Stem cell research for medical purposes is okay, says Jakim

Stem cell research for medical purposes is okay, says Jakim

Kuala Lumpur: Despite numerous religious debates on therapeutic cloning and stem cell research, the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) on Thursday stated that when it was done for medical purposes, this form of treatment was actually encouraged.

A press statement issued by Jakim Thursday said following the 67th National Council Fatwa meeting on Feb 22, it was decided that medical treatment which replaces and recreates damaged cells and organs was encouraged as these were meant for the well-being of the people.

"It is encouraged to use frozen or leftover embryos from in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) for research purposes, with the condition that the couple's consent is obtained before the embryos reach a blastocyst stage.

"The main purpose of the therapeutic cloning is to save a human life; it produces non-foetal stem cells.

"For Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer, the stem cells are taken from the embryo to obtain tissues or organs meant to treat the patients that provide DNA."

The statement added that research carried out on embryos must be done before it reaches a stage where the foetus is attached to the uterus wall as at any point prior to that, the embryo can feel no pain.

"This is similar to the fatwa issued by Singapore's Islamic Council which stated that any cloning process done to produce spare organs for medical or research purposes is encouraged. The field is still in the research phase, but may be realised in future as it would greatly benefit those who suffer from heart or kidney problems.

"These methods are meant for the well-being of the people."

Meanwhile, the Government, through the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), has allocated RM468 million this year to pay for the allowances of religious teachers, imams and district mosque administration coordinators throughout the country.

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Stem cell research for medical purposes is okay, says Jakim

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