At the risk of spending too much time blogging....
Science News notes two techniques designed to side-step ethical concerns in obtaining embryonic stem cells: Do No Harm: Stem cells created without destroying healthy embryos (Week of Oct. 22, 2005; Vol. 168, No. 17 , p. 259)
The first plucks a single cell from an eight-cell blastocyst (early embryo) as they do in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. The other (about which I've written before) creates embryonic clones (from somatic cells), but missing a gene essential to implantation.
Perhaps you've already realized that neither of these techniques effectively avoid the core moral objections to embryonic stem cells (aside from the first's reliance on IVF). As the article notes,
Although these methods may ease ethical concerns for some people, others may view them as just "a new version of embryo destruction," says Alta Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She notes that research hasn't ruled out the possibility that a single cell plucked from an early embryo, as in Lanza's work, can form a new embryo. Furthermore, some people may view the abnormal clumps of cells missing cdx2 in the Meissner-Jaenisch study as "terminally ill" embryos rather than just masses of cells.
Science News deserves credit for exploring the ethical issues, and these researchers deserve credit for trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to resolve the ethical problems with embryonic stem cells.
I'm still beginning my study of the biochemistry of cellular determination (in early development), so this is just me thinking out loud: it seems to me that it should be possible in principle to grow embryonic clones in a chemical environment that makes them "think" they should become part of an individual, instead of a full individual. So far I can't any problem (ethical or technical) with this approach, though my gut reaction is that it's just too easy not to have some invisible difficulty.