During a recent biology class discussion about the possible curative effects of fetal tissue and embryonic stem cell research for many diseases, my 9th grader was asked along with the rest of the class if anyone questioned the ethics of such research. He along with one other student raised their hands. This was in a class of around 30 students. I asked him if the teacher gave him an opportunity to explain why and he nodded in the affirmative as he finished off a basket of tortilla chips.
Allow me to pause for a minute to say that this is what happens when a father asks his child what happened in school today while grabbing a quick bite at the Monterrey’s in Greer. I wasn’t quite prepared to delve into a subject laden with such indigestion possibilities especially considering what I had ordered to eat, but I forged ahead and asked him what he said in class. Considering that my son would personally benefit from future hemophilia treatments based upon this research as would I with any Parkinson’s treatments, his answer was remarkable.
He observed that it was possible that if had different parents that it could have been him that would been the sacrificial embryo or fetus. In other words, he could have just as easily been the victim rather than the beneficiary of such research.
As I looked at him with a mixture of pride and wonder at his reasoning ability, I thought back to a question that his mother and I had been asked after our first son had passed away from hemophilia complications. We were asked why we had chosen to have another son with hemophilia. Had we not been given adequate genetic counseling? Did we not understand that we had a choice?
Of course, we understood that we had a choice and the son that sat across from me happily munching through his second basket of chips was the living proof that we had made the right choice.