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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Word "Embryonic" is What Has Caused all the Controversy

The word "embyronic" is what has caused all the controversy regarding blastocystic stem cell research. The research is conducted on "blastocyst" stem cells. Even though the term “human embryonic stem cell” (hESC) is widely used by the scientific community, it suggests that a tiny baby has been formed in the lab. This is not scientifically possible.

In one way, doctors and researchers are mislabeling their own product when they refer to fertilized eggs (zygotes, morulas, and blastocysts) as embryonic stem cells. The media is simply repeating this misnomer and fueling the flames of argument. Yes, the cells are within the first two-month stage of development that is covered by the term “embryonic”; however, in vitro processes have opened a door that was previously unknown.

An embryo is not automatically formed when eggs are fertilized in vitro. A blastocyst can only become an organism or embryo if it has implanted in a uterus where it receives proper nourishment to differentiate into all the cells and organs required to form a human being. IVF eggs cannot develop to the next stage and become an embryo while in the lab. To believe anything less seems to undervalue the role a woman plays in reproduction.

2 comments:

Jivin J said...

Even though the term “human embryonic stem cell” (hESC) is widely used by the scientific community, it suggests that a tiny baby has been formed in the lab. This is not scientifically possible.

No, it suggests correctly that the cells came from an embryo. Leading stem cell researchers call them embryonic stem cell because they know they come from embryos. Blastocyst is merely a term for a of stage of development the embryo goes thru. The only reason not to recognize this is if you're trying to mislead or have been misled yourself.

A blastocyst can only become an organism or embryo if it has implanted in a uterus where it receives proper nourishment to differentiate into all the cells and organs required to form a human being.

Do you have any evidence for that assertion? Why do embryology (written by experts in embryology) clearly state that embryos prior to implantation are embryos and organisms?

Yvonne Perry said...

That is a very good question and I'm happy to explain.

The word embryo originates from the Greek word “embryon,”
which means “that which grows.”
Based on the 2006 Random House Unabridged Dictionary,
an embryo is “the young of a mammal, in the early stages of
development within the womb, in humans up to the end of the
second month.”

Note: embryo refers to development inside the uterus, not in vitro.
There are no embryos in a lab dish—there are only cells called
zygotes, morulas and blastocysts. There is absolutely no potential
for IVF-derived blastocyst stem cells to become a human embryo
while in the lab. Mother Nature must do that in the environment
of a uterus.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines the term embryo as
“an animal in the early stages of growth and differentiation that
are characterized by cleavage, the laying down of fundamental
tissues, and the formation of primitive organs and organ systems;
especially the developing human individual from the time of
implantation to the end of the eighth week after conception.”8
Note: an embryo has tissues and organs; blastocysts do not.
Implantation and conception are considered separate processes
and are not synonymous with fertilization.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines embryo as “an
organism at any time before full development, birth, or hatching.
In humans, the pre-fetal product of conception from implantation
through the eighth week of development.” Here, the term embryo is again used to refer to the first two months of development after conception confirming that there is a difference between fertilization and conception.
Conception and fertilization are two distinct and individual events. While fertilization can occur either in a lab or inside a woman’s body, conception can only take place in the womb. Conception occurs when a blastocyst becomes implanted or attached to the lining of the uterus where it begins to receive nourishment for continued development.
A pregnancy does not actually begin until the process of conception is complete. This process takes several days and can be confirmed by testing the levels of progesterone and hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) present in the mother’s blood. When conception in the uterus is complete, the blastocyst can develop into an embryo. It is very important to remember that conception can only occur inside the uterus.

Yvonne Perry