Research on human embryonic stem (ES) cells holds great promise for the treatment of many diseases and conditions. However, research using these cells has generated much public controversy because isolation of human ES cell results in the destruction of preimplanted human embryos that are a few days old. The ethical debate is centered on the question of whether an embryo is a person. Scientific and technological advances are accompanied by evolving ethical viewpoints. It is important to educate and explore the issues surrounding these developments.
Research Ethics and Stem Cells Information and links on stem cell ethics from the National Institutes of Health.
Understanding Stem Cells Developed and published by the National Academy of Sciences, this free booklet (available as a 1.13 MB PDF, 24 pages) provides information on the ethical and legal issues surrounding stem cells.
Ethical and Social Issues Surrounding Stem Cell Research Ethics white papers produced by the Canadian Stem Cell Network.
Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research was provided by the National Academy of Sciences in 2005.
ISSCR Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Written by the International Society for Stem Cell Research, these principles for ES cell research were developed by scientific, ethical and legal experts from 14 countries.
ISSCR Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells highlight the scientific, clinical, regulatory, ethical, and social issues that should be addressed so that basic stem cell research is responsibly translated into appropriate clinical applications for treating patients. The Guidelines offer recommendations founded on general principles for scientific, clinical, and ethical conduct that should be followed by all translational stem cell researchers, clinician-scientists, and regulators in the international community.
Embryonic stem cell research: an ethical dilemma A discussion of the ethical issues surrounding human ES cells form EuroStemCell.
Human Genome Organization (HUGO) In 2004, the Ethics Committee released its Statement on Stem Cells which encourages respect for differing personal and religious beliefs on the status of the human embryo.