Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Two Different Potentials
6-8 cells stage embryos

Once the embryos reach this stage of division, a test called Pre Implantation Genetic Diagnosis can be done to determine if the embryos have any abnormalities by examining the chromosomes. The normal embryos are determined and then implanted back into the uterus. The sex of the embryos can also be determined and implanted according to the patients wish. Since the sex of the embryos can be determined, it makes me think that the embryo is a life right at the point of conception, but that it is just so minuscule to see, whereas when you see an image of a fetus growing you can easily see the shape of the baby.

However, through IVF clinics, the way they store the embryos and have them frozen and shipped makes me feel like storage places treat them as just something out of the ordinary, or just cell dividing in a petri dish. So I would think that if they are in IVF clinics and are treated as packaged material, then one who is for IVF treatment should be ok to discard their embryo and use it for research where it would have to be destroyed to remove the stem cells. I personally think the word “destroyed” makes it seem far worse then it is. I think maybe it should be said it is put to use and stem cells are extracted to use it for a different potentiality.

Curious FYI :How they freeze an embryo

The reason I show you this is because it makes me think that if a human embryo can be frozen and stored, then it makes it sort of inhumane if one was to think of it as a human life. The freezing and storing I think, would not constitute for the right manner of taking care of an embryo, even though they still have the potential of turning into a human if implanted in the womb. Thus, I think that an embryo is a group of cells that just like how the stem cells have the potential to turn into any different cell, it has different uses and potentials, like turning into a baby under the right circumstances, or potential for gaining information through research.


  1. Larissa, I completely agree with you. I feel that those who support in vitro fertilization and oppose embryonic stem cell research on grounds of destruction of life are extremely hypocritical. Yes, one can argue that the intent behind these procedures is different; with in vitro fertilization the intent is to create a child, whereas in embryonic stem cell research the intent is make medical advances in the hopes of saving lives and lessen suffering. The fact remains the same, however, that in both of these procedures, embryos are being manually created and their fate manipulated with, which usually ends in their hastened demise (unless an embryo were to be successfully implanted, the vast majority of which are NOT). The end result is the same; By our active manipulation, embryos are being created and just as quickly destroyed. No one can refute this fact. Its even more disturbing that many oppose the excess embryos of IVF to go to waste rather than contributing to a scientific aim that could benefit millions.

  2. I believe that an embryo is a life right after conception. For those people who use IVF the freezing and storing does nothing to the embryos potential to become a life and therefore, should not affect or be used in determining if the embryo is a life form. An embryo is not just a group of cells because it has a potential to become something else. If you use the embryo and kill it for research you are not letting that potential life form live its life and are not giving it the chance to decide if it even wants to die in the name of research.

  3. I agree with both of you and would likewise want to know how people felt about the issue of abortion. I feel that if people are against embryonic stem cells then they should also be against abortion. It would be interesting to see how many people are for abortion but against embryonic stem cells. For those people, I would also consider them hypocritics.