A brief outline of stem cells, stem cell therapy and therapeutic cloning is given. The position of therapeutic cloning with regard to other embryonic manipulations – IVF-based reproduction, embryonic stem formation from IVF embryos and reproductive cloning – is indicated. The main ethically challenging stages in therapeutic cloning are considered to be the nuclear transfer process including the source of eggs for this and the destruction of an embryo to provide stem cells for therapeutic use. The extremely polarised nature of the debate regarding the status of an early human embryo is noted, and some potential alternative strategies for preparing immunocompatible pluripotent stem cells are indicated.
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