The discovery of stem cells particularly embryonic stem cells with its possible clinical application has generated great curiosity amongst medical professionals and general public. Embryonic stem cell research has become a challenging issue for biomedical scientists, policy makers and regulatory bodies. The key controversial issue is the determination of moral and legal status of the embryo as embryo stem cell research involves retrieving embryonic tissue from spare embryos leading to their destruction. This embryo that has the full capacity to develop into a human being is sacrificed for the benefit of others. Global regulations monitoring stem cell research are also troubled with similar ethical and moral issues associated with it. The main source of embryonic tissue is the spare or supernumerary embryos created during infertility treatment by artificial reproductive techniques (ART). Sadly, in absence of regulatory provisions to govern them, the field of ART is open for all forms of medical malpraxis bearing direct implications on embryonic stem cell research. This article is an attempt to seek clarity on the concept of embryonic stem cell research and contentious issues associated with it.
This is a non-doctrinal study. The researcher has depended on both primary and secondary data. Random sampling has been used to collect the primary data which has been analysed using Frequencies, Chi-Square test and Crosstab method. Secondary data like books, websites, journals and case laws have also been referred to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach towards the study.