Stem cell research is a controversial issue. The biggest controversy isn't over the use of adult or umbilical cord cells, which the Western world mostly accepts. The issue is with using fetal stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells are another matter. They have been heavily publicized, but most people don't understand them. When couples have trouble conceiving, they sometimes visit a fertility clinic. The eggs are harvested and joined with the sperm in a test tube or Petri dish to create embryos. If there are leftover embryos, they are usually either frozen for future use or discarded. Another possibility is to allow them to be harvested for research and use.

Most embryonic cells used today have been frozen at least five years. They have been sitting in liquid nitrogen doing nothing. They can be harvested, and once that happens, they are immortal. You can make millions of them. Once you start harvesting, you can keep going.

The question of whether it's ethical or moral is for each person to decide. It's important to keep in mind the good that harvesting them can do to alleviate suffering and help people with specific disorders. Anyone opposing this practice should also have a problem with in vitro fertilization, since it involves freezing or discarding embryos.

Some clergy who object to using embryonic cells don't object to using stem cells derived from a 120-day aborted fetus. Their logic is that this research isn't harmful since the fetus would have been aborted anyway.

The advertisers and newspapers created a lot of the controversy over stem cell research, and several religious sects picked up on it. Some religions have no problem with it, but others feel that it's death. The question to ask: "Is it truly death if the embryos will be discarded anyway?"

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane, MD is a board certified anti-aging specialist, emergency physician, comedienne and talk show host who believes “laughter is good medicine”. Dr. Shelby-Lane has been seen and heard on local, state and national television and radio talk shows, educating Americans on a variety of medical issues.

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