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Research on the early human embryo has long been recognized as essential to progress in a host of biomedical areas from reproductive medicine to the treatment of pediatric cancers. Now, with the possibility of stem cell research and cell replacement therapies, embryo research holds out the promise of cures for many serious disease conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Despite its importance, however, human embryo research has met powerful opposition. Drawing on his experience as a member of the NIH’s Human Embryo Research Panel, Green offers a first-hand account of the embryo research debates. In telling this story, he periodically pauses to reflect on some of the leading philosophical challenges posed by embryo research and new interventions at the start of life. Among the questions he examines are: What is the impact of new biological information on our thinking about life’s beginning? May parents risk injuring a child in order to have it? What role should religion play in shaping biomedical policy in a controversial area like this? This is a fascinating insider’s account of one of the most important, if unsuccessful, recent efforts to come to terms with a controversial area of scientific research.