Embryonic Cells, No Embryo Needed: Hunting for Ways Out of an Impasse - New York Times: "'Virtually everyone in the stem cell field is interested in this,' Dr. Grompe said. 'Some feel it's the only ethical way. Others feel it is the only practical way.' All agree there has been an ethical impasse.
On one side are those like Dr. Grompe who say human life is a continuum that begins with a fertilized egg. A human embryo, however early, is human life, he says, and he finds it unacceptable to destroy human embryos to extract their stem cells. The end cannot justify the means.
In the middle are those like Dr. Daley. He says human embryos have 'a unique moral status' that should be respected. 'There's a significant weight to the decision to use human embryos,' he says. But, he adds, using human embryo stem cells to find ways to relieve human suffering 'pays respect to their unique moral status.' And, he says, 'I fully accept the ethical tradeoff.'
Yet another group, which includes Dr. Jaenisch, says that for them there is no means-end calculus. Early embryos, they say, are simply microscopic balls of cells with no particular moral status. They have no body parts, they look nothing like a fetus, and most die anyway when they are implanted in women. For them, embryonic stem cell research poses no ethical issue.
And that impasse has led to a search for other ways of getting these precious cells."