Human embryonic stem (hES) cells represent a potential source for cell replacement therapy of many degenerative diseases. Most frequently, hES cell lines are derived from surplus embryos from assisted reproduction cycles, independent of their quality or morphology. Here, we show that hES cell lines can be obtained from poor-quality blastocysts with the same efficiency as that obtained from good- or intermediate-quality blastocysts. Furthermore, we show that the self-renewal, pluripotency, and differentiation ability of hES cell lines derived from either source are comparable. Finally, we present a simple and reproducible embryoid body-based protocol for the differentiation of hES cells into functional cardiomyocytes. The five new hES cell lines derived here should widen the spectrum of available resources for investigating the biology of hES cells and advancing toward efficient strategies of regenerative medicine.