Few scientific issues today are as potentially promising and simultaneously controversial as stem cell research. Human stem cell research is a rapidly evolving field of research that holds out the promise of treating a variety of debilitating diseases. Although stem cell research is on the cutting edge of biological science, the field is still in its infancy. Nonetheless, the pace at which developments are occurring is breathtaking and many predict that adult and embryonic stem cell therapies might only be a decade away. These developments require that the legal and ethical issues associated with this research are addressed and articulated both at a national and international level. Creating sound public policy on such a scientifically complex and ethically fraught area requires people to be adequately informed.