10 Reasons Embryo-Destroying Research Is Unnecessary

By Michael W. Salemink

Date: May 22, 2018

Category: Bioethics

Forty years ago, the first child conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) was born. Twenty years have passed since scientists isolated embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Technicians value ESCs because they can engineer them into any type of cell or tissue. Financial concerns have led IVF clients and clinicians to create more embryos than they transfer to wombs. These “extra” embryos have served as the main source for ESCs. Harvesting ESCs destroys embryos and puts to death God’s precious human creatures, depriving us every time of the blessing of another neighbor. Happily, embryo-destroying research is unnecessary. Here are ten reasons why:

  • Other sources. Researchers have obtained ESCs from placental tissue, umbilical cord blood, and amniotic fluid. These means don’t injure the little ones.

  • Adult stem cells. Grown-up bodies also make stem cells. Although they don’t possess all the potential of ESCs, they still offer many possibilities and applications.

  • Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). In 2006 a team of experts converted (adult) skin samples into cells functionally equivalent to ESCs. Lower costs and greater accessibility have made this the preferred process for stem cell experiments.

  • iPSC advancements. Several treatments utilizing iPSCs have met with promising successes, including trials for stroke, heart damage, spinal cord injury, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and cancers. ESCs have encountered some problems which are almost exclusively connected to the use of ESCs, such as tumor formation and immune rejection. 

  • Organs-on-a-chip (OOCs). Laboratories have developed circuit boards that have tiny fluid channels. Tissues can grow on these devices, which then substitute for and simulate the activities and mechanics of entire organs. They make possible more precise interactions and observations than ever before.

  • Natural Procreative Technology (NaProTech). This approach diagnoses and treats the underlying causes of an individual’s infertility. It serves fertility care rather than fertility control, focusing on medical priorities rather than technological ones. IVF often entirely overlooks these possibilities.

  • Embryo adoption. Couples have begun adopting and gestating IVF’s “surplus” embryos. Rather than leaving them in liquid limbo, discarding them altogether, or destroying them for study, this receives these children as the special treasures God has declared them to be.

  • We’re better than that. We don’t need to sacrifice children for progress. Our belief in human life’s significance is what drives our need for medical research in the first place. Martyring embryos only undermines that basic belief.

  • Better two heads than one. The fewer embryos we slay, the more will survive to apply their minds to scientific investigation and solving illnesses.

  • Jesus is real treatment. Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection are the answer to disease and death. Forgiveness and everlasting life are already at work curing the sin that causes it all. God’s grace enables us to carry each other’s crosses until the healing is completed.

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