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Reproductive Cloning: They Want to Make a Baby

Although therapeutic cloning seeks only to generate cells identical to a patient's that can be used to treat disease, several groups around the world have announced their intention to clone babies

Panos Zavos and Severino Antinori. Zavos is a professor of reproductive physiology at the University of Kentucky and co-founder of a fertility clinic in Lexington; Antinori is director of a Rome-based fertility clinic. Both have reputations as renegades: Antinori has helped many post-menopausal women become pregnant, including at least one woman who gave birth in her 60s. At a conference on human cloning at the National Academy of Sciences last August, Zavos said that he and Antinori would work to help couples in which the man did not produce viable sperm reproduce via cloning. The two announced they would have pregnancies by the end of this year. Their claim is credible: both have extensive expertise in fertility and access to potentially interested couples.

Clonaid/The Ra¿lians. The Ra¿lians are a religious group that believes that humans descended from extraterrestrials and that cloning can make people immortal. They have formed a company called Clonaid, whose efforts are led by Brigitte Boisselier, a chemist. Boisselier told the National Academy meeting last August that Clonaid had hundreds of women willing to contribute eggs for use in cloning¿an important first step toward success. She argued that people should have the liberty to reproduce how they want, whether by combining their genetic material with another person's through sex or in vitro fertilization or by using only their own genetic material to create a clone.

Richard G. Seed. A physicist with an interest in embryology based near Chicago, Seed has been an advocate of cloning to treat severe infertility as well as to "replace a lost loved one with a twin." He claims he will have three pregnancies before 2002. He is known to have attracted a skilled reproductive scientist from China to aid in his efforts, but he does not appear to have the other resources he would need to succeed.


Back to The First Human Cloned Embryo

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