Misleading Stem-Cell Report?

Mainstream media reports about the recent non-lethal derivation of embryonic stem-cells from single pre-stem-cell…cells…of embryos, appear to be greatly exaggerated. As the U.S. Catholic conference points out, taking out a single cell from the 8-10-cell stage of development sometimes kills the donor embryo. And while the original “letter” from the researchers in the British science journal Nature says the derived stem cells “maintained undifferentiated proliferation for more than eight months,” i.e., didn’t become a baby, media coverage raises the question of whether they could have, especially if they were treated with chemicals or other procedures such as induced the single-pre-stem-cells to subdivide, or to become embryonic stem cells, in the first place. So we have a case of an attempt to save the donor embryo, but possibly not his twin brother.

Orthodoxy usually opposes jeopardizing any human being’s life for research or medical benefit to others, from fertilization to natural repose (i.e., death). Traditionally, Orthodoxy has also opposed the creation of human beings outside the act of marital relations in the first place, offering for the consolation and emotional support of apparently-infertile married couples the prayerful and counseling ministry of its priests and spiritual fathers/mothers, the support of brother and sister Christians in the parish, the holy example of the Saints in the Scriptures and Orthodox Church Tradition, and the possibility of Divine intervention recounted therein. Christians are mandated to “bear fruit;” most will do so reproductively, all should do so spiritually.


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