The Zavos Organization



Dr Zavos with Connie Chung - Transcript

Dr Zavos with Connie Chung
Dr Zavos with Connie Chung during his appearance on the Connie Chung Tonight show on CNN at the CNN Studios in New York, August 12, 2002.
Note from Connie Chung


Couple Wants to Have Baby Using Human Cloning
Aired August 12, 2002 - 20:00   ET


CONNIE CHUNG, HOST: Good evening. I'm Connie Chung. Tonight, a staggering step in human history. Is the world ready for the creation of a human clone?

ANNOUNCER: They tried for years to have a baby, but couldn't. Desperate, they have chosen to have a child by cloning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that God really wants us to do that.


ANNOUNCER: For the first time, you'll meet the pioneering couple and the controversial doctor who could make their dream a reality.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The public will realize that this is not as monstrous as it really sounds.


ANNOUNCER: Would you, could you ever conceive a being cloned to have a baby? Tonight, a look at the ethical, religious, scientific and legal implications of human cloning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't care what the rest of the world thinks.


ANNOUNCER: Missing in America. Are children across the nation targets? As her daughter's alleged killer awaits trial, the mother of Samantha Runnion leads a new crusade to protect our children.


ERIN RUNNION, SAMANTHA RUNNION'S MOTHER: This is my opportunity to make something out of my baby's death.


ANNOUNCER: This is CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT. From the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, Connie Chung.

CHUNG: Good evening.

Tonight, a story your grandchildren may read about in the history books one day. In its own way, it's a story as big as humans walking on the moon. And like that story, it hinges upon one small step. In this case, that step is a couple's decision to have a baby. It's history because this couple plans to do it through cloning. If the procedure is successful, next year, we'll see the first birth of a human clone in history.

Contributing correspondent Michael Guillen has the exclusive story of the couple who just may give birth to the first of a new kind of human being -- Michael.

MICHAEL GUILLEN, CONTRIBUTING CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Connie. You know, I first met Bill and Kathy a year ago. I flew to a secret location and heard their personal story. Tonight, for the first time on television, you're going to hear it for yourselves.

For reasons they'll explain, we had to decide their faces and their voices. But you'll have no trouble understanding where they're coming from. Their story might make you angry or it might make you sad. It might change your mind about cloning, or confirm your worst fears. Either way, you're going to see just how powerful the human urge to reproduce really is.


(voice-over): For most people, having a baby is child's play. It comes naturally.

BILL, PLANNING ON HAVING A CLONED CHILD: At times, you feel like you're meaningless, like you've left nothing on earth.

KATHY, PLANNING ON HAVING A CLONED CHILD: It's like this empty feeling. It's a hollowness. We want our family. We want to complete that circle.

GUILLEN: Bill and Kathy want a baby so badly, they're going to have one cloned, using her DNA. It means flying in the face of huge public, political, religious and scientific opposition. But they don't care.

BILL: It's a concern, absolutely.

KATHY: And that's why we're in shadow, because we don't want to hurt that little life that comes into this world.

GUILLEN (on camera): Why is it so important then to tell your story to the world, Bill?

BILL: Education, so people slowly, slowly, or faster or faster, get to know what this is all about.

GUILLEN: And that's why you're willing to risk going public with your story?

KATHY: Absolutely.

GUILLEN: But you haven't even told your mother?

KATHY: No. I will, when the time is right, once we know that there is a baby coming. My mother will be so excited, she'll be jumping through hoops.

BILL: I think my mom will say, leave it up to you, Bill, you'll find a way.

GUILLEN: You think they would accept and be loving of a child that was born this way?

KATHY: Why not?

BILL: I think so.

KATHY: A little, sweet, delicious baby, what could you not love?

GUILLEN: Bill and Kathy's unusual story began when they met in 1989. He was a 40-something divorcee. She was a 30-something career woman looking for Mr. Right. Back then, they had no idea that having a delicious little baby would turn out to be so incredibly difficult. Back then, everything seemed so perfect.

KATHY: When I met Bill, he put his arm around me in six minutes and asked me what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

GUILLEN: Within six minutes of meeting you, he put his arm around you? Bill...

BILL: I think it was actually five and a half minutes. But within six minutes, I knew that Kathy was the woman I wanted.

GUILLEN (voice-over): In 1993, Bill and Kathy got married and immediately set out to have a baby.

KATHY: We first tried doing it the natural way. And when that wasn't happening, Bill suggested that we go to the doctor.

GUILLEN: The doctor put Kathy on Clomid, a drug designed to increase the odds of having a natural pregnancy. But after seven months of trying, nothing. Partly the problem was Kathy's eggs. They're too old and brittle. And partly, it's Bill's sperm.

BILL: I've had problems. I had three (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You know, it's when -- you have a vein going to that area and raise the temperature too high, so the sperm goes down.

GUILLEN: Bill and Kathy decided to try artificial insemination. The man's sperm is collected and manually injected into the women's uterus. The woman's body is primed beforehand with a cocktail of potent fertility drugs. The injections were scary and painful enough, Kathy says, but even worse were the side effects.

KATHY: You go crazy. You just...

GUILLEN: What do you mean?

BILL: The drugs would make her crazy, paranoid, insecure. You could say it's rainy outside, rainy outside, why are you talking about rain, because you're so on edge.

GUILLEN: Worst of all, after 17 artificial inseminations, still no baby.

(on camera): At any point during that, did you ever ask yourself, why are we putting ourselves through this?

KATHY: Absolutely, all the time.

BILL: Why? We want a child. We want a child so badly. But is it worth all this anguish? Absolutely, Michael. We said it over and over to ourselves many times. This is the last time we're doing it, this is the last time, this is it.

KATHY: After each one, I said, that's it, I'm done. And then a month or so later, we both looked at each other and said, want to do it again?

GUILLEN (voice-over): Next, Bill and Kathy tried in-vitro fertilization, or IVF. A woman's eggs are harvested. A man's sperm is collected. Then, the two are brought together in a petri dish. The fertilized eggs are then implanted into the woman, with hopes that at least one will take. Bill and Kathy tried IVF seven times.

KATHY: It's almost as if someone is playing a big joke on us. When I had a great egg month, Bill had a bad sperm month. When he had a great sperm month, I had a bad egg month. I mean, we just couldn't seem to make egg salad together at the same time.

GUILLEN (on camera): Tell me about the last time, the last IVF procedure.

KATHY: That was the killer.

GUILLEN: Tell me.

That one, that one was a great egg month, a great sperm month. Everything was moving along rather well.

GUILLEN (voice-over): It was December 1998. The doctors harvested four eggs from Kathy, fertilized them with Bill's sperm, then placed all four embryos back into her uterus.

BILL: He did it so slowly and so carefully and so delicately, I was sure that two were going to attach, and to make it as children.

GUILLEN: For two whole weeks, Kathy stayed in bed.

KATHY: We figured if I stayed completely still, these little babies have to hold. And we named them. We figured if we named them, they were little people, they were going to become little babies and they were going to be born.

GUILLEN: On New Year's Eve, the phone rang with the news.

KATHY: Bill answered the phone and got the news. And it was very, very sad. Saying they were sorry, but your pregnancy test came back negative.

BILL: And that was five years -- felt really devastated.

GUILLEN: For the next four years, Bill and Kathy gave it a rest. They'd run out of options.

But then one day Bill read this book on cloning. Then he happened to see a newspaper article about a cloning doctor based in Lexington, Kentucky. His name was Panos Zavos.

BILL: They tracked him down, and I called him and I called him and I called him.

GUILLEN (on camera): He wasn't returning your calls?

BILL: Nope. He finally picked up the phone, and he said, I see you've been calling a number of times and you're quite persistent.

I said, correct.

PANOS ZAVOS, PHD, EMBRYOLOGIST: Persistence always pays.

GUILLEN (voice-over): Dr. Zavos runs a conventional fertility clinic in Lexington. He has a PhD in reproductive medicine. He's a professor emeritus at the University of Kentucky, a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and an outspoken defender of human cloning.

He's testified before Congress, before the National Academy of Sciences, and made headlines worldwide by claiming he and a secret team of doctors are only months away from trying to clone a human baby.

ZAVOS: The public realize that this is not as monstrous as it may sound. Once they see a baby dressed in pink or blue, they will say, what a wonderful thing.

GUILLEN: Dr. Zavos says he's got a waiting list of some 5,000 desperately infertile couples, but only six will be cloned in the first round. That includes Bill and Kathy.

At their advanced age, he says, time is of the essence.

ZAVOS: If they don't reproduce within the next five years, the chance of having quality time with this child will diminish significantly.

BILL: I think we're doing medical history. I think we're on the cutting edge and on the beginning of a brave new world.

GUILLEN: It all begins next month or so when Dr. Zavos tells Bill and Kathy, pack your bags, you're flying to a secret overseas lab where cloning is legal.

KATHY: I don't believe he's told anybody where it is. And he wants to make sure that the privacy of it is kept as such so that the paparazzi don't get in the way of this scientific procedure.

BILL: The only thing he does say is that we're going to be flying someplace warm.

GUILLEN: At the secret lab, a team of doctors will take a plug of Kathy's tissue and harvest her DNA. Also, they'll take the egg from a younger women and then replace its DNA with Kathy's. They'll implant that egg into a surrogate mother. If the pregnancy holds, nine months later, out will come Kathy's nearly identical body double.

(on camera): Why the decision to clone Kathy and not you, Bill?

BILL: Kathy suffered far greater than I did. She went through 24 months of drugs, of injectable drugs which could possibly cause cancer, and also, I think I'd rather have a girl than a boy. As simple as that. And God willing, if this works, maybe two years from now, we'll clone me.

KATHY: Why not? Instant family.

GUILLEN: Why not just adopt?

KATHY: Well, we have thought about that. You can adopt a baby overseas, and then in a lot of countries, what happens is by the time you get the baby, they've been so messed up in the orphanage where they are that you are taking on a health hazard.

GUILLEN: But isn't that an argument for all the more wanting to adopt a child like that, to show them some love and kindness?

KATHY: Yes, you're right. You're right about that.

BILL: But there is also nothing wrong with wanting your own, and having that right.

GUILLEN (voice-over): But what about the medical risks involved? Scientists are finding that animal clones are often born with awful defects. Doctor Zavos claims it's just the result of sloppy cloning.

ZAVOS: There are bad mechanics and good mechanics. There are bad doctors and good doctors. There are good electricians and bad electricians. We are going to hire the good mechanics, the good doctors and the good electricians to do this. Therefore, our team believes in what we're doing, and I think we're going to hit a home run.

GUILLEN: His team, he says, plans to use the latest prenatal technology to ensure a healthy birth.

ZAVOS: We have ultrasonic equipment with computers attached to them, that they measure different things and different growth measurements from the head to the toe, and everything in between.

BILL: We're not going to give birth to a monster or an abnormal child. If there is serious abnormality, absolutely we will -- and Dr. Zavos concurs that we will abort.

GUILLEN (on camera): And when you said the word "abort," you know, lots of people are going think, oh my gosh, you're piling one abomination on top of another.

KATHY: Well, at least they'll have stem cells to possibly help improve someone's life who is having a problem.

GUILLEN: So you would harvest stem cells from the aborted fetus for purposes of research? But you know how controversial that is, too.

KATHY: Well, I'm a controversial person. I'm not politically correct. I never have been. I never will be.

GUILLEN (voice-over): But there is yet another objection to this procedure. Even when animal clones seem to be born healthy, time delayed defects often rear their heads. The famous cloned sheep Dolly, for example, appears to be developing premature arthritis. Dr. Zavos disputes the evidence, but he admits cloning is risky.

ZAVOS: For me to say that there are no risks involved, that would be a pure lie. And for me to say I'm not willing to take the risks, that would be finding me as a chicken. I'm neither one of the two. I'm a risk-taker, but at the same time, I'm a very cautious individual.

GUILLEN (on camera): As older parents, how are you going to cope with the child who may evidence some of these delayed birth defects?

KATHY: We'll face it and we'll deal with it.

BILL: If anyone can face and deal with it, it's us.

GUILLEN (voice-over): Bill and Kathy are equally confident they'll be able to deal with success.

(on camera): Suppose you succeed. Suppose you have a child through this procedure. Will you raise it in secret? Or will you go public?

KATHY: We'll tell the world that this child was conceived through cloning when it's safe for the child, when the political climate and the emotional climate will be accepting.

GUILLEN: What will you the tell the child herself? Would you tell her that she is a clone?

KATHY: Eventually, yes.

BILL: I think I would just tell the child that she was born by an in vitro process, without getting into specifics until the child is an adult.

GUILLEN: What if she just gets angry at you? Why did you bring me into the world this way, I'm a freak? I'm completely different than any other human being who has ever lived on the face of the earth. Are you prepared that this child could be angry at you for bringing her into the world this way?

KATHY: She's going to be treated like a very special person from day one. And she's going to be loved, loved and loved, and she's not going to ever feel like a freak.

BILL: Absolutely not.

GUILLEN; What do you tell the child's doctor? I mean, you can't keep that secret from a doctor.

KATHY: I never thought of that. We'll figure that out, one step at a time.

GUILLEN (voice-over): Another thing Bill an Kathy haven't figured out yet is how to pay Dr. Zavos. It can cost up to $80,000, depending on whether an egg donor or surrogate mother are involved.

(on camera): You are working class folks, you're hard working people. Where are you going to get that money?

KATHY: I don't know.

BILL: All our savings, credit cards, borrowing, begging and stealing.

KATHY: We're not going to steal.


GUILLEN: Figuratively speaking, I understood. But I mean, seriously, how far would you be willing to go to get this done? Would you be willing, say, to mortgage your home?

BILL: I would be. She wouldn't be.

KATHY: I don't want to end up without a roof over our heads.

GUILLEN: I know there are going to be some people who will listen and they'll say, we don't all get what we want in life. And part of maturity is accepting that. Do you feel in your heart of hearts that you're being a little bit immature, maybe a little irresponsible?

KATHY: Absolutely not.

GUILLEN: ... by not accepting and just moving on?

KATHY: No, no, I don't think there is any immaturity here. I mean, come on, this is the future, and you know something? If God didn't want us to learn how to do all these things, then God would not have enabled the scientists to be able to move on and learn and do.

GUILLEN (voice-over): In fact, Bill and Kathy believe it's their divine destiny to have a cloned baby.

KATHY: I think that God really wants us to do this, that it is the next step. I can't imagine any other reason why we haven't had a child, other than this is what we were meant to do.

BILL: We realize there are a lot of people against it for whatever reason, and hopefully they'll be educated and understand and be sympathetic, and change. I really hope so. I really would like their approval, but we're going to do it regardless.

GUILLEN (on camera): You're willing to risk public opinion, scientific opinion, you're willing to risk being recognized and the secret getting out, and maybe turning your lives upside down, right? I mean, are you prepared for that?

KATHY: Oh, my life is always upside down every day anyway, so what's the difference.

GUILLEN (voice-over): And what if, after all this, they still don't get a baby? Then will they finally call it quits? Well...

KATHY: Yes. We will call it a day at that point. We'll say, OK, we tried.

GUILLEN (on camera): It will be the end of the road for Bill and Kathy?

BILL: Maybe we'll try it once or twice more, but we're not going to try it forever.



CHUNG: Not forever, huh?

GUILLEN: Never say die.

CHUNG: Michael, is what they're doing legal?

GUILLEN: You know, the short answer is yes. I mean, cloning, human cloning is illegal in certain states, but there is no federal law, believe it or not, against cloning. A lot of people have the impression that there is. Congress is contemplating making it illegal, and Republicans and Democrats and President Bush are all against it, but so far it's legal. In any case, the whole issue is moot, because they're going to be doing the cloning, as I indicated, in a secret lab in a country where it is legal. And even though there are a lot of countries that are opposed to human cloning, believe it or not, there are still some who are for it. So everything is above board legally.

CHUNG: All right. Michael, don't go away, because we're going to bring you back in again.

We've heard what Dr. Zavos had to say in Michael's report, but when we come back, you'll meet this man who's bucking the system to make history and possibly make a human baby in a way no one ever has before. Stay with us.

ANNOUNCER: CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT continues in a moment.


CHUNG: Contributing correspondent Michael Guillen just introduced us to Kathy and Bill, who want to make history by having a baby through the process of human cloning. You also saw the man who is pioneering this effort, and has weathered a firestorm of criticism for doing so.

He is Panos Zavos, scientific director and chief embryologist of the Kentucky Center for Reproductive Medicine.

Thank you, sir, for being with us. We so appreciate it.


CHUNG: And Michael, I'll get to you in a minute.

But first, Dr. Zavos, I'll try to explain in the simplest way so I hope that the viewers can understand. A normal in vitro fertilization, you take an egg from the woman, the sperm from the man, put in it a dish and it unites to create an embryo, which you then put in the woman.

ZAVOS: Yes, that's correct.

CHUNG: Now, this cloning process, you take an egg from the woman and you change the DNA...

ZAVOS: You remove the DNA.

CHUNG: And put new DNA in.

ZAVOS: New DNA, which comes from the donor.

CHUNG: From the donor, and that's all do you. It becomes an embryo, no sperm.

ZAVOS: No sperm involved.

CHUNG: No sperm involved.

Now most people would say, I think: That's not natural. That's weird. And that's why I think critics say to you, you're going to create a freak.

ZAVOS: Not true, of course. And, you know, they used to say the same thing about in vitro when we decided to do in vitro 25 years ago, that creating a baby in a petri dish or in a test tube is unheard of.

And, of course, they were saying exactly the same things, the same arguments to Bob Edwards, the gentleman that developed this technology in 1978 when Louise Brown was born, that he was going to create freaks.


ZAVOS: He was going to create people that don't belong in this world.

CHUNG: But how do you know that that egg with the changed DNA is going to grow into a normal human being? You don't know that.

ZAVOS: Well, the results of various experiments that we have executed plus the good results -- and I must indicate here, the good results from many other studies that have been done with success rates up to 100 percent of normal offsprings born in animal models, OK.

CHUNG: Animals. Only animals, not human beings.

ZAVOS: Only animals. That's correct -- indicate that this particular procedure can work in the human with less difficulties than we see in animals.

The reason for that, obviously, is that we in the human arena will be doing human IVF, that's manipulating the sperm and the eggs and the dishes and the petri dishes and the test tubes for almost 25 years.

CHUNG: But a lot of mistakes with made with animals, right?


CHUNG: Isn't the success rate something like 1 percent?

ZAVOS: One percent when Dolly was produced.

CHUNG: Right. Dolly the sheep.

ZAVOS: But today there are studies that -- they show successes of 30 and 80 percent of births from embryo transfers.

CHUNG: Still animals, right?

ZAVOS: Still animals.

CHUNG: OK, let's stop that for a minute and go over to Michael.

I think the big curiosity for everyone is, will this little girl that Kathy hopefully will have, will she look exactly like Kathy?

GUILLEN: Well, it's an interesting question. Nearly so; about 99 percent so.

The reason she won't be identical-identical is because there is a little bit of DNA left over in the egg that is taken from the younger woman.

CHUNG: Because Kathy doesn't have good eggs, so they're going to take a donor egg?

GUILLEN: Correct. Because Kathy's eggs are old...

CHUNG: And, OK, and that donor egg's DNA is going to be taken out and Kathy's DNA is going to be put in.

GUILLEN: Correct. And even though you have removed the nucleus from the donor woman's egg, nevertheless there is a little residual DNA we call mitochondrial DNA that is left over in the outer portions of the egg. So even though you've removed the nucleus, that mitochondrial DNA remains, and it will contribute about 1 percent of the total DNA.

So it will be Kathy's DNA...

CHUNG: From the donor egg?

GUILLEN: Correct. So it will be Kathy's DNA, which is 99 percent of the total, and then 1 percent from the donor mother.

Another variation...

CHUNG: How about -- let me ask you this: How about personality, sense of humor, the same -- liking the same kinds of food?

GUILLEN: That's the $64,000 question, although it's very interesting.

I covered the story of the Texas A&M scientists who recently cloned a cat, which is a fairly complex animal. And before that they cloned a bull, a brahma bull is that he has very much the same mannerisms as the old, original bull.

But no one can tell you. I mean, no one can tell you how much your personality is encoded in the genes. That's the $64,000,000 question, among other things.

CHUNG: Why are you doing this? Because 85 percent of Americans, according to surveys, don't think it should be done.

ZAVOS: Well, obviously they don't. And some of the research that has been done and some of the understandings that we have is that some of those people are against it because of fear of the unknown.

And I think that by people knowing about this and what the complexities may be and the benefits will be, I think more people will accept it.

The same ratio of opposition took place back when the IVF business began.

CHUNG: I don't know, you said that before. And I understand that; it's just that, I think with IVF, wasn't there experimentation? For this...

ZAVOS: Very little.

CHUNG: Your team -- oh, good dear. Well your team -- has your team actually experimented with human eggs?

ZAVOS: Well, we work with human eggs every day.

CHUNG: Right. But you haven't done cloning with human eggs.

ZAVOS: No. And, of course, we don't believe in experimenting with human eggs or embryos until we're ready to execute the real thing, because we're simply -- we are opposed to experimenting with human embryos for the idea of creating human embryos and killing them.

CHUNG: Would you allow me to be devil's advocate and say, well, then, aren't Kathy and Bill going to end up being guinea pigs?

ZAVOS: Well, you can say that. I think that when a new technology is pioneered and is developed, you can say that the people that receive this treatment first are, obviously, guinea pigs to a certain degree.

But, you know, that's one way of looking at it. I don't think that they do feel that way. And we don't feel like that any of those people are guinea pigs. They're just, really, people that are going to go first, and then -- during the first team, we have six or seven couples. Then as soon as we complete this team, we're going to go onto the next team, which may be seven to 10 couples. So somebody has got to go first. But we feel like that the level of confidence of accomplishing this particular puzzle here is very good. And our team feels very good about coming up with healthy children born from such effort.

CHUNG: All right. You say that you're going to check for abnormalities, right?


CHUNG: But, as I understand it, Kathy and Bill will, after they've taken care of what they need to do, which is provide the DNA -- Kathy's DNA -- they'll fly back to the United States and just wait. And it's the surrogate who has the baby in her.

And even though -- I mean, nobody will necessarily know that she's got a cloned baby in her stomach, but doesn't she have to have this special medical care to make sure that she doesn't have an abnormality?

ZAVOS: Oh, absolutely. We do have the experts -- maternal fetal medicine experts that will monitor those pregnancies from day one of conception until the birth of that child.

And we intend to study the behavior of those fetuses, the growth, the measurements, the deficiencies, the assets -- whatever -- and then, of course, learn from those procedures as such.

Now, this is something that that the animal cloners have never even dreamed of doing. And this is really why it gives us a tremendous advantage over the animal cloners, is that in the animal business of reproduction, we only do it right, we cannot afford to do it wrong.

CHUNG: Michael Guillen and Panos Zavos, thank you so much.

CHUNG: And still ahead, we'll hear from a critic of Dr. Zavos' procedure and methods.

Before we go to the break, we are sure that you have questions about cloning to have a baby. E-mail us at, and we'll see if we can get some of them answered.


ANNOUNCER: Cloning is hardly the first controversial method of reproduction. The development of IVF, in vitro fertilization, triggered an avalanche of criticism in the late '70s. Everyone from scientists to the Vatican blasted John and Leslie Browns for volunteering for the process after years of failing to have a baby. They were accused of playing God and risking serious health defects, but to the Browns, it was all worth it.


JOHN BROWN, LOUISE'S FATHER: The first thing I remember is Mr. Stepner (ph) and -- who pushed that first best calls -- and Mr. Stepner (ph) said, "I'd like to present you your baby." And it was like, you know, his -- no matter how many times, you know, I can never, never forget that moment, that one moment. Fantastic!


ANNOUNCER: Louise Joy Brown's birth didn't stop the criticism, however. There were lingering questions about the health of test tube babies, as they were called, once they grew up. So what the fate of the world's first test tube baby? The answer, when we return.


ANNOUNCER: Whatever happened to the world's first test tube baby? Louise Joy Brown grew up healthy and normal, becoming a nursery school nurse, proud of her part in history.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was created as a guinea pig and Louise Brown will remain a guinea pig for the rest of her life.


ANNOUNCER: But Brown has said she doesn't mind the attention.


LOUISE JOY BROWN, WORLD'S FIRST TEST TUBE BABY: Apart from the press being a pain in the neck and...



ANNOUNCER: Today, hundreds of thousands of babies have been born through IVF. Louise's younger sister, also a test tube baby, went on to have a little boy, proving that IVF does not cause sterility.

Recently, cloning advocates have argued that American skittishness about reproductive technology allowed Britain to take the lead in IVF. And this year, one of the doctors who made Louise Joy Brown possible, said he too endorses cloning if it's shown to be safe.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that God really wants us to do this. That is the next step. I can't imagine any other reason why we haven't had a child other than this is what we were meant to do.

We do realize that there a lot of people are against it for whatever reason and hopefully, they'll be educated and understand and be sympathetic and change.


CHUNG: You just saw Bill and Kathy, who may make history by making a baby through human cloning. Many religions have weighed in against cloning, so have many public officials. Within the scientific community, there's a great deal of controversy as well. Cloning pioneer, Dr. Panos Zavos, is back with us and we're also joined by Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, director of reproductive medicine at the Neill Cornell Medical Center here in New York.

Thank you for joining us. Dr. Rosenwaks, what is your primary, overriding criticism of human cloning?

DR. ZEV ROSENWAKS, DIRECTOR, REPRODUCTIVE MED. NEILL CORNELL MED. CTR.: I worry about its safety primarily and...

CHUNG: Safety, meaning?

ROSENWAKS: Safety meaning that in almost all animal studies, almost all animals, the miscarriage rate has been extraordinarily high, 80 to 90 percent, even in the easiest species to perform cloning. There have been many abnormalities reported, including various organ problems like liver enlargement, respiratory problems, even immune deficiencies. And some of these -- in fact, you cannot even...

CHUNG: You mean in the offspring?

ROSENWAKS: In the offspring and some of them, if you were able to look into the uterus or by ultrasound, you wouldn't be able to tell that these fetuses were abnormal.

CHUNG: Oh, so no matter how many tests you would do, you wouldn't be able to tell?

ROSENWAKS: Yes, many of them are so subtle that they don't even show up until after birth. So, the efficiency, the low efficiency, and the fact that there are so many complications make me worry.

CHUNG: And you're saying efficiency is success rate?

ROSENWAKS: Efficiency is important. Success rate. And in fact, when you promise a couple a child, they have to be ready for disappointment, even in the best IVF programs, depending on age of the woman, for example.

And there is one other major issue...

CHUNG: OK, go ahead.

ROSENWAKS: Where the cell comes from, that you get the DNA may, in fact, impact on the success of cloning. It's been shown in animals. The older the animal, the less the chance of the cloning experience in terms of success.

CHUNG: OK, but you know Dr. Zavos is an embryologist. He's not a medical doctor. But shouldn't embryologists -- you are a medical doctor, but you're not an embryologist, are you? Shouldn't an embryologist really know, in the laboratory, what works and what doesn't work?

ROSENWAKS: Well, I think -- you know, it's interesting for me when I heard the couple and I heard Dr. Zavos that he will do this in an undisclosed place, in a country or place that allows cloning.

CHUNG: So are you suggesting that secrecy is all part of it?

ROSENWAKS: Well, I question why is it that in the United States or in other countries in the western world, cloning has not been allowed. Usually, when we do human experimentation -- I would put cloning as a human experiment -- we seek the advice of our peers in the form of institutional review boards. These review boards are made up of physicians, scientists, lay people, clergymen, ethicists and so on. And they evaluate a particular procedure with particular, particular attention to safety of an individuals involved.

CHUNG: All right.

ZAVOS: I don't disagree with what Dr. Rosenwaks is saying tonight, especially on the IRB approval issue.

CHUNG: IRB being?

ZAVOS: IRB, the Investigational Review Board. I have done a great deal of research on that and it's been approved by IRB committees before, et cetera, et cetera.

The moral of the story is that this research is been confronted by the politicians in this country and ethicists and so on so heavily that there is no chance on Earth that this technology can be developed and be applied in America as it is today.

CHUNG: All right. Well, what if you're going to create a Hitler or it gets in the wrong hands and you're going to create an Osama bin Laden?

ZAVOS: But Connie, you need to understand here that, you know, these -- those are not problems that we are -- that we can solve today. I think our government and our politicians and our House of Representatives, instead of debating on banning this technology, ought to come around and say, OK, let's agree on one thing that this technology can be developed safely and therefore, we need to stop thinking about who developed this technology and how can we regulate it...

CHUNG: All right.

ZAVOS: ... and apply it constructively in order to come up...


ZAVOS: ... with the right results.

CHUNG: Very quickly, I gave you a long time to talk in that previous segment, so let me ask you, Dr. Rosenwaks. You know, Dr. Zavos says that when the other reproductive medicine -- the IVF and all those other methods started, there wasn't a lot of information, research, testing.

ROSENWAKS: Well, there was a lot of work on in vitro fertilization in various animals. IVF, in fact, was done and embryo transfer was done many years before the first report of a human baby within in vitro fertilization. In fact, the first embryo transfer procedure in an animal, in a rabbit, was done a 100 -- over a 100 years ago. The fact is...

CHUNG: All right.

ROSENWAKS: ... experiments were done. However, I think...

CHUNG: Let me ask you one more thing then.


CHUNG: Do you see cloning as the next step eventually, if everything is all cleared up to your satisfaction and the satisfaction of others in your world?

ROSENWAKS: Well, I'm not sure. I think that there are many issues with cloning that were not issues with IVF. With IVF, you have the union of a sperm and an egg. Essentially, what we do with IVF is facilitate nature. We allow the sperm and the egg to get together.

With cloning, we create a new individual with the nucleus of someone who is older and an egg of another person. There are concerns regarding how that egg will, in fact, control that nucleus. Will it allow all of the genes to manifest themselves or only part of them?

ZAVOS: Well, I...

CHUNG: Dr. Zavos?

ZAVOS: ... I want to go back to the argument that Bob Edwards makes -- that's the father of IVF...


ZAVOS: ... that says that if this technology is pursued properly and developed properly, it can be another option for infertility couples. And that pretty much will do it -- what we aim to do, is develop the technology and make it available for infertile couples such as Bill and Kathy.

CHUNG: All right. Dr. Zavos, Dr. Rosenwaks, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it. And I hope you can come back and discuss this further as the cloning process develops.

ZAVOS: Sure, I'd like to.

CHUNG: A quick reminder -- if you still have questions about cloning, to have a baby, e-mail us at And we'll see if we can get some answered. We'll be right back.

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