The controversial issue of fetal tissue research

Thus, fetal tissue eludes these body defenses. Any impediment to ongoing scientific inquiry in the field caused by the current controversy would have substantial consequences.

Although current controversy is more closely focused on fetal tissue research, especially fetal tissue transplantation, fetal research by its nature involves the complete spectrum of ethical, legal, and social issues that attend to experiments on living fetuses in utero, embryos produced by in vitro methods, and even the very ownership of those embryos.

The development of vaccines against polio, rubella, measles, chickenpox, adenovirus, rabies, and treatments for debilitating diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, and hemophilia all involved fetal tissue.

Fetal tissue research dates back to the s, and has led to major advances in human health, including the virtual elimination of such childhood scourges as polio, measles and rubella in the United States.

Experts say stem cells have already substituted for fetal tissue for some purposes, but that scientists still need fetal tissue to learn basic information about how organs form, or help them simulate certain diseases in the test tube.

Though our society tragically permits abortion, most do not view abortion itself as good. In the case of fetal tissue, the mother is presumed to be the one who gives consent to the use of the tissue for the transplant or for some other form of experimentation. The mother cannot give morally legitimate consent, since she initiated the termination of the pregnancy.

Along the way, the policies and laws have been reviewed and updated numerous times. Because the fetal tissue is likely to be used for research purposes rather than be transplanted into a living human, this law most likely does not apply. To be sure, the current controversy threatens not just access to safe and legal abortion and the providers who care for the women who seek this essential health service.

There are two sources of such fetal tissue—elective or induced abortions and spontaneous or natural abortions. See Orange County Register, Sect. However, the tissue was taken from a fetus who had been aborted for birth control reasons.

Department of Health and Human Services, fetal tissue continues to be an important resource for researchers studying degenerative eye disease, human development disorders such as Down syndrome, and early brain development relevant to understanding the causes of autism and schizophrenia.

Fetal tissue controversy: What is it used for?

In addition, researchers use fetal tissue in transplantation research. See Bopp and Burtchaell, Mahowald and associates already propose that pregnancies be prolonged and the method of abortion be modified, if necessary, in order to procure the most fresh, and thus the most useful tissue.

In addition, fetal cells were used in the production of a widely used vaccine for measles. Most Christian ethicists agree that fetal tissue donation is not inherently unethical if the tissue was obtained from a spontaneous abortion miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy a pregnancy in which the fetus implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus and was willingly donated by the parent.

Public debate about fetal research, however, has its roots in the development of policies governing human subjects research, a process that took center stage in when the abuses of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study were exposed and a panel was convened to report on this abuse.

The hope, according to Shirley Wang at the Wall Street Journal, is that perfecting this technique will allow a smooth transition from fetal tissue to stem cells when they become a viable alternative: Planned Parenthood clinic told official, Washington Post, Nov.

Any discussion of the ethics of fetal tissue research must begin with its unimpeachable claim to have saved the lives and health of millions of people. The use of the tissue from induced abortion is inconsistent with the UAGA framework, since: In a recent article in Christianity Today, Dr.

The DHEW regulations, however, contained the possibility of waiver of the minimal risk standard on a project-by-project basis by a complicated procedure to be decided ultimately by an Ethics Advisory Board. Second, certain areas of the body do not regenerate after birth or after a few years of life, so the use of mature tissue for transplantation is not possible.

I. Introduction

Scientists who want to regenerate organs and tissues may use it to learn how the human body makes them in the first place. Not only do fetal cells grow at a much faster rate than adult cells, they also elicit less of an immune response, which lowers the risk of tissue rejection.

Scientists hope that as cell-therapy science continues to advance, the treatment will shift to using stem cells rather than fetal tissue. Such donations would be similar to a parent agreeing to donate the organs of an infant or a child that had died by natural causes. Though the court did not rule on his right to compensation, they did hold that individuals have a property interest in their own cells, and thus a right to control what becomes of their tissues.

Fetal tissue research is essential for scientific discovery and improving human health

Fetal research has attracted greater scrutiny largely because it emerged earlier than the very controversial use of fetal tissue for transplantation. Historical Timeline of Regulation and Legislation Specific reference to fetal research in federal regulations or legislation began in the s.

Stem cells provide a renewable source of cells and are more versatile, able to differentiate into any type of cell.

Since that time, animal and human experiments many of the human experiments have been done outside the United States or with private funds have examined the usefulness of transplanting fetal cells to cure or lessen the effects of diabetes, certain blood disorders, radiation poisoning, and a variety of neurological disorders.

The Ethics of Fetal Tissue Transplantation

Some types can exist in adults, but they need to be coaxed or programmed into nerve cells that produce dopamine. The videos also threaten to undermine fetal tissue research itself, however, by sowing confusion, and by using graphic descriptions and images to turn the public against this research.

Fetal research involves both invasive and noninvasive techniques some of which are no longer used and has led to improved techniques of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, and to major advances in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that threaten the survival of fetuses and pregnant women.

Fetal tissue cultures were also essential in the development of the rubella vaccine, and continue to be used in virology research. Fetal tissue—obtained both ethically and unethically—has been used to develop life-saving vaccines.Medical research using human fetal tissue obtained from abortions has benefited millions of people worldwide and holds great promise for the continued advancement of basic science, as well as for the development of lifesaving vaccines and therapies.

Sincewhen abortion became legal nationwide. Although current controversy is more closely focused on fetal tissue research, especially fetal tissue transplantation, fetal research by its nature involves the complete spectrum of ethical, legal, and social issues that attend to experiments on living fetuses in utero, embryos produced by in vitro methods, and even the very ownership of those embryos.

Controversy over Planned Parenthood's supplying fetal tissue for research has focused attention on a little-discussed aspect of science.

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Some of the organization's affiliates, in fewer than five states, provide the tissue, according to Planned mint-body.comd: Sep 18, Fetal tissue transplants are actually part of a long-established tradition of using fetal cells in research.

For example, the Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded. As the availability of fetal tissue increased so did the concern over the potential for controversial research on living, soon-to-be-aborted fetuses, and anxiety over maltreatment of dead abortuses.

Vivid examples include Geoffrey Chamberlain's report of an experiment on a fetus of 26 weeks gestational age. tissue from induced abortions in transplantation, other areas of fetal tissue research continued to receive governmental funding and attention.

One journalist has observed that “during the period of the moratorium, NIH—except for studies involving fetal material obtained from elective abortions—continued to support human fetal tissue research.

The controversial issue of fetal tissue research
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