The very latest development in the private stem cell storage industry is a US company offering the private storage of embryonic stem cells. This service is offered to people who have excess frozen human embryos stored in infertility clinics. Such embryos are thawed, embryonic stem cells extracted and the resultant cells re-frozen for possible later use by the clients.
On the face of it this might sound like a useful service but there are many objections to such a service including:
# Embryonic stem cells have no current clinical applications. There are no plans at all for clinical trials involving embryonic stem cells.
# The current technology for the derivation of embryonic stem cells will no doubt improve with time making derivation at this point in time potentially damaging
# Much more research is needed before there is any justification at all for such a service
# In the event that the clients need their frozen embryos (for example the death of a child) then this option will have been taken away from them and the creation of further new embryos might not be possible
# There are still many technical problems to be resolved not least the problem of cell stability and tumor formation by embryonic stem cells
# Current adult and cord blood stem cell technology is providing current therapy and clinical trials in regenerative medicine