Stem cell research supporters say that defeating lethal disease such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and more is of greater societal value than protecting “potential” human life. In the debate, there is also the possibility of non-embryo invasive answers, but these are as yet, undeveloped, may have links to cancer and, are still overly expensive. What is the ethical answer?
Just as a pile of fir or pine-cones is not the same as an actual evergreen forest, does the analogy follow that a human embryo is not the same as a full human being? The question asks of biotechnology to consider too, if the end always justifies the means. Doing dangerous experiments on human beings in labs is illegal, so shouldn't experimenting with potential humans also be prohibited?
Most experts think the answers to the proceeding questions are “No and No.” That is because, in nature, although there are a lot of fir and pine cones, there will never be as many forests as there are seeds.
Nature’s protocol is to always produce far more than is ever used. It is true of pine-cones. It is true of spermatozoa. It is true, even of human embryos. Most pregnancies go quite quietly out of the human body with the monthly menstruation of women. No one objects to this “outrage” because is it just accepted that most pregnancy, of every organism—not just every woman-, results in interruption and loss of the seed or egg. In other words, most women, much less the father, have not even the slightest clue they lost the "baby."
And, Thank God for that, or our carrying capacity for life on earth would have been met and exceeded long before humans even showed up to fill the world with seven billion, hungry, thirsty people.
Yet, there is still a dilemma. An infertile couple may be dependent upon use of extra embryos implanted to better ensure pregnancy. They may truly “mourn” that loss of any, or most especially, all of those embryos that fail to implant in the uterine wall. They will die childless.
No human religion has rituals for dealing with this loss, and for a couple who have spent life savings, not to mention, stress, illness and trauma to body and soul, is allowing human potential embryo implantation a form of false hope?
This question personally is answered again with no. But not without serious reflection.
In the best Star Trek movie wisdom, Spock clearly said: “ The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” But, had Mr. Spock really considered all those billions and billions of lost seeds, pine-cones and embryos? Possibly, but not as full "beings."
Defeating suffering of those who may have a spinal cord injury, be treated for blood disease and/or diabetes, or even retina (eye-sight) failure, should be allowed the chance to use nature’s wise system of more than is needed, to have a potential shot at improved lives.
And even in the case of the grieving couple who may never see a child of their own go off to kindergarten, prom, or provide grandchildren, compassionate couples see the sense in not denying this joy to others.