The term stem cell most commonly refers to embryonic stem cells, particularly in the lay media; however, it also describes other cell types. A stem cell represents a cell of multi-lineage potential with the ability for self-renewal. It is now clear that the plasticity and immortality of a given stem cell will depend on what type of stem cell it is, whether an embryonic stem cell, a fetal-placental stem cell or an adult stem cell. Stem cells offer great promise as cell-based therapies for the future. With evolving technology, much of the socio-political debate regarding stem cells can now be avoided.