Tuesday, October 17, 2006

therapeutic cloning of human embryos

On Friday when I was at home cleaning and packing before our big move, I stopped for a break and put on the TV. A show on SBS called 'Insight' was discussing therapeutic cloning of human embryos for stem cell research, I was astounded and concerned by what I heard. Now before I get started:

I do not profess to totally and fully understanding the ins and outs of this issue by any means, this was the first time I have actually heard it discussed and debated, AND I am not someone who currently has any disease or sickness which might at some point in the future benefit from the potential research scientists might be able to do from this process.

I believe that life starts at conception therefore I DO NOT condone the creating of a human life to then destroy it. All life that God has created is valuable and created in his image, it is not be be manufactured for scientific purposes and then disregarded. As I have said before God knew he was going to create each one of us before we were even a twinkle in our parents eye AND he knits us together in our mother's womb. He cares profoundly about us and longs to know us personally.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:13-16

Another thing I found totally disturbing is that one of the professors in the UK where this process is legal was asked about how they propose on getting enough embryos to do the necessary research. Many eggs would be required to do this. He said that this is an issue and one of the ways they are combating this is by offering IVF treatment to couples at a discount IF they offer some of the eggs produced to their embryonic stem cell research. Now IVF is a whole other discussion and again I am not in a situation where this applies to me (currently having no children I don't think it does) BUT manipulating people who are in a sad and desperate situation who long for children but can't have them, may mean they compromise their position on this so they can afford to undergo IVF, I think this is outrageous.

This is currently not a legal procedure in Australia but it is in other parts of the world, but I believe there is some discussion as to whether embryonic stem cell research should become legal here.

I just feel very passionately about this and wanted to express my concern and my opinion on this issue. As I said previously I know very little on this subject but what I do know I cannot ignore.

I happen to agree with both of these quotes:

"Life is present from the moment of conception."
- Dr. Jerome Lejeune, late professor and world renowned geneticist,University of Descarte, Paris

"A person's a person, no matter how small!"
- from "Horton Hears a Who," by Dr. Seuss, late famous children's author


Blogger Lara said...

It is a tricky issue, and I'm not sure exactly where I stand. One of the things that gets to me the most about the debate is when people who are pro-stem cell research accuse religious people of being heartless for preventing cures being found for people who are sick and dying.

1. There's no guarantee that such cures will be found.
2. It's one life for another - why should we value one over the other?
3. There are other ways to pursue stem cell research... they're just a little more inconvenient
4. Why is it ok to bring in emotion about poor sick people, but not ok to bring in religious belief and emotion about the embryos at stake?
5. It's not just killing an embryo - it's also dangerous and uncomfortable for the woman who has to donate the eggs
6. 'Spare' embryos from IVF? Well, that's another issue, and I won't go into it now...

There needs to be a considered approach from both sides of the debate.

Tue Oct 17, 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Nixter said...

I totally hear you when you note "when people who are pro-stem cell research accuse religious people of being heartless for preventing cures being found for people who are sick and dying"

I was reading about this in a discussion room on the SBS site and 'religious' people got a real slamming about being anti stem cell research.

Thanks for highlighting some of those points Lara, as I said I am not over the whole issue and just to confirm I am only stating my own personal position.

Tue Oct 17, 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Brilliant post Nixter. something I heard a few years ago - which was actually quite helpful - is that scientists have discovered that adults too have stem cells - though harder to get - but these can be used for research - without killing the adult - AND it stops the problem of trying to get the embryonic stem cells to match DNA wise. (sorry poor explanation - but your body really only excepts your own cells - or something like that - so the research on stem cell etc may not make that much of an impact etc etc)...

I agree completely with you about the IVF discount - that is scandalous.


Wed Oct 18, 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Nixter said...

Yeah they were talking about using adult stem cells but apparently they don't grow as quickly as embryonic ones, but maybe this is something they may be able to do in the future.

Wed Oct 18, 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Why are we all in such a hurry these days??

( I know - there's money to be made...I mean - people are dying and they want to help)

Wed Oct 18, 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

Adult stem cells are harder to work with, I think, but I wish scientists would try harder with them instead of taking embryos.

IVF is a tricky issue too. On the one hand, I can understand that couples might want to have their own child, but there are so many unwanted children around. Surely adoption would be a good idea. It's amazing that so much effort is put into making children for some couples, while so many couples are ending their pregnancies. It's a crazy world!

Wed Oct 18, 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Nixter said...

It is a crazy world and I agree with you on wanting scientists to develop what they can do with adult stem cells so they don't have to you embryonic ones.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be able to have my own children, I pray that God blesses us with kids. I have heard about women who have had IVF and used ALL the eggs for fertilisation so that none of the eggs were distroyed or disregarded. What do you think about that?

Adoption is an amazing thing to be able to do, I believe the process is long and hard but what an amazing joy to be able to love and possibly save a child.

Wed Oct 18, 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

I'm not opposed to IVF in principle - I don't think it is "playing God" any more than any other type of medicine. Using all the fertilised embryos sounds good. I've also heard of couples donating their "spare" embryos to other couples. Much better than destroying them!

Thu Oct 19, 10:50:00 AM  
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