Embryonic stem cell research, a future challenge or a myth: a religious perspective

Mohamed Ahmed A El Sheikh, Rusha MA El Sheikh


Stem cell research has great potential to relieve human disease and suffering. The first studies on stem cells began in the 1960s. Embryonic Stem cells for research are obtained from the surplus fertilized embryos
in infertility management with IVF, from aborted fetuses, umbilical cord and cloning whether therapeutic or reproductive. The overwhelming objection to stem cell research is that it involves the destruction of an
embryo or foetus. For many, this constitutes destruction of a potential human, and conflicts with religious and moral beliefs held in many societies. For others, the potential for this research to provide treatments and
possibly cures for debilitating illnesses that have no cure and significantly impact on our way of life overrides this concern. Central to any argument on this is what actually constitutes the beginning of life for a human.
Opinions on this vary from the moment of conception to a 14 day embryo and a living baby at birth. The other major ethical issue associated with stem cell research ties in with the combination of embryonic stem cell and
cloning technologies.
This paper discusses stem cell research in an ethical and religious perspective showing the Islamic, Catholic, Judaism and secular ethical views. It also projects possible compromises that could be utilized and urges local
authorities to develop regulations for all clinical and research work that involves the human embryo.

*Corresponding author: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, PO Box 102, Khartoum,Sudan. Email:elsheikh5@hotmail.com

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ISSN: 1858-5345