Doctor Makes Human Cloning Claims

Founder of the Andrology Institute of America Dr. Panayiotis Zavos testifies on Capitol Hill 2002/5/15
AP
A shocking headline from a controversial American fertility doctor: "I can clone a human being."

It's a claim Dr. Panayiotis Zavos has made before. Five years ago, he told a news conference that he had implanted a cloned human embryo into an unnamed woman - an embryo that should have produced a replica of her husband.

There was no evidence, and few details, reports CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar.

"I did not give any specifics for a reason," Zavos told CBS News back in 2004.

Now working in a secret clinic, the Discovery Channel has filmed the doctor.

"If the implantation is successful, as well, and the pregnancy is maintained, as we say in the U.S. we have a home run," he says in the film.

Zavos claims to have transplanted 11 cloned embryos into the wombs of four women. None resulted in a pregnancy.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, one of the U.K.'s largest daily newspapers, Zavos, an American born in Cyprus, said, "There is absolutely no doubt about it, and I may not be the one that does it, but the cloned child is coming. There is absolutely no way that it will not happen.

"If we intensify our efforts we can have a cloned baby within a year or two, but I don't know whether we can intensify our efforts to that extent."

In addition, Zavos said he has cloned the embryos of three dead people, including a 10-year-old U.S. girl, who died in a car crash, the newspaper reported, after the grieving families apparently approached him and granted him permission to harvest cells from their bodies.

Zavos then says he used them to create human-animal hybrid models that would help him to study the cloning procedure, the newspaper reports.

His critics say he's again seeking publicity, walking a minefield of ethics and laws.