The ethics of moral compromise for stem cell research policy

Zubin Master, G. K.D. Crozier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the US, stem cell research is at a moral impasse-many see this research as ethically mandated due to its potential for ameliorating major diseases, while others see this research as ethically impermissible because it typically involves the destruction of embryos and use of ova from women. Because their creation does not require embryos or ova, induced pluripotent stem cells offer the most promising path for addressing the main ethical objections to stem cell research; however, this technology is still in development. In order for scientists to advance induced pluripotent stem cell research to a point of translational readiness, they must continue to use ova and embryos in the interim. How then are we to ethically move forward with stem cell research? We argue that there is personal integrity and value in adopting a 'moral compromise' as a means for moving past the moral impasse in stem cell research. In a moral compromise, each party concedes part of their desired outcome in order to engage in a process that respects the values and desires of all parties equitably. Whereas some contend that moral compromise in stem cell research necessarily involves self-contradiction or loss of personal integrity, we argue that in the US context, stem cell research satisfies many of the key pre-conditions of an effective moral compromise. To illustrate our point, we offer a model solution wherein eggs and embryos are temporarily used until nonegg and non-embryonic sources of pluripotent stem cells are developed to a state of translational readiness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-65
Number of pages16
JournalHealth Care Analysis
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

stem cell research
Stem Cell Research
research policy
Ethics
compromise
moral philosophy
embryo
Embryonic Structures
Ovum
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
integrity
Pluripotent Stem Cells
Research
Eggs
Values
Technology
Disease

Keywords

  • Embryo
  • Moral compromise
  • Moral status
  • Stem cell policy
  • Stem cell research
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy

Cite this

The ethics of moral compromise for stem cell research policy. / Master, Zubin; Crozier, G. K.D.

In: Health Care Analysis, Vol. 20, No. 1, 01.03.2012, p. 50-65.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Master, Zubin ; Crozier, G. K.D. / The ethics of moral compromise for stem cell research policy. In: Health Care Analysis. 2012 ; Vol. 20, No. 1. pp. 50-65.
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