Notorious Doctor Admits Human Cloning Effort Failed, Won’t Say Why

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 4, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Notorious Doctor Admits Human Cloning Effort Failed, Won’t Say Why

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 4, 2004

Lexington, KY ( — Confirming what most people suspected, a Kentucky fertility specialist said his claim that a woman became pregnant by implanting a cloned human embryo inside of her is untrue. He would have been the world’s first doctor to have successfully implanted a human embryo in a woman’s womb.

Despite criticism from both pro-life groups and most scientists, Panayiotis Zavos says he will proceed with efforts to produce a cloned baby. He will continue to create cloned human embryos and attempt to implant them until he is successful. The research will result in the death of many unborn children, pro-life groups say.

"If we are not successful, we are going to try again and again and again until we get it,” Zavos said from his Lexington office.

Some scientists say Zavos was seeking publicity rather than attempting to advance science. He promised that his next announcement wouldn’t come until he had been successful.

"The next time that we announce anything … we would have a pregnancy," Zavos indicated.

Zavos had said in early January that he had taken an egg from a 35 year-old woman, replaced its nucleous with skin cells from her husband, and implanted the egg in her uterus. He would not say where the experiment took place or confirm any other details about it.

Zavos would not say what went wrong, only discussing the 20 to 30 percent success rate of in-vitro fertilization in general.

It took 277 attempts to produce the first cloned mammal, a sheep named Dolly. The sheep later died of abnormalities.

John Reid, the Health Secretary for the British government, said the government shared "the widespread public repugnance that human cloning could be attempted, and views this as a gross misuse of genetic science."