This paper analyses the status of the embryo in Canadian law. First, a brief overview of some ethical issues raised by research with embryos, focusing on the moral status of the embryo, is presented. A survey of the regulatory framework applicable to embryo research in Canada follows, so as to delineate the legal status of the embryo in Canada and its ethical underpinnings. A summary of applicable regulation in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States is also undertaken, illustrating the lack of consensus on this issue in Western countries. Finally, recent developments in stem cell research are considered, focusing on current alternatives to embryo destruction.