Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

I just watched an episode of PBS's Frontline on Parkinson's Disease. And it got me all riled up again. I am a huge proponent of Federal Funding of stem cell research, but by no means am I an expert. However, of all the arguments for stem cell research I have heard, I have never heard anyone speak from my perspective.

When a women goes through IVF multiple embryos may be created, and usually only 1 or 2 will be implanted. The remainder are frozen. Many times these precious embryos are thawed and implanted at a later time. It is possible, (and commonplace) for a woman to have all the children she was meant to have, and still have frozen embryos. Her choices would be to have the embyos destroyed, pay a yearly rental fee for perpetuity, or (?) she could somehow find a private foundation to give her embryos to?

I feel like the President's ban came from a genuine respect for embryonic stem cells' potential to create human life. But is there anyone, ANYONE who respects that potential more than the "parents" of the cells.

When a human can no longer live, our society views organ donation as an honorable, meaningful last gift. Though embryos have the potential to become human life, without a womb to grow in, they are essentially, dead. If I had leftover embryos I would want those special cells be used for stem cell research. I would feel like their brief "life" would have more meaning if used fostering hope for cures for diseases than sitting around in cryogenic freezer until I, or they die. I wish there were more options...

Oh wait! There is one more option for the leftover embryos: In 2006 George Bush had a primetime news conference explaining why the 1st veto he issued in his presidency was to again shoot down federal stem cell research funding. His solution to the problem? Give away your embryos! Allow other people to raise your biological children that you don't want!

I must say that I ABSOLUTELY respect people who have made this decision. I think it is brave and selfless, and if it was right for you: right on. However, H and I were completely appalled that this was our president's grand solution. I would feel morally corrupt to have my flesh and blood being raised by another person. The very idea shakes me to the core. George Bush's arrogance and nonchalance on the issue shakes me to the core. He treated the issue as if it were no different than deciding to donate blood to the Red Cross.

I believe the President's intentions may have been earnest, but when he limited stem cell research funding back in 2001 I feel our nation took a major step backwards.

I look forward to Barrack Obama lifting the ban, and I must also give credit to John McCain, who promised to lift the ban if elected. (Palin, however supports the ban. boooooo!). I am so happy to move on and forward. Adios George.


Natalee said...

I totally agree with you. Having been married to a scientist for the last ten years the thought of using donated embryos for research has never ever bothered me. With out a womb they are nothing more than cells. To be left frozen in limbo forever rather than be used to help mankind seems crazy to me. Right on sista!!!

Liz said...

That is crazy. Rather than use these cells to conduct research to preserve and extend the life of people who are actually living, turn them from that into children and donate them? Am I getting that right?

Liz said...

Where are you genetic mule?

Court said...

Where you at is right! I bet you are on some sort of adventurous, clothing-optional, international vacation. Please say yes. Someone's gotta be having a good time right now!

Adeleida said...

Yes, yes and yes again. Only, they have gotten to the point where they can actually get adult cells to start mimicking stem cells. So, actually, this whole debate should not have even happened. However, agreed, if I ever have some "leftovers" which I would not use (and, frankly, with my genetic weirdness, don't think anyone else would want them...), donation to research would be my preference too.