Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Other Stem Cells

Many people are aware of the ethical problems (or at least controversies) with embryonic stem cell research. Basically, it involves the destruction of the very smallest form of human life. It is at the moment of conception that body and soul come together and become a new life. That immortal soul that God instills in the new human being makes it, not only unique and precious, but completely distinct in kind from animal life.

This controversy has hit close to home for me recently since my best friend from high school (we were homeschooled together) - a young mother in her mid thirties with three small children - was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS - commonly known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease"). This is a terrible degenerative disease for which there is no known cure and which is usually fatal in 3-5 years, but one that many are supporting stem cell research for in hopes of a cure.

There are two important things about stem cell research that are not commonly known:

The first is that embryonic stem cells have not yet shown much, if any, prospects of actually helping those whom researchers are hoping to help...

The second is that, although different in kind from embryonic stem cells, the stem cells found in a newborn baby's umbilical cord have shown a great deal of promise with no ethical problems whatsoever...

This seems like a no brainer. Pro-lifers who want to encourage an alternative to embryonic stem cell research should support cord blood donation. Anyone who wants to support research to treat debilitating diseases should support this very promising venue. It's just a good idea. If you are expecting a baby, please research the possibility of donating your baby's umbilical cord through the link above.

Prayers would be very much appreciated for my friend and her family. I will be flying to California soon (with my 15 month old son) to visit her.

Articles of interest...

"Wonders of Science" by Steve Kellmeyer

Donated Umbilical Cords Could Save Thousands of Lives

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