The truth about stem cells and research

There was a letter to the editor in our local paper last night from a woman who was adamant, that stem cell research be banned and that she was angry that her tax dollars are used to fund something she considers “immoral.”

Now this woman lumped stem cell research in with abortion. These two things are mutually exclusive and are VERY different. She obviously does not know what she is talking about so instead of writing a letter to the editor, I am going to explain to her and you the how and why of stem cells research.

Stem cells can be taken from many different sources but I am going to specifically address two ways that I had control over. I was beyond frustrated because I was unable to move forward due to President Bush’s ban, some of the nation’s population obvious uneducated view of stem cell research, and the wet blanket both throw over stem cell research.

I underwent a lot of infertility treatments trying to have Chase and Larkin. We attempted IVF five times. Each time we retrieved eggs, mixed them with Andy’s sperm and put back into my body, those embryos that developed. Each time we had some embryos that did not develop. Yes my belief is life begins at conception. Yes we had embryos that we hoped would progress but not all continued to divide beyond 7 cells.

We had embryos that stopped growing and would never ever become blastocyst or develop into a fetus. Those embryos held stem cells. Those embryos were destroyed because of the wet blanket ban and we were not allowed to donate them. Does that make ANY sense?

Not going to become a baby because it has stopped growing. Has stem cells. Destroyed.

The second avenue is from Larkin’s stem cells in her cord blood that we saved from her birth. We have stored her cord blood in a bank on the east coast. It is not recommended to store cord blood of a child who has Down syndrome because their stem cells are pre-disposed to leukemia. All of my research shows there has never been an instance where doctors had an opportunity to use or reject the use of stem cells from a child with DS cord blood therefore we are hanging onto it just in case. During my reading and talking with cancer doctors and others about her stem cells, I asked if I could donate hers for research. Guess what? YOU CANNOT DO STEM CELL RESEARCH.

I was turned down repeatedly. Does that make any sense?

Not coming from an embryo – has stem cells.

Scientist and researchers could have been trying all these years to find a cure for cancers, enable spinal cord patients to heal, find a pain free life, and potentially walk. Grow any number of organs for transplant recipients, and find a cure for seizures, brain injuries and improve the lives of those with disabilities.

Instead, I have to read letters to the editor from a person who obviously has not one single clue as to how stem cells can be used and from what sources they can come from.

I agree that regulations must be in place. We cannot become a nation that cultures embryos for the specific use of stem cells. I agree that is morally wrong.

What IS immoral is banning the search for cures of disease that kills mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren and that list can go on. We have ways of gathering stem cells without ending a life.

I wait the day when the call comes – can we have some of Larkin’s stem cells to see what we can find to improve the lives of children with Trisomy 21.

Can we have some of Larkin’s stem cells to see what we can find to cure epilepsy?

Can we introduce stem cells into Larkin’s life to see if we can cure her of seizures and the brain areas damaged by them?

Stem cell research could save my child’s life and give her a quality of life never expected. Forgive me for not being tolerant of ignorance on this issue.

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12 Responses to The truth about stem cells and research

  1. Fawn says:

    Great post. I have to admit I’ve never given stem cell research a whole lot of thought. I knew you could get the stem cells from cord blood, but didn’t know about the non-developing embryos. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  2. Jen says:

    Yes ma’am!

  3. tammy nicastro says:

    As a former discarder of tens of thousands of non-developmental human embryos that did contain stem cells and could have been used to study potential cures for many terminal diagnoses, it is very difficult to hear on an almost daily basis the constant ignorance spewed from many Americans on this topic. When polictal parties prey on people’s ignorance and brand something as a pro-life issue when they certainly have access to scientists who can explain to them the source of stem cells, it should serve to educate people on many levels about why it is so important that people start reading about the issues that their polictal leaders are voting on. There are seven states that are actively promoting human stem cell research and do provide millions upon millions of dollars for that research to be done. Many discoveries are being made by brilliant scientists working in these areas, Hans Keirstead and Gabriela Cezar to name a few. Imagine how much farther along we could be if all 50 states’ legistalors were so moved to allow and fund this critical work.

  4. Tracey says:

    Thanks for the great post Amy! As always, I appreciate you taking the time to share your journey and the knowledge it has brought you. I hope that others will continue to be educated by your writing. I am still waiting for that billboard in downtown! 🙂

  5. amy says:

    Amy, I always learn so much from your posts… thank you. And thank you for your stance and information on stem cells.

  6. Ann O says:

    Thank you Amy and Tammy for sharing factual information and not making stem cell research a pro-life issue. This research has the potential for improving the lives and curing diseases that affect so many. Having a sister who was was diagnosed about 2 years ago with Parkinsons Disease at age 50 has made this an even more important issue for me. I hope you share your letter with the NG.

  7. CJ says:

    Wow, I was not aware of some of those facts, thank you for sharing them. It does make absolutely no sense. How are we to progress beyond diseases, ailments, etc. to find cures if we are roadblocked?

  8. Rickys mom says:

    Hey Amy and Tammy,
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowlege on the stem cell issue. I had no idea that they can come from so many different sources. Sources that do not even begin to infringe on the “other” issue. I love having smart friends 🙂

  9. Niki says:

    Thanks Amy! I haved learned a little more by reading your blog. It also confirms my belief that stem cell research would not only benefit me and those like me that have MS, but millions of others as well! Well said!! 🙂

  10. zgoldenfe says:

    Wow. Good argument! Just wondering, what is your opinion on abortion? Does it differ according to the circumstances (rape, teen pregnancy, unwanted child, not being able to care for child properly, etc.)?

  11. Amy says:

    My opinion on abortion is simple. I would not choose it for myself ~ your choice is between you and your conscience but I also feel that we need greater resources, love, compassion, and support for women who make the choice. No judgment just love.

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