C. Ward Kischer, Ph.D. is an emeritus professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy, specialty in Human Embryology, University of Arizona, College of Medicine. He is also Chairman of The American Bioethics Advisory Commission and adult stem cell researcher.
6249 Camino Miraval
Tucson, Arizona, 85718
Daytime phone no. : 520 - 299 - 0521
Over the years I have usually given a copy of my articles to a friend of mine whose life profession has been that of a salesperson. After reading my last article [Have They Never Heard Of Human Embryology?] he asked me: "Why don't these people cite Human Embryology when they write about life issues?". My reply: "Because if they did, the game is over", which is to say they would be acknowledging that the new individual human life begins at first contact of the sperm with the oocyte; that pregnancy begins at that precise moment; that at that moment a new human life is not a part of the mother but a new human being; that the fate of that new human being is not couched in reproductive rights of the mother; that abortion kills that new individual human life; that embryonic cells are not embryonic stem cells; that the new individual human life is not "potential" but real.
Date posted: 2012-04-29
The science of Human Embryology has been around for more than 100 years. It embodies profound principles: 1. when human life begins; 2. the continuum of human life; 3. the origin of stem cells; 4. how cells build tissues; 5. how tissues form the human body; 6. pregnancy, and 7. birth defects. Yet, for the last 40 years, those writing about those principles, have been lawyers, clergy, social workers and developmental biologists. They arbitrarily have modified those principles to validate contemporary social issues. Virtually none of them have referenced any textbooks or articles on Human Embryology. Unfortunately, most of them have behaved like carnival barkers.
Date posted: 2011-08-25
Amendment 62 will appear on the 2010 state ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure is being supported by Colorado Personhood, a local branch of Personhood USA. The 2010 version defines a person as "every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being". That statement [Amendment no. 62] is being challenged by the Colorado Medical Society and the Colorado Section of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [ACOG]. Below is a letter I have written to the Colorado Senate President in support of Amendment no. 62.
Date posted: 2010-09-26
A human embryo is a human being - not just a "cell" or a "bunch of cells"; not an "egg", and not a "pre-embryo". Yet it has been implied, even by the Attorney General of the State of California that this youngest of human beings is not a human being, but just "an egg", or just "a fertilized egg". This claim is not only ridiculous; it is also perpetrating erroneous and false science.
Date posted: 2010-06-12
The top several human embryologists in the world are authors of Human Embryology textbooks. It is understandable that they do not want to engage in polemics for fear of hurting their book sales. However, the amount of fake science being foisted on the public is reaching crisis proportion. These authors must now speak out and bring reason and truth back into the public discourse. In 1989 I predicted that Human Embryology would be rewritten according to political correctness. My prediction has come true. Babel has come to the world of science, and, in particular, to the world of Human Embryology.
Date posted: 2010-04-27
International agreement and documentation by the experts in human embryology and human molecular genetics make the following perfectly clear. The new single-cell human embryo formed sexually at the beginning of the process of fertilization (when the sperm makes first contact with the oocyte) is a new living human being. The new human embryo formed asexually by various natural or artificial reproductive techniques (such as one of every two identical twins) is a new living human being.† They are not "eggs".
Date posted: 2010-01-30
The following responses to Dr. Maureen Condic's "science" presented in her interview on "when human life begins" with the National Catholic Register were written independently, and sent to the NCR and related others. They are copied here as sent. Such overtly erroneous "science" could be used to "justify" human cloning, human embryonic stem cell research, human reproductive genetic engineering, the use of abortifacients - whether the early human embryo is sexually or asexually reproduced, in vivo or in vitro. Such erroneous "science" needs to be identified, especially for those with little or no scientific background. Dr. Condic's interview follows at the end.
Date posted: 2010-01-06
...Where has respect for the recognition of human life gone? What will it take to get the O'Reillys, the Hatchs, the Hendrixs, the Baltimores, the Turleys, and the Sunsteins, to recognize the long established objective scientific facts of Human Embryology? These are the people who are refractive to the truth, and they do not bother to consult the basics of scientific truth, which have been and are readily available. The only conclusion we can draw is that they prefer to insult the collective intelligence of science by elevating political correctness over and above the objective truth. But, sooner or later such political correctness will backfire - on all of us.
Date posted: 2009-10-23
The shame of Notre Dame will not be easily forgotten. I watched President Obama's address on Sunday and listened closely to his remarks on abortion. He said: "This heart rending decision is not made casually." ... Negative! I have been to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, and I have been to a Crisis Pregnancy Center. I have seen those who come for D & Cs, and for tests. Indeed, most know what they want and they want it now. Recreational sexual intercourse leads to recreational abortion.
Date posted: 2009-05-20
Abstract: Stem cells and embryonic stem cells, presently, are two of the most popular terms in scientific journals and in lay publications. They are two different types of cells, but are often confused so as to imply they are the same cell. However, their origins are different and their courses of action are different. Claims have also been made that early human blastomeres, for example, cells of the inner cell mass, are, in fact, stem cells. They are not. In this review we show that 1. embryonic stem cells and stem cells are not the same, and 2. human embryonic blastomeres are not stem cells.
Date posted: 2009-04-25
There are stem cells, and then there are embryonic stem cells. The two are not the same. They are quite different. The former have always been part of the body tissues; the latter are, essentially, synthetic, so to speak; that is, man-made. Unfortunately, the claim has been made that the ICM, or even earlier blastomeres, are actually "embryonic stem cells", and a New York Times issue on Health of 28 March, 2008 declares: "Stem cells are how we all begin." Furthermore, a review of "Stem Cell Research", published by RD Systems, states: ". . stem cells can only be defined functionally, not morphologically or phenotypically". Not only are such definitions confusing, but they are incorrect. This terminology conflicts with what has previously been known about the early human embryo and what is known about stem cells.
Date posted: 2008-04-24
The promotion of using early human embryos as "stem cells" or to obtain so-called "stem cells" has led to the public debate over obtaining these wrongfully labeled blastomeres by killing human embryos; in fact, killing human life. Thus, to buttress the arguments for using early human blastomeres, for example, the many spare embryos preserved in IVF laboratories, stem cell research advocates have reduced the significance and value of human life to somewhat ridiculous levels, such as the small size of the early human embryo, or, as some pundits claim, that life does not exist unless the embryo is implanted in the uterus. Such claims have no scientific merit..... The tenets of human embryology should be publicly endorsed. Political parsing of those tenets has been rampant and happening all too frequently for many years. But that is separate and apart from the scientific truths which are taught to all of our medical students by lecture and text. It is time to reclaim those tenets before it becomes too late."
Date posted: 2007-10-16
This is how moral relevance works: The proponent picks out an issue, then asks: Who is to say what are facts or what is true, given the rights of the powerful to construct their own narratives and call the result history? [After all, its premise is that everyone has their own set of morals]. Through tricks of language, or parsing, new 'facts' are manufactured. We look at those and are amused at how bizarre and incredible they are; but, correcting them is next to impossible because we don't have the resources or the connections, meaning, of course, the mainstream media. We know they are absurd but tend to leave it to others to 'right the wrongs'. We should not. It takes a concentrated effort by many, and to that end I call upon those interested in the integrity of life issues, and of Human Embryology, indeed, all who want the truth to prevail, to correct that which is wrong.
Date posted: 2007-05-19
The history of science records certain events which have seriously impeded the search for truth. That is what science is: the search for truth. Sometimes the truth is obscured due to lack of information, or the means by which to measure; but, at other times, due to deliberate falsehoods. Alexander Kohn said it precisely: "The whole edifice of science is built upon honesty".
Date posted: 2007-03-02
First things first. Fertilization of a woman's egg [I hate that term; it should be - oocyte] by a sperm causes pregnancy. The optimal place where fertilization takes place is in the upper third of the fallopian [uterine] tube. Let there be no mistake about it: pregnancy begins with the fusion of the sperm and the egg [see Carlson, Bruce M. 1994. Human Embryology and Developmental Biology. Page 3. Mosby, St. Louis.]. It is NOT at implantation, in spite of what Planned Parenthood and others may claim. This is because the developing embryo takes about 5 to 6 days before getting to the uterus, where it will implant. All the while, development of the new individual human being is taking place.
Date posted: 2006-12-21
Plan B is a synthetic hormone, a progestin called Levonorgestrel, more concentrated than when used as a birth control pill. It may prevent ovulation, fertilization or implantation.
Date posted: 2006-11-17
Jonathan Turley is a lawyer and a Professor of Constitutional Law at George Washington University. He is frequently a guest on television news talk shows and contributes to analyses and discussions about legal isssues. But, he has written an opinion essay on stem cell research, where he is clearly out of his element... his mistakes reveal a shallow understanding of the basic Human Embryology, which is not altogether uncommon when a politico like Turley, who is long on reputation, but short on knowledge, attempts to beguile a general readership.
Date posted: 2006-08-09
The objections to human embryonic stem cell research (hescr) lie in the fact that to obtain the so - called "stem cells" destroys the embryo, and, thus, human life. This is predicated on the known scientific fact that human life begins, by sexual reproduction, with fertilization, or, by asexual reproduction, when a cloning procedure would be used. To avoid the moral problem of destroying human life, Professor William B. Hurlbut, a member of The President's Council on Bioethics, has proposed a rather novel approach by altering a gene, which, according to him, would redefine the initiation of human life. To fully understand Hurlbut's idea we must first cite some preliminary studies which have been made in mice.
Date posted: 2006-07-09
The term "stem cell" has its origin in either histology or histopathology.cIn histology it has been known for decades, but by the terms "reparative cell" or "regenerative cell". The term "stem cell", per se, probably arose from histopathology, and was first identified in peripheral blood and bone marrow. The cell identified was believed to be the precursor to all of the blood cell types (please see: "Research On Stem Cells", Kischer, C.W., this website).
Date posted: 2006-07-09
There is a plague upon us. It is constant and unrelenting, and its victims are dispersed from coast to coast (a lesser number world-wide). Through no fault of their own, they are permanently disabled. They never can be cured. These are the victims of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). This is one of the most unforgiving tragedies of our time. Lesser effects of alcohol poisoning are grouped into Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). Those suffering from FAS constitute a subclass of human beings who can never function as normal. But, the greater tragedy is that their condition is 100% preventable. FAS is a social problem, to be sure; but, scientifically, it presents a major problem in Human Embryology.
Date posted: 2006-06-20
The wording in the report on which he wished me to comment was the following: "At this time, human stem cells can be derived from, among other sources, human fetal tissue following an elective abortion, and human embryos that are created by in vitro fertilization that are no longer needed by couples being treated for infertility."
Date posted: 2005-08-20
On Sunday, 10 July, 2005, Parade magazine published a major article promoting human embryonic stem cell research. It is a classic example of bad propaganda. It is clear that the author, Micah Morrison, has never consulted a human embryologist. The beat goes on. Every complaint I have had, and still have, about the misuse of the proper terminology and facts of Human Embryology, can be repeated for the content of Morrison's article.
Date posted: 2005-08-10
In 2004 I became aware of a book published hy the ACOG, authored by the ACOG Committee on Ethics, which contained a chapter entitled: "Preembryo Research". Finding objections to the content of this chapter, I wrote the following letter with my comments about the "preembryo " to Dr. Stanley Zinberg, identified as the Deputy Vice President of the ACOG.
Date posted: 2005-07-17
The world of politics has finally corrupted the world of science. I invite everyone to reread my essay: "The American Association of Anatomists and Stem Cell Research" posted on this website. It is a testimony to the problems in stem cell research, and, a criticism of the use of human embryos, produced sexually, or, by using cloning techniques, in human embryonic stem cell research [hesc]. This current article details what happened to that original essay and a reflection of the continuing treatment of science by the mainstream media, and similar problems even within the scientific community.
Date posted: 2005-07-17
Attorney R. Martin Palmer, Hagerstown, Maryland, contacted me on 4 October, 2004 relative to oral arguments before the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in the case of Mary Doe, et al. v. Donna Shalala (C.A. No. PJM-99-2428). Attorney Palmer is the Counselor of record for Mary Doe, a frozen "spare" embryo. He wished to have clarification of a statement from the NBAC (National Bioethics Advisory Commission) "Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research, Executive Summary" (September, 1999) ("NBAC Report").
Date posted: 2005-07-17
This article proceeds to declare presumed Myths followed by presumed Facts and discussion. What it does is to erect straw men in the form of Myths, which, presumably, are supposed to be charges proffered by prolife advocates. This is followed by so - called Facts, which in reality are distortions, falsehoods and half-truths. Looking at this website selection as a Human Embryologist, I decided that the several errors included in this site ought to be challenged and corrected. Thus, what follows are statements within this option on the Website which I have included in bold, followed by my commentaries.
Date posted: 2005-03-08
One of the emerging truths of the 1990s is the admission that our country is in a profound moral decline. More precisely, as many political analysts have said: "We are in a cultural war"! We contend that the first and greatest casualty in this war has been and continues to be the human embryo and fetus. This is The Third Holocaust. The status of both embryo and fetus has been arbitrarily reduced to that of a non-person, one of the new "Untermenschen".
Date posted: 2005-01-03
In 1973 Roe v. Wade was adjudicated by the Supreme Court. This landmark decision proved to be the watershed between science and the law. Statements made within the decision, and since, concerning human development, have been disingenuous, irresponsible or deliberately deceitful. One would like to believe that Supreme Court Justices, acting as learned and wise servants of our society, exercise great and considerate care in making decisions that not only affect our daily lives, but impact the evolution of our culture in the most moral and responsible way. We also want to believe they seek out all available facts concerning a case before coming to decisions. Alas, such is not the case.
Date posted: 2004-12-25
Science should be revealed and evaluated by public exposure. But, when science, more specifically, human development, is being reinvented, it must be subject to analysis and critique by scientists who know the subject, so that the public might be properly informed to evaluate that science, lest it become politicized. Without proper dialogue, public policy could be changed or invoked to dramatically affect our societal evolution, and this has already occurred.
Date posted: 2004-12-04
Clearly, there is a major problem. The public knows little about Human Embryology, although some ignorant writers think they know more than they actually show. If these writers would make even a little effort and seek basic information, much of the problem would be relieved. It is not going to be solved by seeking out political analysts, politicians and ethicists.
Date posted: 2004-10-03
Since Roe v. Wade, adjudicated in 1973, the public interest in human embryology has markedly increased. Unfortunately, those supplying the "information" about Human Embryology have been political analysts, newswriters, bioethicists and theologists, few of whom have bothered to consult human embryologists for accurate information. As a consequence more misinformation, misrepresentations and outright lies about Human Embryology have found their way into the public discourse than ever before in our history.
Date posted: 2004-09-17
Human embryology is now in danger of being rewritten as a stratagem statement of current socio-legal, but also of late, even theological, issues. Unless the errors are corrected now, we will be in danger of entering a protracted period of false concepts concerning our own development.
Date posted: 2004-09-08
Development is an integrated biological progression of events, involving each cell, tissue, organ and organ system, all dependent on their preceding events for any particular biological significance. If these events are of proper significance to policy formulation and law making in deciding whether the embryo or fetus may be disposed of with impunity, they must be considered "in toto" and in context of a "continuum". No point, time or stage of our development stands alone to the exclusion of all others to be judged relevant or irrelevant to any socio-legal consideration.
Date posted: 2004-09-04
Embryology is the study of development of the new individual from beginning to end. We should, therefore, be alerted as to what contemporary and renowned human embryologists have to say about the beginning of a new life and the beginning of the human being. ... In summary: The fertilized egg is a living entity, a human being, a human individual, and, a person, all one and inseparable.
Date posted: 2004-08-15
Defunct in the knowledge of true science their position reveals the origin of their claims: it is arrogance.
Date posted: 2004-08-14
The life of the new individual human being begins at fertilization (conception). It is significant to state that every human embryologist, world wide, knows this (it is not a belief), and it is so stated in virtually every textbook of human embryology. This was intuitively known before the invention of the microscope, understood through deductive reasoning since, and directly observed by IVF procedures several decades ago.
Date posted: 2003-04-10
Howard W. Jones, Jr., M.D has written an editorial in Fertility and Sterility (2002.77:658-659) entitled: "What is an embryo?" It is an outrageous effrontery to the science of Human Embryology. Jones manipulates and parses the language of this science into a very strange entanglement of meaning. This is the Jones who organized The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Norfolk, Virginia. Their current aim is to support therapeutic cloning of human embryos in order to acquire "stem cells".
Date posted: 2003-04-09
"It is quite clear that what was known more than 100 years ago, even intuitively before that, is that the fusion of sperm and oocyte begins the life of the new individual human being. In Human Embryology the terms understood to be integral in the common sense language are: <strong>human, being, person, individual, human being, life and human life</strong>. Unfortunately, every one of those terms has been parsed and corrupted to mean something it is not."
Date posted: 2003-04-07
The correct terminology has yet to be established for human embryonic "stem cell" research. At present, It is clear that the term "stem cell" is being used to define two different "potential" biologic states. But, few, apparently, are concerned with this. Thus, many researchers are lobbying for federal support for research on the human embryonic "stem cells" of the "inner cell mass".
Date posted: 2003-01-10
Too many scientists have called for "therapeutic" cloning, and for use of the "spare" embryos, without thinking through the several consequences, some of which could be devastating. For example, Humpherys, et al., have shown in mice that cloning by nuclear transfer is so inefficient that most clones die. Those that survive often display growth abnormalities. They also examined the embryonic stem cells and found their genome to be "extremely unstable".
Date posted: 2003-01-09
Abortion, partial birth abortion, in-vitro fertilization, human fetal research, human embryo research, cloning and stem cell research are all core issues of Human Embryology. Yet, in all of the Supreme Court cases since 1973 and at all of the Congressional hearings on these issues, no human embryologist has been called as a witness and no reference to Human Embryology has ever been made.
Date posted: 2003-01-02