Italian doctor claims to have cloned three healthy babies
Dr. Severino Antinori came forward on Tuesday to announce that he had cloned three children. He didn’t offer any proof. He did not disclose the identity of any of the children. However, he did give their ages and gender. “It involved two boys and a girl who are nine years old today,” said the doctor. “They were born healthy and they are in excellent health now.”
The prominent Italian gynecologist says he achieved–nearly a decade ago–what no other doctor has been able to do since. But he kept it a secret for the sake of the family’s privacy. “I helped give birth to three children with the human cloning technique,” Antinori told Oggi weekly in an interview (which will run Wednesday).
To the reporter’s reminder that human cloning is not only illegal in Italy, but is considered immoral by most of the Catholic population, Dr. Antinori said that it was a matter of semantics. He actually wants people to call his methods “innovative therapies” or “genetic recoding.” But, in the words of former president Bush, call it a banana if you want to. It’s still cloning, if he actually did it.
Antinori claims that the women’s husbands were all sterile. He fertilized their eggs with their fathers’ cells in a laboratory through “nuclear
transfer.” It was similar to the way Dolly the sheep was cloned 13 years ago–but new and improved.
Two weeks ago, Antinori told the world that he was going to help a woman whose husband is in a coma conceive a child. But even that was not the first of his controversial announcements. Fifteen years ago, Antinori helped a 63-year old woman get pregnant and have a child. Sometimes these things happen naturally, but the mother was post-menopausal.
What do I think of these three events? Wrong, wrong, and…liar! A woman who has gone through menopause should not be messing with her body to do something it told her she was too old to do. A man in a coma is a sad thing. I’m sorry that woman and her husband did not have the children she wanted. But he isn’t able to consent to the conception, nor will he be capable of raising the child. So I think it is only for selfish reasons that this woman wants a baby. Maybe she is having emotional difficulty dealing with her husband’s irreversible condition and is hoping a baby will help.
Finally, I don’t believe this guy really cloned three kids. If so, why would he just one day decide to tell us about it without any proof? But if he had done it, I’m not sure it’s the big deal everyone says. I mean, the additional implications are scary, but the fact of creating an embryo through cloning isn’t much different to me than other types of in vitro fertilization. I could be convinced otherwise, I think.
What do you think of this guy?