Stem Cell Research
Continuous scientific research has led to astounding discoveries, such as stem cell research. Stem cells are cells of the human body that are unspecialized and can multiply indefinitely, thereby differentiating into various specialized types of cells of the human body, making up tissues (Zakrzewski, Dobrzyński, Szymonowicz & Rybak, 2019). Their definition points out their significance in the human body, leading to further research. Stem cell research involves the growth of stem cells in a laboratory and their application in stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy causes debates in society due to the controversies surrounding the therapy.
The debates in society about stem therapy arise due to certain uncertainties. Some of these uncertainties include stem cell harvesting, development, and treatment procedures. Since the human embryonic stem cell (hESC) is used in this research, stem cell harvesting leads to the destruction of an embryo additionally, low cell survival rates and immunogenicity (Gorecka et al., 2019). On the other hand, stem cell therapy is essential in regenerative medicine for conditions such as injured, dysfunctional, and diseased human body tissues.
Various theories apply to this topic; the first is ethical egoism, whereby an individual is obligated to respond based on self-interest. Secondly, the social contract theory applies, whereby individuals’ actions are bound by their societies’ moral standards (Rachels & Rachels, 2019). An individual may make an ethical decision not to undergo stem cell therapy. An ethical egoist would not support this decision because the individual does not put their self-interest first. In contrast, a social contractor ethicist would support this decision because it remains within society’s standards. I believe an individual’s well-being comes before social standards; therefore, undergoing therapy would be best.
Guiding a customer through decision-making steps would help them reach a decision. The decision-making practices begin by establishing the facts and type of conflict, identifying people to be affected by the decision, principles at stake, the intensity of these principles, the decision corollary, and finally, making a decision (Meyers, 2018). Clients need to understand that they may need regenerative medicine to improve their health. As a healthcare professional, bias from personal ideologies may influence a practitioner to push their ideologies on the client; however, this would be unethical. To prevent this, practitioners can understand and guide their clients’ decisions without pushing their values on their clients.
Gorecka, J., Kostiuk, V., Fereydooni, A., Gonzalez, L., Luo, J., & Dash, B. et al. (2019). The potential and limitations of induced pluripotent stem cells to achieve wound healing. Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 10(1). doi: 10.1186/s13287-019-1185-1
Meyers, C. (2018). The Professional Ethics Toolkit. Wiley Blackwell.
Rachels, S., & Rachels, J. The elements of moral philosophy (9th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
Zakrzewski, W., Dobrzyński, M., Szymonowicz, M., & Rybak, Z. (2019). Stem cells: past, present, and future. Stem Cell Research & Therapy, 10(1). doi: 10.1186/s13287-019-1165-5
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Part II: Analysis of an Ethical Issue
Apply what you know.
Our topics in this week’s readings are often viewed as controversial, emotionally rooted, and rife with ethical issues. Choose one of the following topics, one which you have strong feelings about:
- Assisted reproduction
- Stem cell research
Next, respond to the following questions:
- What is the ethical dilemma(s) inherent in the topic chosen?
- Which ethical principles and theories might apply? Be sure to identify and define each principle or theory.
- Using the ethical principles and theories you’ve identified, apply these to support an ethical decision in two ways. First, select a decision which you would not personally agree with. Next, select a decision that is consistent with your personal beliefs.
- How would you assist the patient with decision-making on your chosen topic? Be sure to describe the ethical decision-making process.
- How might personal values influence the behavior of the healthcare professional? How would you guard against having your values influence your behavior?
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