Essay Example: The Difference Between Embryonic Stem Cells and Umbilical Stem Cells

Published: 2023-10-16
Essay Example: The Difference Between Embryonic Stem Cells and Umbilical Stem Cells
Essay type:  Compare and contrast
Categories:  Medicine Cancer Comparative literature
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 964 words
9 min read

Stem cells are construed as the raw materials-cells of the body where all other cells with specialized functions are generated. Under a laboratory’s or body’s right conditions, stem cells often divide to form daughter cells (Caulfield et al., 2010). As time progresses, the depicted daughter cells are self-renewed or become new stem cells or specialized cells through differentiation having a more specific function such as bone cells, heart muscle cells, brain cells, or blood cells. No other cell in the body can naturally generate new cell types. Moreover, stem cells can be used for research or therapy as they often help to increase understanding of how certain illnesses occur, test the effectiveness and safety of new drugs, and generate other healthy cells that can act as regenerative medicine (replace the diseased cells) (Servick, 2017). The paper, therefore, expounds on the difference between embryonic stem cells and umbilical stem cells, as well as the benefits and controversy between them.

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Support for Thesis 1

Embryonic stem cells originate from three to five days old embryos where they are referred to as blastocysts and have approximately 150 cells. They are pluripotent stem cells (ploo-RIP-uh-tunt), which implies that they can divide into numerous stem cells or become any type of body cell (Caulfield et al., 2010). The depicted versatility, thus, allows the embryonic stem cells to be effective in repairing or regenerating diseased organs and tissues. On the other hand, there are the umbilical stem cells which are slightly different from the embryonic stem cells.

Support for Thesis 2

The umbilical cord has numerous stem cells that can be stored and collected at birth, as well as used to treat more than 80 conditions and diseases. The umbilical stem cells are often shared between the baby and the mother during pregnancy, which makes them 100% match to the baby and 25% match to their siblings (Forraz & McGuckin, 2011). Additionally, the umbilical cord is known as the purest and richest source of stem cells. It contains mesenchymal stem cells and Haematopoietic stem cells which can transform into various tissues and cells such as muscle and nerve tissue, red and white blood cells (Forraz & McGuckin, 2011). The umbilical cord cells are also rich in CD34 and can be used for cell replacement and treatment of blood diseases found in the body as they are pain-free and completely non-invasive as opposed to the stem cells of the bone marrow apheresis that need hospitalization (Forraz & McGuckin, 2011). Nevertheless, at a low cost, the umbilical stem cells do not trigger an immune response as they have a minimal chance of giving a graft versus host infection. However, from the depicted facts regarding umbilical and embryonic stem cells, there are controversies and benefits of using the stem cells.

Support for Thesis 3

The embryonic stem cells are often retrieved from embryos at an early stage as the cells form when a woman’s egg is fertilized by sperm through in vitro fertilization. However, because the embryonic stem cells are removed from human embryos, numerous issues and questions have always been raised regarding embryonic stem cell research ethics. Also, doctors can perform transplants of different stem cells (bone marrow transplants) to help save lives of people from one origin like a mother and her child or a child and his siblings as there is always a 25% match (Caulfield et al., 2010).

In transplants of the stem cells, the damaged cells are replaced by disease or chemotherapy or act as a way for the immune system of the donor to fight some blood-related diseases such as multiple myeloma, neuroblastoma, lymphoma, and leukemia, as well as some types of cancer. The depicted transplants often use the blood from the umbilical cord. The action, thus, makes the umbilical stem cells to be the most ethical as umbilical cords are always thrown out after delivery (Forraz & McGuckin, 2011). Moreover, for the embryonic stem cell to be effective, researchers must always be sure that the stem cells will differentiate into the desired unique cell type as the embryonic stem cells often specialize or grow irregularly in various types of cells spontaneously.

An immune response might also be triggered by the embryonic stem cells making the stem cells be attacked as foreign invaders by the recipient’s body. Also, the embryonic stem cells might not function as required with unknown consequences when the immune response is triggered which might cause severe complications to the recipient’s body (Servick, 2017). Additionally, no other stem cells need the destruction of bodies. Therefore, understanding the facts behind umbilical and embryonic stem cells can expound on different researches that might help many people, especially, those who need transplants.


In conclusion, stem cells are raw materials-cells of the body where all other cells with specialized functions are generated. The embryonic and umbilical stem cells have been analyzed as well as their benefits and controversies to the human body. Before using the gene investigational drugs in people, doctors can utilize some types of stem cells to test the generated drugs for quality and safety by programming them into tissue-specific cells. The action might help cure various critical illnesses or complications such as Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, and cancer, to mention but a few, which are always difficult to treat that can help save lives.


Caulfield, T., Scott, C., Hyun, I., Lovell-Badge, R., Kato, K., & Zarzeczny, A. (2010). Stem Cell Research Policy and iPS cells. Nature Methods, 7(1), 28-33.

Forraz, N., & McGuckin, C. P. (2011). The Umbilical Cord: a rich and ethical stem cell source to advance regenerative medicine. Cell Proliferation, 44, 60-69.

Servick, K. (2017). The Stem Cell Skeptic. Science (New York, N.Y.), 357(6350), 441–443.

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