Meyer, John R.
March 2008
Ethics & Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics;Spring2008, Vol. 24 Issue 1, p51
Academic Journal
Katrien Devolder offers a compromise solution for the derivation of human embryonic stem cells that is designed to appease those who consider the killing of human embryos immoral. She proposes to build on a gradualist view of embryonic development in which the embryo merits special respect as human but does not possess ultimate value. Respect for the embryo must be weighed against other values, such as the desires of potential parents and the medical needs of patients who could benefit from stem cell therapy. Devolder also contends that William Hurlbut's "altered nuclear transfer" (ANT) proposal will not satisfy those who hold that the beginning of human life occurs at conception. In my critique of Devolder's position, I discuss why ANT and "oocyte assisted reprogramming" (OAR) are ethically questionable, and then review the epistemological value of the hylomorphic view of the human embryo, as well as the ethical importance of potentiality and intentionality. Finally, I argue for an expanded research effort in the area of adult stem cell therapy, which obviates the ethical dilemma associated with the manipulation or destruction of human embryos.


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