Human development across the lifespan
Dacey and colleagues (2008) address several relevant topics on humanlifespan development. One of initial stages of human lifespan is theconception stage. However, owing to various complications, conceptionby natural means may be impossible. To rectify this are assistedreproduction technologies. Cloning is one of them. With cloning ofanimals already proven, embryonic stem research and cloning of humanhave raised a huge debate more so on the moral and ethicalperspective of this practice as opposed to the health benefits thepractice provides. Two articles address this issue as discussedbelow.
The first article titled “Ethics of embryonic stem cell researchaccording to Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, and Islamic religions:perspective from Malaysia” authored by Mathana Sivaraman and SitiNoor (2014) seeks to analyse the ethical positions of major religionson use embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) and umbilical blood (UCB)for research and therapy. The researchers sought views of religiousleaders of Buddhist, Hindu, and Catholic faiths in Malaysia throughsemi-structured interviews while Islamic views on the subject werecollected from secondary research on the teachings on the subjectcontained in the fatwa.
Results Islam supports use of embryos in research as a noble cause.Using young embryos created specifically for research is acceptableas life is assumed to begin 120 days after fertilization. Hindus andBuddhist believe in the sanctity of human life but at the same timeaccept stem cell research with some reservations. On the other hand,Catholics oppose use of embryos noting that life is sacred and beginsat conception.
The research did not indicate any limitations faced or the need touse secondary sources in regards to Islamic views. Nonetheless, theyconclude that Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims accept ESCR whileCatholics do not. Such findings point to the need to factor inreligious beliefs in developing policies on research involved ESCR.Given the results varied slightly from previous studies, theresearcher suggest that future studies should use larger samplesgiven that individuals have own understanding and interpretation ofreligious scriptures.
The second article by Kenger and Burkil (2013) sought to identify theposition of patients and healthcare professionals in Switzerland onuse of embryonic stem cells and umbilical cord blood stem cells forresearch and therapy. The participants comprised of three groupsmedical professionals, persons exposed to the topic (patients anddonors) and childless couples seeking to benefit from ESCR. Allparticipants were required to complete questionnaires of semistructured questions.
Results of the study showed that the majority (82%) of theparticipants agreed on the ethical need to use umbilical cord bloodfor research and therapy while a minority (38%) were in support ofuse of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). It is clear that the generalpopulation and healthcare professionals face a huge dilemma on theethical soundness on practices connected to stem cell research anduse of embryos. However, the general acceptance by the majority onuse of UCB could be explained by general acceptance of bloodtransfusion which has continuing for several years. Therefore, it canbe presumed that views on stem cell research and cloning may changeover time as people become more informed on the subject.
The researchers suggest that future research on the subject should bemore informed by scientific facts on the suitability and use of UCB.Studies informed by scientific facts can collect more reliable dataon views and attitudes towards such scientific data. An interestingissue observed is that non-healthcare professionals who participatedhad minimal knowledge n the subject as provided by brochuresdistributed alongside questionnaires. Future studies should targetpeople well informed on the subject who are better placed to giveinformed views.
To conclude, these two articles address an important issue in thesubject of human lifespan development. Scientific developments inhuman cloning research and ESCR may alter the current understandingof lifespan and understanding of the beginning of life.
Krenger,W. & Burkil, P. (2013). Use of human embryonic stem cells andumbilical cord blood
stem cells for research and therapy: a prospective survey amonghealth care professionals and patients in Switzerland
Sivaraman,M. & Noor, S. (2014). Ethics of embryonic stem cell researchaccording to Buddhist,
Hindu, Catholic, and Islamic religions: perspective from Malaysia.Asian Biomedicine 8(1): 43-52