Embryonic & Adult Stem Cell Research

Alliance for Life Ontario supports stem cell research and views it as a great good and a worthy scientific priority as long as it is pursued ethically. Stem cells can be obtained from people without seriously harming others and this is ethical. However, obtaining stem cells from human embryos can never be ethical because it directly, purposefully and intentionally destroys human embryos.

International documents such as the Nuremburg Code, the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki, and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights reject the use of human beings in experimental research without their informed consent and permit research on incompetent subjects only if there is a legal surrogate, minimal risk, and therapeutic benefit for the human subject.

There are two types of stem cell research: embryonic and adult stem cell research. What’s the difference? And what is their potential for developing breakthrough treatments? Watch The Future of Stem Cells (below) to find out.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

  • Embryonic stem cell research involves the killing of a newly conceived human being in the embryonic stage of life, in order to extract their stem cells from the inner cell mass.
    Human embryonic stem cell research is unethical: from www.stemcellresearch.org/statement/index.html
  • Recent history provides tragic examples of attempts to justify gross violations of the rights of human beings in medical research on the utilitarian basis of “social and medical benefit”: the Tuskegee experiments on African Americans, U.S. government-sponsored radiation research, the Nazi medical war crimes, etc.
  • Good ends (e.g., health) do not justify the use of unethical means (e.g., killing human beings).
  • Scientifically, the international consensus of embryologists is that human beings begin at fertilization (or cloning)–i.e., when their genetic code is complete and operative; even before implantation they are far more than a “bunch of cells” or merely “potential human beings.”

Adult Stem Cell Research

Adult stem cell research involves the use of stem cells extracted from umbilical cord blood, fat cells, bone marrow and other ethical sources from the human body. This type does not involve the taking of human life.

To date, there have been 73 cures derived from the use of adult stem cells and no cures derived from the use of human embryonic stem cells. Click here to see the amazing cures.

Related Links:

{Adult Stem Cell Cures – 73 Embryonic Stem Cell Cures – 0}

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research is Scientifically Unnecessary

  • Other research methods which use stem cells from adults to develop treatments for many diseases have recently been successful; in fact, the British Medical Journal (1999) has concluded that, in medical research, human embryonic stem cells “may soon be eclipsed by the more readily available and less controversial adult stem cells.”
  • The use of a patient’s own stem cells is even preferable to using embryonic stem cells because it avoids the problem of the body rejecting cells other than its own
  • Other new methods such as somatic cell gene therapy are increasingly successful in tissue regeneration and otherwise treating disease.

Related Links:

  • Click here (pdf) to see AFLO’s brief to CIHR on Stem Cell Research
    ** Please note: The following links are referral documents overseeing Stem Cell Rresearch and Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada. They do not necessarily represent the views of Alliance for Life Ontario
  • Click here to see the current law
  • Click here to see the Updated Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research, June 29, 2007 from the Canadian Institute of Health Research
  • Click here and here to see the Tri-Council Policy statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.
  • Updated Position Statements from Canadian Organizations on Stem Cell Research
  • See AFLO’s Position on Stem Cell Research
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