My daughter has cystic fibrosis, and I fundraise for research to find a cure because I want my daughter to live a long life. But through the last three years of fundraising I have been a bit nervous about one thing – stem cell research. I know the CF Foundation is focused on medications, and since that’s where all of my money goes, I feel confident knowing that none of my hard-earned cash is being poured into using stem cells from aborted babies to try to cure my daughter. But what I have been really nervous about is whether or not a cure would come from any other researchers who are using stem cells from aborted babies to cure CF. Would I allow that cure to be used on my daughter?
Some would argue that the babies are already dead, and I would be giving purpose to their short lives by allowing them to save my daughter. But what if that cure meant that my daughter would have to continually receive stem cells from aborted babies? It was a question I didn’t want to even consider – that her survival might depend on the slaughtering of innocent children. What person could carry that through her life and be okay?
And then I read the recent headline from HarvardScience: Big advance against cystic fibrosis – Stem cell researchers create lung surface tissue in a dish. I felt nauseous, but I clicked on the link and began to read. And then I rejoiced. Thank God that once again, science has proven that adult cells – in this case, skin cells of CF patients – are the stem cells that are truly helping people who battle health issues, and now they may help my daughter. My fears have been squashed and my hope renewed. From the article:
Beginning with the skin cells of patients with CF, Jayaraj Rajagopal and colleagues first created induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and then used those cells to create human disease-specific functioning lung epithelium, the tissue that lines the airways and is the site of the most lethal aspect of CF, where the genes cause irreversible lung disease and inexorable respiratory failure.
Scientists will now use those stem cells to test drugs that will possibly treat and hopefully cure CF. Imagine the possibilities this creates for all genetic conditions, and no babies had to sacrifice their lives in the process.
Perhaps one day my daughter will be blessed to receive the gift of new life from a person who chose to donate his lungs upon his death. That would be an amazing gift of love and life. Or perhaps one day her own cells will be the ones to save her. But for today, I am thrilled and confident that my daughter’s health and life will never depend on the murder of innocent children. And I hope that every unexpectedly expecting mother, as well as every parent of a child with a special health need, learns that even in the darkest hour, there is hope.