The whole stem cell thing is a bit beyond my scope of logic. I have pretty clear emotional responses, but I could easily argue either way on the use of "spare" embryos for research. On the one hand, I'm against the creation of embryos for the sole purpose of testing; on the other, many embryos that are currently "on ice" will never be used for anything and could potentially save many lives.
At any rate, all the heartache and hoopla over embryonic stem cell testing may well be a thing of the past - a new paper has been published in Nature that demonstrates you can have your cake and eat it, too:
The implications of this, if true, are amazing. For one, they could keep a few "master cells" from each baby on ice somewhere. Later, if that baby suffered from debilitating diseases that involve damage to cells adults cannot regenerate, they could actually culture and replace those cells. This could effectively end diseases such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, as well as potentially heal people with spinal damage.
Now a team at Advanced Cell Technology - a private company - has found that it is possible to create human stem cells using one or two cells from an early embryo, without doing any damage to the embryo.
Also, new embryos could have one or two of the cells harvested before the embryo is inserted to the mother. This basically opens the door for all the good of embryonic stem cell research (embryonic stem cells are much "better" for research than adult stem cells because they have the potential to create any type of cell whereas adult stem cells are more limited) with none of the bad, namely, destroying life to help life.
Perhaps this will lift some of the ethical concerns of many folks out there. Hopefully we can use this exciting new science to save lives.