Trading Lives or Changing Human Nature: The Strange Dilemma of Embryo-Based Regenerative Medicine

  • Glenn Mcgee
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 102)


It is, perhaps, the most important scientific advance in the past one hundred years, and its potential is not even close to realization. It is the most controversial technology imaginable, an improbable combination of the abortion, cloning, fetal tissue, transplantation, gene therapy, animal rights and regenerative medical technology debates, raising worries about women in research, sex, the regulation of in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics, the danger of changing the human germ line, and the war against aging. Before it is developed, some of the most powerful politicians on earth will find themselves forced to modify deeply entrenched views, and a few dozen scientists will become billionaires through patents on bits and parts of embryos.


Embryonic Stem Cell Assisted Reproductive Technology Moral Status Human Embryo Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bush, President G.W. (2001). ‘Address to the Nation on Stem Cell Research,’ Vanderbilt Television News Archives, August 9, 2001, [Online] Available: <>. Also available at: <>.
  2. Chapman, A.R., Frankel, M.S. & Garfinkel, M.S. (1999). Stem Cell Research and Applications: Monitoring the Frontiers of Biomedical Research,  AAAS/ICS Report.Google Scholar
  3. Cole, R.J., Edwards, R.G. & Paul, J. (1966). ‘Cytodifferentiation and Embryogenesis in Cell Colonies and Tissue Cultures Derived from Ova and Blastocysts of the Rabbit,’ Developmental Biology, 13(3), 385–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Edwards, R.G. (1985). ‘Ethical and Moral Issues of In Vitro Fertilization. Introduction: The Scientific Basis of Ethics,’ Annalsof the New York Acadamy of Sciences, 442, 564–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Edwards, R.G. (1996). ‘Human Conception In Vitro 1995, A Summing Up,’ Human Reproduction, 11(suppl. l), 199–211.Google Scholar
  6. Edwards, R.G. & Steptoe, P.C. (1974). ‘Control of Human Ovulation, Fertilization and Implantation,’ Proceedings of the Royal Society Medicine, 67(9), 932–936.Google Scholar
  7. Farley, M. (2001). ‘Roman Catholic Views on Research Involving Human Embryonic Stem Cells,’ In S. Holland, S. Lebacqz and L. Zoloth (Eds.), The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate. Science, Ethics, and Public Policy (pp. 113–119), MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  8. Friend, T. (2001). ‘Half of Stem Cell Money Could Go to Royalties,’ USA Today, August 13, 2001.Google Scholar
  9. Gearhart, J. (1998). ‘New Potential for Human Embryonic Stem Cells,’ Science, 282, 1061–1062.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hollands, P. (1987). ‘Differentiation and Grafting of Haemopoietic Stem Cells from Early Postimplantation Mouse Embryos,’ Development (suppl.), 99, 1, 69–76.Google Scholar
  11. Hollands (1991). ‘Embryonic Stem Cell Grafting: The Therapy of the Future?’ Human Reproduction, 6, 1, 79–84.Google Scholar
  12. McDonald, J.W., Liu, X.Z., Qu, Y., Liu, S., Mickey, S.K., Turetsky, D. & Gott, D.I. (1999). ‘Transplanted Embryonic Stem Cells Survive, Differentiate, and Promote Recovery in Injured Rat Spinal Cord,’ Nature Medicine, 5, 1410–1412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. National Bioethics Advisory Commission (1999). Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research, National Bioethics Advisory Commission Publications, Rockville, MA. [Online] Available: <>.
  14. Okarma, T.B. (2001). Human Embryonic Stem Cells: A Primer on the Technology and Its Medical Applications. S. Holland, S. Lebacqz and L. Zoloth (Eds.), The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate. Science, Ethics, and Public Policy (pp. 3–14), MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  15. Steptoe, P.C. & Edwards, R.G. (1978). ‘Birth After Re-implantation of a Human Embryo,’ Lancet (letter), 2, 8085, 366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Thomson, J.A., Iskovitz-Eldor, J., Shapiro, S.S., Waknitz, M.A., Swiergiel, J.J., Marshall, V.S. & Jones, J.J. (1998). ‘Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Derived From Human Blastocysts,’ Science, 282, 1145–1147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wolpe, P.R. & McGee, G. (2001). ‘“Expert Bioethics” as Professional Discourse: The Case of Stem Cells,’in S. Holland, K. Lebacqz and L. Zoloth (Eds.), The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate (pp. 185–196), The MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn Mcgee
    • 1
  1. 1.Alden March Bioethics Institute, Albany Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations