Abstract: Many medical-ethics advisory boards have concluded that human embryonic stem cell research can be conducted in an ethical manner. Yet, almost all the recommendations of the ethics advisory boards have included a rather obscure requirement: the embryos that are to be destroyed for stem cell research must be treated with profound respect. In none of these recommendations, however, do we see an adequate explanation of what proper respect for human embryos actually entails. In this essay I argue that showing proper respect for human embryos, on the one hand, and simultaneously destroying them for stem cell research, on the other hand, are not mutually exclusive. In addition, I maintain that given current U.S. in vitro fertilization practices, which deliberately produce more embryos than will be implanted, proper respect for surplus embryos requires their use in embryonic stem cell research.