The accelerating pace of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research has created an urgent need for the development of hESC registries, information repositories intended to gather, organize and disseminate hESC information. Although of enormous value to this evolving field, registries face significant challenges to their development. These challenges include addressing the legal and ethical issues surrounding hESC derivation as well as complex intellectual property concerns. In addition to these issues, registries must develop tools to efficiently gather, validate and present many different types of hESC information from a variety of sources. Given the pace and regulatory complexities of this field, it is important that registries develop cooperative mechanisms to avoid duplication and more efficiently support hESC research.