The ethics of human embryos and embryonic stem cell research

Zubin Master, Daisy Laforce, Marcus McLeod, Bryn Williams-Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The science of human embryonic stem (hES) cells holds tremendous promise for the discovery of revolutionary cellular therapeutic options for the restoration and regeneration of damaged or destroyed cells and tissues, and thus the treatment or even cure for a host of diseases and disabilities. Yet the fact that the derivation of hES cells from embryos normally results in their destruction poses ethical challenges, which for some, amounts to a veritable impasse to the further development of stem cell science. In this paper, we review the scientific and ethics literature on hES cells including the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer to generate cloned hES cells for biomedical research and potential clinical applications. The paper reviews the various normative theories on the moral status of the human embryo that capture issues ranging from the continuity of embryonic development to cognitive prerequisites for personhood such as sentience, rationality and self-awareness. We also discuss arguments for the symbolic value of human embryos and the need to respect the dignity of human embryos as potential persons. Beyond issues related to the destruction of human embryos, a number of other ethical issues germane to embryonic stem cell science are also considered such as the instrumentalization and commercialization of human materials for stem cell research, and the potential social and health risks to women in obtaining and donating oocytes or embryos for hES cell research. Finally, ethical questions arising from the relatively recent development of scientific methods to create new types of embryos for harvesting hES cells are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Mesenchymal and Embryonic Stem Cells
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Pages127-174
Number of pages48
ISBN (Print)9781613240045
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Stem Cell Research
Stem cells
Ethics
Embryonic Structures
Personhood
Embryonic Stem Cells
Human Embryonic Stem Cells
Oocytes
Embryonic Development
Health risks
Biomedical Research
Regeneration
Stem Cells
Restoration
Health
Tissue
Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Master, Z., Laforce, D., McLeod, M., & Williams-Jones, B. (2011). The ethics of human embryos and embryonic stem cell research. In Human Mesenchymal and Embryonic Stem Cells (pp. 127-174). Nova Science Publishers, Inc..

The ethics of human embryos and embryonic stem cell research. / Master, Zubin; Laforce, Daisy; McLeod, Marcus; Williams-Jones, Bryn.

Human Mesenchymal and Embryonic Stem Cells. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2011. p. 127-174.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Master, Z, Laforce, D, McLeod, M & Williams-Jones, B 2011, The ethics of human embryos and embryonic stem cell research. in Human Mesenchymal and Embryonic Stem Cells. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., pp. 127-174.
Master Z, Laforce D, McLeod M, Williams-Jones B. The ethics of human embryos and embryonic stem cell research. In Human Mesenchymal and Embryonic Stem Cells. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 2011. p. 127-174
Master, Zubin ; Laforce, Daisy ; McLeod, Marcus ; Williams-Jones, Bryn. / The ethics of human embryos and embryonic stem cell research. Human Mesenchymal and Embryonic Stem Cells. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2011. pp. 127-174
@inbook{a882dc1fca604b2eb2e64f5c5cfe2fe0,
title = "The ethics of human embryos and embryonic stem cell research",
abstract = "The science of human embryonic stem (hES) cells holds tremendous promise for the discovery of revolutionary cellular therapeutic options for the restoration and regeneration of damaged or destroyed cells and tissues, and thus the treatment or even cure for a host of diseases and disabilities. Yet the fact that the derivation of hES cells from embryos normally results in their destruction poses ethical challenges, which for some, amounts to a veritable impasse to the further development of stem cell science. In this paper, we review the scientific and ethics literature on hES cells including the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer to generate cloned hES cells for biomedical research and potential clinical applications. The paper reviews the various normative theories on the moral status of the human embryo that capture issues ranging from the continuity of embryonic development to cognitive prerequisites for personhood such as sentience, rationality and self-awareness. We also discuss arguments for the symbolic value of human embryos and the need to respect the dignity of human embryos as potential persons. Beyond issues related to the destruction of human embryos, a number of other ethical issues germane to embryonic stem cell science are also considered such as the instrumentalization and commercialization of human materials for stem cell research, and the potential social and health risks to women in obtaining and donating oocytes or embryos for hES cell research. Finally, ethical questions arising from the relatively recent development of scientific methods to create new types of embryos for harvesting hES cells are also discussed.",
author = "Zubin Master and Daisy Laforce and Marcus McLeod and Bryn Williams-Jones",
year = "2011",
month = "12",
day = "1",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9781613240045",
pages = "127--174",
booktitle = "Human Mesenchymal and Embryonic Stem Cells",
publisher = "Nova Science Publishers, Inc.",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - The ethics of human embryos and embryonic stem cell research

AU - Master, Zubin

AU - Laforce, Daisy

AU - McLeod, Marcus

AU - Williams-Jones, Bryn

PY - 2011/12/1

Y1 - 2011/12/1

N2 - The science of human embryonic stem (hES) cells holds tremendous promise for the discovery of revolutionary cellular therapeutic options for the restoration and regeneration of damaged or destroyed cells and tissues, and thus the treatment or even cure for a host of diseases and disabilities. Yet the fact that the derivation of hES cells from embryos normally results in their destruction poses ethical challenges, which for some, amounts to a veritable impasse to the further development of stem cell science. In this paper, we review the scientific and ethics literature on hES cells including the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer to generate cloned hES cells for biomedical research and potential clinical applications. The paper reviews the various normative theories on the moral status of the human embryo that capture issues ranging from the continuity of embryonic development to cognitive prerequisites for personhood such as sentience, rationality and self-awareness. We also discuss arguments for the symbolic value of human embryos and the need to respect the dignity of human embryos as potential persons. Beyond issues related to the destruction of human embryos, a number of other ethical issues germane to embryonic stem cell science are also considered such as the instrumentalization and commercialization of human materials for stem cell research, and the potential social and health risks to women in obtaining and donating oocytes or embryos for hES cell research. Finally, ethical questions arising from the relatively recent development of scientific methods to create new types of embryos for harvesting hES cells are also discussed.

AB - The science of human embryonic stem (hES) cells holds tremendous promise for the discovery of revolutionary cellular therapeutic options for the restoration and regeneration of damaged or destroyed cells and tissues, and thus the treatment or even cure for a host of diseases and disabilities. Yet the fact that the derivation of hES cells from embryos normally results in their destruction poses ethical challenges, which for some, amounts to a veritable impasse to the further development of stem cell science. In this paper, we review the scientific and ethics literature on hES cells including the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer to generate cloned hES cells for biomedical research and potential clinical applications. The paper reviews the various normative theories on the moral status of the human embryo that capture issues ranging from the continuity of embryonic development to cognitive prerequisites for personhood such as sentience, rationality and self-awareness. We also discuss arguments for the symbolic value of human embryos and the need to respect the dignity of human embryos as potential persons. Beyond issues related to the destruction of human embryos, a number of other ethical issues germane to embryonic stem cell science are also considered such as the instrumentalization and commercialization of human materials for stem cell research, and the potential social and health risks to women in obtaining and donating oocytes or embryos for hES cell research. Finally, ethical questions arising from the relatively recent development of scientific methods to create new types of embryos for harvesting hES cells are also discussed.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84895307330&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84895307330&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9781613240045

SP - 127

EP - 174

BT - Human Mesenchymal and Embryonic Stem Cells

PB - Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

ER -