Myth: Embryonic stem cell research is the key to curing and treating many diseases people suffer from. It has already shown promise in treating humans. Therefore we must vigorously pursue this research so it can realize its full potential in alleviating the suffering of millions of Americans.
FACT: Embryonic stem cell research has not successfully treated or cured a single human patient. The research has not proceeded past the animal testing stage and so far, the results have been disappointing. Embryonic stem cell research is fraught with problems including tumor growth and immune rejection. Adult stem cell research, on the other hand, has shown enormous potential. It is successfully treating more than 90 different conditions and diseases.
Myth: Stem cells can only be obtained from embryos.
FACT: Stem cells can be obtained from umbilical cords, placentas, amniotic fluid, and several adult tissues like bone marrow, fat, regions of the nose, and even cadavers.
Myth: Scientists just want to use the frozen embryos left over from IVF treatments. These embryos are going to be destroyed anyway; we might as well put them to good use.
FACT: Scientists will soon run out of “leftover” embryos stored at IVF clinics, and want to solve this problem by cloning embryos. Also, “leftover” embryos do not need to be destroyed; they can and have been placed for adoption with couples who want children. That they may be discarded doesn’t change their value or the fact that they are human and deserving of respect.
Myth: Every cell in the body has the potential to become an embryo. By pro-life logic, this must be a human life, and that every time we wash our hands and are shedding thousands of cells, we must be killing life.
FACT: This overlooks the basic biological difference between a regular body cell and one whose nuclear material has been fused with an unfertilized egg cell, resulting in an embryo. A normal skin cell will only give rise to more skin cells when it divides, while an embryo will give rise to the entire unique adult organism. Skin cells are not potential adults. Skin cells are potentially only more skin cells. Only embryos are potential adults.