Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Ethics of embryonic stem cell research in Ireland

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 13:08 authored by Kevin Molloy, David SmithDavid Smith

“The thing that I want more, though, is to be able to put my arms around him. That’s what he’s entitled to ... and I believe that day is coming.” (Christopher Reeve)

These moving words from the late Christopher Reeve echo in the hearts of all those affected by a spinal cord injury (SCI). Reeve was paralysed at 43 years of age following an equestrian accident. He was a formidable advocate for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. In Ireland, SCI has an incidence of 50 per year and over 1,200 people are currently living with this disability. hESC research provides enormous hope for those desperately seeking a cure for this devastating injury; however, within such a dream lies one of the biggest ethical dilemmas of our time. It has been said that no field of biological science has been more controversial than that involving human reproduction. Contraception, abortion and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) have provoked enormous public debate in Ireland. We now face another controversy involving human reproduction: hESC research. This article will evaluate the most important ethical issues surrounding this subject. An ethical consideration of hESC research involves the disciplines of science, medicine, philosophy, theology, law and politics, and an integrated interdisciplinary approach between these fields is needed in order to legitimately appraise the concerns relating to this research.



The original article is available at Part of the RCSIsmj collection 2007-8

Published Citation

Molloy K, Smith D. Ethics of embryonic stem cell research in Ireland. RCSIsmj. 2008;1(1):73-76

Publication Date



  • Undergraduate Research
  • General Practice


RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences


  • Published Version (Version of Record)