National regulation on embryonic stem cell research in the European Union is ambiguous, due to a lack of consistent scientific terminology as exemplified by the Dutch Embryos Act. To force a breakthrough in this ethically dubious research topic, a more careful use of terminology would be in the interest of both the scientific community and the lawmakers, in order to avoid terminology becoming associated with research or applications for which it is inappropriate. Therefore I will first clarify the technological possibilities in an age of biological control. Secondly, we will critically analyse the statements of the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine concerning embryo research and cloning. The Convention prohibits human reproductive cloning but does not take a clear position on so-called therapeutic cloning. Finally, we will give an overview of the most recent legislative initiatives within the European Union on this matter.