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Excess Embryos and Research - Essay Example

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Moreover, based on the absolutist principle, all life has value and that it is always wrong to take such life (West, 2005). These individuals also point out that using excess embryos for human research may lead humanity into a slippery slope, where one small step towards an end would lead to other similar actions where bigger and more undesirable consequences become apparent (West, 2005). Discussion In order to understand this discussion better, it is important to consider and define the parameters of IVF. In vitro fertilization refers to the process of the sperm fertilizing the egg outside the human body or in vitro, which in Latin translates to ‘in glass’ (Swain, 2011). Basically, in IVF, the sperm and egg is collected from the woman’s fallopian tubes or uterus, is combined with the semen under laboratory conditions, and then reinserted into the uterus (Swain, 2011). Ovarian hyperstimulation for the retrieval of multiple eggs and the culture and selection of embryos is also included in the process. Most of the time, multiple eggs are fertilized in order to ensure successful fertilization and consequently, successful pregnancies (Swain, 2011). In different countries, there are legal restrictions on the number of embryos which can be reintroduced into the uterus. In these instances, there would likely be numerous excess embryos which would not be used by the clients seeking IVF (Kao, et.al., 2008). From these excess embryos, the issue of utilization has now come about and the question is raised: Should these excess embryos be made available for research purposes? Opponents to the utilization of these embryos for research primarily point out that allowing the use of these embryos would lead humanity into a slippery slope, one which would likely lead to more human rights violated and less value attributed to human life (Dooley, 2003). They argue that where an embryo is given so little value, the value of life itself would likely decrease. The slippery slope argument is based on the argument that where one act is allowed, an avalanche of other consequent acts would likely follow and these consequent acts may not be intended by the original actors (Bongso and Lee, 2010). For example, allowing the use of embryonic cells may later eventually lead to the blatant use of embryonic cells (even those not in excess) for research purposes. For other ethical arguments, allowing the legalization of euthanasia may lead to the unconscionable killing of elderly individuals who do not have adequate health care (Bongso and Lee, 2010). For those who believe in the slippery slope argument, they also point out that allowing the use of excess embryos may lead to the instrumentalization of human life, wherein life is created in order to fill human purposes (Banchoff, 2011). These statements or arguments are not agreeable to me. According to Dettman and Saunders (1985), human embryos cannot be considered as individuals or people, not even as potential human life. Human embryo should be considered as cells and unless they are implanted in the uterus, they are not yet potential life forms (Hinman, 2010). In effect, the embryos cannot be considered human life and must not therefore be attributed with human value. Where there is no human value, there would also not be any devaluation on the embryo (Hinman, 2010). I also believe that the ...Show more
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Excess Embryos and Research Introduction The use of excess embryos from IVF programs for research is a favorable option for me. Based on the utilitarian principles, the final outcomes of research are meant to secure favorable developments in the treatment of various diseases, thereby compensating for the embryos lost during the research process…
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