Embryonic stem cells are special cells that differ from other kinds of cells in the human body. Under certain conditions, these cells can differentiate into diverse cell types and tissues. Research on the cells promises to treat some of the severe diseases; however a lot of research still needs to be done to achieve that. For better understanding, the thesis includes a short biological presentation of stem cells.
Research on embryonic stem cells can raise ethical issues, as after removal of the stem cells from the embryo, the embryo is destroyed. International documents and law regulations of some countries in principle do not define legal status of an embryo. The question what rights do embryos have and under what conditions remains open.
Based on law regulations of embryonic stem cells research in individual countries, three policy approaches were adopted: liberal, intermediate and restrictive policy. In the framework of these policies, the thesis presents legal situations of individual countries, with emphasis on Slovenian law.
International community plays an important role in research on embryonic stem cells, as it provides for ethically acceptable conduct of research, which it, in some cases, also finances. The thesis therefore also includes presentation of important international law documents.