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Human Clones and Dr Severino Antinori

written by: MandaSpring•edited by: Paul Arnold•updated: 1/11/2009

The Italian doctor Severino Antinori is a widely respected fertility expert. However, controversy has surrounded much of his career and if some newspaper reports are to be believed he has already helped to create cloned humans.

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    This profile of Dr. Severino Antinori is designed to help you get a better idea of what he stands for, his choices and ambitions. Dr. Severino Antinori is a controversial figure in today’s world for his experiences and goals.

    Dr. Severino Antinori is an embryologist from Italy. From his clinic in Rome, just a few hundred metres from the Vatican, he assists infertile couples to conceive. This seems relatively harmless and a somewhat noble cause but his desire is one that has caused him great controversy.

    In the 1980’s Dr. Severino Antinori was one of the first doctors to introduce and perform Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, otherwise known as ICSI - a technique to help infertile males to father children. He is regarded by many as a brilliant scientist and he has written for many prestigious journals, including The Lancet. His passion for making the impossible possible was already shining through in those early years, but little did people know, controversy was waiting in the wings.

    He was catapulted into international headlines when he used IVF technology to assist women in their 50's and 60's to conceive - so called 'granny births.' In 1994 he implanted a donor egg into the uterus of a 63 year old woman, making her the oldest known woman to have given birth. But all that was mild compared to the furore surrounding his stated intentions in the late 1990's to create human clones. His announcements came not long after the cloning of Dolly the sheep and it was reported that he made predictions that cloned humans would exist before too long.

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    Human Clones 'Created'

    In the fall of 2002, Dr. Severino Antinori told the press that he had successfully taken an egg cell, removed the DNA and then inserted DNA of the ‘father-to-be.' This was placed into the womb of his wife to create a clone of the man.

    Human cloning is prohibited in Europe and it was widely reported that the fertility expert travelled to an unknown Mediterranean area to complete the procedure.

    It is not clear whether Antinori has cloned humans, (there is no evidence and mainstream science remains sceptical), but he has expressed many times that he disagrees with cloning humans for the sake of it. He says that his reasons come from a genuine desire and passion to help infertile couples who cannot conceive by any means.

    "Generally, people are against human cloning, and I blame the media for pre-judging it. I want to bring society with me, and persuade people that it is right in rare cases to help infertile couples."

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    Source of Quote

    From an interview that Dr Antinori conducted with the BBC's Fergus Walsh http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/216034.stm