The Use Of Fetal Tissue In Res

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The Use Of Fetal Tissue In Res Essay, Research Paper The use of Fetal Tissue in Research and Transplants Fetal tissue research is done to provide information to society that will eventually lead to the prevention of some diseases and hopefully one day help to discover a cure to some incurable diseases. Right now researchers are doing fetal tissue research to obtain information in areas of fetal tissue transplantation, the development and production of new vaccines, and lastly information on various birth defects and how to prevent or cure them. Fetal tissue research has contributed to the nation’s knowledge on various diseases, new vaccines, and a possible treatment to help cure some incurable diseases; however, many ethical and legal concerns arise. Each area of fetal

research is done on three different types of fetuses: the live, nonviable aborted fetus, the fetus in utero, and the dead fetus. The first type of research done is on the live, nonviable, aborted fetus. This type of research is done to study the period of time in which a fetus can be kept alive after an abortion in order to obtain cells or organs for transplant (Levy 44). A second type of fetus that doctors experiment on is the fetus in utero. This type of research is done by amniocentesis. Amniocentesis is the insertion of a needle into the abdominal wall and into the amniotic sac where it withdraws amniotic fluid to be tested. This type of research provides no direct involvement with the fetus; however, it is dangerous because it has the possibility of puncturing a sensitive

organ. The process of amniocentesis provides doctors and researchers with information that detects sex-linked diseases and genetic disorders. Another way experimenters conduct tests on the fetus in utero is to give the mother specific drugs or treatment and then observe the effects on the aborted fetus. This way of researching the fetus in utero does have direct involvement with the fetus (Levy 44). The third type of fetus used to experiment with is the dead fetus. The dead fetus provides information that can lead to the detection of fetal abnormalities and to help prevent birth defects and diseases in future fetuses (Levy 43). As found in Robertson, fetal tissue is essential to medical research for the simple fact that there is no close substitute for fetal tissue. The reason

why fetal tissue is so important to medical research is because fetal tissue is highly available. “Currently the fetal tissue used in transplants is retrieved from the one and a half million abortions performed annually in the United States to end unwanted pregnancies” (54). Fetal tissue is less prone to rejection. Due to its less specific immune response, it develops quickly, and has plasticity meaning it has the ability to mold or assume a desired form. Another reason fetal tissue is important to medical research is because it is less specialized, meaning it will be more likely to develop into any adult cell. Fetal tissue is also easy to culture (Maynard-Moody 51-53). Fetal tissue from ectopic pregnancies, spontaneously aborted fetuses and stillbirths is not usable tissue.

In most cases the tissue received from these fetuses generally is incapable of being used because the fetus has been dead for a few days and the tissue is no longer alive. Therefore the only source of fetal tissue to be researched and transplanted most comes from elective abortions. A stillbirth occurs when the fetus dies in or after the twentieth week and is delivered. This kind of tissue is incapable of being transplanted because it has been dead in the body for an unknown amount of time and all the organs and tissues are dead. Besides the fact that the tissue is dead, the tissue would also be too old to be transplanted. Most fetal tissue being used for transplants needs to be retreived before the fetus is twelve weeks. A spontaneous abortion also called a miscarriage is when