Doctor Panayiotis Zavos attempted to clone the world's first human baby. He says he cloned 14 embryos and then transferred 11 of those into four women. None of the attempts resulted into a viable pregnancy.
Cloning human embryos for transfer into a human womb is illegal in most of the world. It is believed that Dr. Zavos, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Cyprus, did the work at a Middle Eastern lab.
The embryos were made from blood cells of a dead 9-year-old named Cody. The child died in a car accident and her relatives asked the doctor to use her blood cells for cloning.
Zavos has in the past used skin cells to clone embryos.
The patients are three married couples and one single woman. They are from Britain, the United States and somewhere in the Middle East.
He told the Independent:
"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."
The procedures were captured on film by a documentary film maker. Director Peter Williams verified that the women knew that they were having cloned embryos inserted. The film was made for the Discovery Channel and will be aired today.
The ethics of cloned humans is just one reason that cloning has been taboo. Another aspect is that cloned animals have led to early deaths and abnormalities.
In 2004 Dr. Zavos said that he had used skin cells from an infertile man for cloning and transferred that embryo into the man's wife. He admitted later that experiment failed.
The Independent reports:
"I get enquiries every day. To date we have had over 100 enquiries and every enquiry is serious. The criteria is that they have to consider human reproductive cloning as the only option available to them after they have exhausted everything else," Dr Zavos said. "We are not interested in cloning the Michael Jordans and the Michael Jacksons of this world. The rich and the famous don't participate in this."