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  • Subject area(s): Engineering
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  • Published on: 7th September 2019
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1. The factual issues surrounding the use of 3D printing to produce embryonic stem cells come with the fact that it is a new technology and the public do know much about. One of the main concerns for engineers and companies developing these new technologies should be the safety of the patient potentially using an embryonic stem cell. The whole idea of using embryonic stem cells is using the patient’s own stem cells so that the embryonic stem cell is made specifically for them. There will need to be new methods of testing for this type of technology as it cannot be tested just on anyone. Another issue in using embryonic stem cells in replacing organs is that could the same technology be used for human enhancement. For example, could this technology be used to make someone smarter, stronger, and faster etc. if it is being used to replace organs. As this technology keeps progressing there will be an increasing number of ethical debates about whether it is morally right to use this technology to improve one’s overall health. In addition to the other issues the cost is another concern. Although people might think that the cost of this technology would not be affordable to the middle class it is the opposite. 3D printing has decreased the cost of using a product made from a 3D printer to where many patients can afford 3D printed treatments. The biggest issue facing this dilemma is the actual use of the embryonic cells. Embryonic stem cells have not been fully developed and have not been fully proven to be a safe method for transplants.

2. For the company the biggest benefit would be one of the first to use embryonic stem cells and would bring a lot of attention to the technology. With the company having success using embryonic stem cells it would result in more revenue to conduct more research in all typed of stem cell transplants. The benefit for the patient would be to have a successful transplant and have new full functioning kidney. The patient would be a prime example for other organ transplant patients who are considering using the embryonic transplant method. I would reap the benefits of being a part of the engineering team that successfully used embryonic stem cells to perform an organ transplant. For all the stakeholders, it would be a big accomplishment to have a successful organ transplant using embryonic stem cells because of how controversial the use of them is.

3. The company’s risks are potentially lawsuits from the patient is there is an unsuccessful transplant. The company can be accused of not conducting enough research and knowing that using embryonic stem cells is not yet the safest option for organ transplant. The patients bear the risk of not making it through the treatment because this technology is new there is no guarantee that this treatment will work. I could suffer possible consequences for not speaking up because of my doubt of the project. If I did speak up about not having confidence about the treatment I could have lost my job. For me being the engineer there is a big risk using embryonic stem cells.

4. The concept behind using embryonic stem cells is very complex and many questions still need to be answered before using them. An issue with using embryos is that are they considered humans. The debate about whether embryos are humans or not is that when during fertilization is the embryo considered a human. The fetus can be considered a human 6-10 weeks after conception or 120 days. Another conceptual issue with embryos is that do we value the embryo more than the life of the patients. There is always going to be a cost with using embryo stem cells because you must either sacrifice the embryo or possibly the patient. There is a surplus of embryos though. Most embryos don’t even end up as babies as they are lost during an early stage in fertilization. A lot of embryos are stored or thrown leaving people out of luck who suffer from diseases. In addition to the other issues, another one is are scientists/engineers willing to destroy a life to save one. To determine whether not using embryonic stem cells you must determine if it justified and you using them for good means.

5. The moral principles involved in this situation is whether you believe it is okay to do an embryonic stem cell organ transplant. The values involved in this situation are whether you value the embryo more or the patient’s health. The company and the other engineers agree with embryonic stem cell organ transplant value the patient’s health more and are very ecstatic about the treatment. I am not thrilled about the treatment as I am worried about the patient’s life. This is guiding the company to go forward with the treatment and I am swaying from the clinic trial because the patient’s health is my main concern. The patient should not feel obligated to go through with this treatment because there is no guaranteed it will cure anything.

6. The ethical dilemma that is being created is whether it morally correct to use embryos and how successful the treatment will be. This ethical dilemma is a value conflict because there are two opposing views on using embryonic stem cell treatment. The values between the company and I are different which is causing opposing views on this clinical trial.

7. The utilitarianism theory of ethics is to not just maximize the well-being of a human but a whole society. This theory would be considered unethical because using it relies on knowing a great deal about the situation. In this situation, there is not that much information known about embryonic stem cells so the company is using a lot of intuition and guesswork which is risky. Also, using embryonic stem cells does not follow the moral rules of rules utilitarianism which is a branch of the theory. Rules utilitarianism recommends that obeying to moral rules will lead to the most good.

8. The theory of duty and rights ethics states that the intentions are good and respect the rights of a person. The actions towards an individual must maintain respect for that person and ethical. The basic rights can disagree between individuals and it is important to determine whose rights hold more importance. For this case, the rights of the patient hold priority over the rights of the company.

9. It is important to apply more than ethical problem to see whole picture of the situation. Gathering as much information about a situation allows you to make the best possible decision. Looking at a situation from two different perspective points lets you change the way to look at the situation.

10. First, I would ask the patient if they are willing to go through with the treatment even though the success rate is unknown. If the patient was going to go with the decision of the company, I think the fair ethical decision would be not to go through with clinical trial. There needs to be more research about embryonic stem cell and how they work during an organ transplant. I would always make sure that when using embryos that a life is not being taken. However, there will always be moral conflicts about whether using embryos is morally correct. Ultimately, there is too much controversy about using embryonic stem cells in 3D printed that it would not be ethically correct to use them.

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