From July 2002 to May 2008, 36 applications for the import and use of human embryonic stem cells (hES) were reviewed by the German Central Ethics Committee for Stem Cell Research (ZES). A flood of applications anticipated by opponents to human embryonic stem cell research has not occurred since the enactment of the German Stem Cell Act in 2002. On the contrary, German hES cell research is below international average in terms of project numbers. The current restrictions for using hES cells in Germany might be causative for the opinion that this type of research is not considered to be very promising. This could hold true especially for research aiming at clinical applications. Consequently, potential research goals of premium importance, especially those of potential clinical relevance, could be seriously jeopardized.