Stem Cell Research

I was wondering what the official Catholic position on this. I know what the position on abortion is, but not this.

Stem cell research, we were learning about in biology yesterday, has been used to restore vision, hearing, etc.

It can save lives pretty much. The controversy is that stem cell research uses human embryos. Of course, these are embryos from in vitro fertilization that would have been disposed of anyway.

I can tell you that in vitro fertilization is a sin, as is “disposing” of the unwanted embryos. It’s essentially the same as abortion. As for the benefits, similar results can be achieved using adult stem cells. Which is awesome. :slight_smile:

I expect you’ll need to ask this in the proper subforum (ie, moral theology) if you want a more in-depth answer than that. Popular Media is for discussing, well, popular media. We talk about TV, books, movies, and video games here. :wink:

Oh, okay, thanks! :slight_smile:
Yeah, I myself have nothing for or against in vitro fertilization.

The research in the article you cited uses adult stem cells, not embryonic.

That’s the problem. The media and investors want embryonic stem cells developed for as yet unrealized practical use since they can patent them and make money. There are two problems: A. Your body will recognize the material as foreign and try to destroy it. You’ll be put on anti-rejection medication for the rest of your life. B. There is a small chance that it will become cancerous.

Adult stem cells are far less likely to cause any problems, and their use has led to successful treatments.


And from what I understand, it seems that adult stems cells have been having more success, which results in more research being done with adult stem cells. Adult stem cells, or stem cells cultivated from the umbilical cord, of the patient don’t have the risk of rejection.

I believe there was a recent discover of an adult stem cell found or cultivated from somewhere in the body that could turn out to be just as pliable as embryonic stem cells.

Though, to the point of the OP, Church says IVF, “disposal” of unwanted embryos, and embryonic stem cell use is sinful. But using adult stem cells, especially that of the patient themselves, are not sinful, and given their success, I’d say encouraged where applicable.

Thank you for the replies everyone! :slight_smile:

I wasn’t certain what to think on this issue at first. You clarified a lot of things for me.

I also understand that the use of “gestational carriers” is against Church teaching, but there is a couple on reality tv who claim to be devout Catholics had a baby that way and are planning to have another one using the same method.:shrug:

Surrogate parenting is against Church teaching, I never mentioned that in my other post, but thank you for bringing it up. But I think part of the reason this is sinful is because is requires the use of IVF, essentially, to impregnate the surrogate mother with the donor mother and donor father’s egg and sperm (respectively).

Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation (CDF 1987)

Dignity of the Human Person: On Certain Bioethical Questions (CDF 2008)

See also:

The First Vatican Adult Stem Cell Conference – November 2011

The other reason is because in many cases, surrogate mothers are very much exploited. Many surrogate mothers come from 3rd world countries, are poor, and uneducated. Many of them really don’t understand the agreements that they signed.

Then the Rancics are most likely exploiting the surrogate in their case:shrug:

Contrary to most popular belief, using the stem cells of embryos is often unsafe, and it hasn’t offered one cure yet. Adult stem cells; those voluntarily given from adults however, are most certainly something to be used.

Also harvesting adult stem cells does the donor no more harm than a blood transfusion but with an embryo it is sure death.

This is a topic near and dear to my heart and there is so much misinformation about
“stem cell research”. It is deliberate in many cases. All research is expensive and if
a company is not able to reap a lot of profits from drugs/therapy, etc, they are not as
interested. Using embryonic stem cells and being successful, means that the process
can be patented. That is the first step in reaping profits. Adult stem cells cannot be.
patented, therefore successful research using them cannot be as profitable.
So, when you read of successful “stem cell research”, it is most likely to have come from
“adult stem cells”, because that’s where the successes have been. California recently
switched from spending money on embryonic stem cell research to adult stem cell research. It is certainly encouraging, they are using their money more wisely.
Something that is also misunderstood is that “adult stem cells” do not have to come from
an adult, they can come from cord blood. from a person’s own body, or from a baby in
utero for it’s mother. (No death occurs for the baby either.)
Some of the latest successes have been for Parkinson’s Disease, and Diabetes and were
published in “Nature” and an article was in on Sept. 24, 2013.

@TexCatholic: Question about the baby: Does the baby suffer any long-term effects if any of it’s stem-cells are taken in utero? Or does the child grow them back relatively quick?

The long term effect for a baby as I understand it is death. Not so with adults.

This is not so, Adult stem cells taken from a baby in utero, do not damage the baby in any
way, some can be taken from the placenta, etc. These are not embryonic stem cells,
huge difference.
Will respond more later, I’m on my way to Mass.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit