any means, soo long as it isn't cruel towards sentient conscious beings.

  20. It is stupid, with progress and knowledge comes science and sometimes we must do good and sometimes we must do evil in order to progress and gain the knowledge.

  21. Religeous organizations that obstruct research must be convicted of murder of all the people who die for there being no stem cell & genetic treatment available

  22. Funny how people are getting mad cus suppose of religion is holding science back when in reality the corrupt goverment doesnt even want other to go to secret places because its either something new in the world or their secret base on to test flus and deceases or even nuclear bomb to depopulate people or using other things to manipulate the weather such as HAARP

  23. I don't know if it is possible or if we're close to it but when a embryo/fetus starts to have brain activity is when it should be the cut off period for testing at that point it has a brain when a living person is pronounced brain dead we either pull the plug or harvest organs because that person isn't there they're dead they will never recover and keeping them "alive" at that point really does nothing but keep a body working there is no point to it besides keeping the organs from degrading

  24. Did you all just watch this video??? the guy clearly stated that researchers in bioethics said that a limit is better than no limit. There are personal, scientific ethical and religious reasons why the public has underlying dystopian fears about human cloning, the commodification of human biological material, the mixing of human and animal species, and the hubristic quest for regenerative immortality. If you view this from a purely one sided perspective you are being selfish and not interested in the rest of the public but your own self interests. This is why bioethics committees are set up to prevent mad men from running amok. In this specific case religion serves to slow down and scrutinize unchecked, wild urges of scientists whose motives. if scientists say lets create a nuclear bomb and a disease that can wipe out our enemy tomorrow, and religion say no, you and others will cry fowl, oh look how religion always retarding progress.

  25. It's not Republicans. I'm a Republican and I have donated to Stem Cell research. Stem cells could also be obtained from adults which is a game changer.

  26. I've been studying and doing experiments on stem cells for over a decade in my lab. I've done amazing things and still more yet to come. I don't let silly laws disrupt my progress

  27. [{(After the 14 days the embryo starts to grow and begins to develop human traits as it is going into a diffrent stage of human geneics.)}]

  28. [{(There are diffrent human genetic stages an embryo goes through before it starts to move in its hoxes or the body it has been put in.Just like artificial ensemanation occurs.)}]

  29. My teacher today was talking about this stem cells. She said her mom works as a scientist and that she said that is scary because if they can make an organ with those soon they can possibly make a human! And maybe have a clone! They already tested it with animals and I saw a video of a dog getting cloned and that is just scary

  30. This is the caveman era of using "human experimentation to benefit humans". One day they'll want everything. Your genes, blood type, a map of your nervous system, a piece of your fingernail, your toes, your feet, etc etc.

  31. I'll simply say this it doesn't matter if the beans do not even exist yet what should it matter if we use embryos to make yours for stroke or cancer or any other illness that is considered untreatable why is it that human beings always side with their emotions than following what is considered the logical path me I don't particularly care how about human emotions men like me Forge Empires and let them last for centuries we should do the research in this study hell we should do cloning as well just imagine this you a human being that has lung cancer there's very little donors that could be found in time to replacing the the infected organ that's were the completely clean fast grown clone will come in it doesn't even reach sentience when it's created it remains in a stupor of endless unconscious state never truly developed enough to become aware of anything mostly the Clones would be clinically brain dead but its organs completely functional anyone in the comics can tell me this is not much and don't throw in some Humanity cramp we all know that's fake if we all had a better sense of humanity we would stop fighting with each other and stop discriminating from one another

  32. There's no limit to human experimentation. I'm positive we would've made much more progress by now if countries used criminals for human experiments. Use the worst kind, rapists, terrorists, serial killers, religious zealots, pedophiles. Especially from shitholes like African countries. Nobody cares about them, so use them as much as you can. If you want to find a cure for a disease in HUMANS, it is only logical you research HUMANS and not mice or apes.

  33. That's why China will take over US in medical research bcoz the Chinese govn gives zero shit to religious or ethical issue and they just want to get things done.

  34. You know what it is NOT controversial. Stem cell research is used by SJW's and the outrage culture as well as religious loonatics, as a scapegoat for being something controversial, so that they can get the satisfaction of blocking scientific research… Now just to prove my claim and show how what hypocrites these people are, think for a moment why they don't roadblock or make a fuss over actual controversial issues such as building nuclear reactors, nuclear warheads, and storing used toxic nuclear spent fuel, as well as enriching it and recycling it in more dangerous MOX form into other reactors that were never built to take it, (fukushima being just one example)…. eh??? you don't see the religious loons making a fuss about that do you.

  35. The facts about nuclear weapons, and the dangers of building nuclear reactors and storing spent fuel are clear and known. It's all provable facts.. Yet research has never been blocked in those areas due to ethics… Yet nobody here in their right minds remembers being a microscopic clump of cells in an embryo. So to argue to block medical research and progress on the premise that an embryo is a conscious person or individual, is ABSURD in comparison. That's the world you live in folks… Enjoy traveling all the way to a clinic in Mexico to get your stemcell therapy.. What more, building nuclear fission power plants just gives governments and corporations a more lucrative way of generating power and profit, as they can sell the spent fuel to enrichment plants, which gives militaries enriched uranium and plutonium for bombs that would be used to kill millions or billions of people, as well as most other lifeforms as the planet would descend into a nuclear winter(no sunlight) after such an exchange. Where as allowing the stem cell research, would result in helping millions of people with all kinds of diseases. Oh i wonder which one we should choose to have an ethical tantrum over— nuclear or stemcells… hmmm./… lets choose stemcells! yea!!

  36. So what part of Christianity is Evil , all of the opportunity to live and prosper in Europe and America or the courage it produced to defend the World against Nazi and Imperial Tyranny or the hundreds of Faith based organizations it produced that helps millions of people in need ?

  37. If you are looking for an educational resource to use with your students on this topic then please check out this oustanding card sorts which looks at the arguments for and against the use of cloning by scientists. https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/dashboard/resource-management/add-resource/11949800/published

  38. What's the moral controversy? It's only a controversy to people who believe that a guy killing his son because "god asked him" is a good thing.

  39. they cause tumors .. not safe .. mis anything and your getting cancer all over .. ukraine has good ones from embryo's .. have to see if they are ,one tree compared to new safer ones/

  40. Who else is positive there are secret underground military facilities that have already been cloning people for decades.🙊🙋

  41. I'm grateful the catholic church, placenta embryo research is the right and ethical way to do this..anti life is angry I see

  42. Bringing up religion in this is unnecessary… These old ass ideaologies don't say shit about embyonic stem cell research it's an individual moral question as to whether it is wrong or not so to all of the edgy side of the atheist community grow up

  43. I love how redundant all the restraints are, in the end we’re STILL experimenting on these cells anyway regardless of whether you think it’s right or wrong 😂

  44. How is it wrong to use unfertilized cells from a woman to use as embryonic cells? Thats like saying everytime a guy ejaculates he just murdured 1 million babies.

  45. Stem Cells are harvested from umbilical cords and from human fat and from bone marrow and a research scientist in Japan has developed a process where human tissue can be reverted back into stem cells…..So making it illegal to use embryonic stem cells has actually helped in developing a number of different methods for harvesting them…..If you need some stem cells for research just get some human fat….In America we have a life time supply

  46. The human embryo is not a clump of cells. It already has the human genome set in it so it will not become a leaf or slug through any environmental type stressors whatsoever… and it’s value is not dependent on it’s stages of development or in the environment it finds itself, or by any of those who are set to make money off it. All life begins at conception. It already has worth and is deserving of dignity. Our mindsets are being marred into a way of thinking that is destructive in that human life is malleable, that we are animals or just a bag of star dust (so that we conscienciously imagine ourselves immune and not liable for whatever happens in this life). Look at what is happening in the world, there are clear signs of rapid decay. Everyone can sense it and knows it deep down as much as there also will not be an excuse… no reasoned defence (for saying in the heart), “there is no God”. Everyone who does not have their conscience fully seared yet, ever so often has this reality popping back up on the surface.
    Ignoring the fundamentals of life, saying that science is God or that a certain people group are gods instead of seeing science for what it is, an instrument to be used, a tool for STUDYING existence itself rather than believing everything every a “ppeer reviewed” article says – because it says what is favourable to us with different lenses. It ultimately does not make for a safe or pleasant world as history would tell you. But no wonder, we ignore and call history a great big sham.
    This issue is about the SANCTITY OF LIFE.
    Secularists do not procreate as much as others, so where will these tiny body parts be or live tissue be harvested from?
    Anything is easier to hear other than the commands of God calling all people everywhere to repent (of their own wicked ways, so to be saved from themselves), then to take up your cross and follow after Christ, denying /dying to self and love your neighbor as yourself. Even though we love to pay homage to these noble causes on the surface, but actually believing it and living as though everyone human life deserves respect and are of infinite value and worth than the creature could ever give itself is a stark contrast to the murderous cold words we carelessly throw around.
    No, the very thought of denying oneself the “earthly pleasures” that passes away so quickly is more severe and unpopular in today’s world at a time when we use to have relative peace. This unbalanced love of self and the worship we give and show ourselves will come at a cost…
    We have now chosen to not serve as best and safe and morally possible, a broken world.

    When you actually look at what the archaeological records/finds say about civilisations throughout human history, in ancient times, that these societies were engaging and practising abominable things before their ultimate destruction. Yes, history continues to be repeated, it is the natural way of mankind. Enslaved to sin.
    But still, a society that is ready to play god at a rapid rate in the name of earthly comforts and looking for all the short-sighted easy ways out of acknowledging their Creator in all their ways will face their own decimation.

    There is always a preying on the worlds most weak and vulnerable no matter the dress code. Please research what a clump of cells actually look like and a human embryo.

    “Wherever there is animal worship, there is human sacrifice.”

  47. I read the comments. The problem is that we all are just clumps of cells, so when should we be consider being human, or are we just animals? And remember the definition of religion is ideas or belief, etc that you follow, so there is no such thing as true secularism

  48. From a biological point of view, stem cell research is one of the most promising areas of research in biology to generate medical therapies for scores of conditions. There are literally tens of millions of people in the USA suffering from diabetes, from spinal cord injury, Parkinson's and full-body burns. Who knows when and how stem cell research it will pan out, any biologist will tell that you this is what we should be doing and yet we're not funding it at the federal level. The concern from the religious point of view is that we have to destroy three-day-old human embryos to conduct this research. And the ethical debate stops there. It is just merely asserted, from the religious point of view, that three-day-old human embryos have souls. You have souls in the petri dish, you have souls in the little girl with diabetes, who can weigh the interests of one soul against another? We never have to get into the details because faith stops the conversation. You just have to respect the faith proposition that life
    starts at the moment of conception (whatever that means). Well let's talk about the details for a second. Perhaps it sounds scary to destroy human embryos. A three-day-old human embryo is a collection of 150 cells. They're arranged in a sphere. There's no brain and there's no nervous system. Maybe 150 cells sounds like a lot of cells, well there are a hundred thousand cells in the brain of a fly. Flies have brains and they have neurons, very much like our own. If we know anything at all about the relationship between physical complexity and the possibility of having experience and interests, we know that more suffering is visited upon this earth every time we swat a fly than when we kill a three-day-old human embryo. It's not enough to say they're potential human beings. Given the advances in genetic engineering, every cell in the human body with a nucleus is a potential human being, given the right manipulation. Every time the president scratches his nose, he's engaged in a holocaust of potential human beings. Take the idea that there are souls in these embryos. Well embryos at this stage can split into twins, so what happens? We have one soul that becomes two souls. Embryos at an even later stage can fuse into what's called a chimera in which they are becoming a single individual. So we have two souls, coming into one soul. But the arithmetic of souls doesn't make sense. No one is ever burdened with the responsibility of trying to make sense of it, because faith stands in for ethical argument. So my argument to you really is that either you have good reasons for what you believe or you don't.

  49. Well NY seems to be doing this since Abortion is legal. Democrats with their stem cells companies that backs them up.

  50. Because they don't come for me Rubio's dumbass. The embryo gets its stem cells genetic material from its mother. You have a tail wagging the dog.

  51. There is research howing that adult stem cells are more stable to work w than embryonic stem cells. " Adult stem cells are the successful standard for stem cells. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313664

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