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Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Clone pregnancy 'this year'
Severino Antinori, BBC
Dr Antinori faces heavy criticism for his plans
The controversial Italian doctor who wants to clone a human being has told the BBC he thinks a woman will be pregnant with the first human clone this year.

"I think in three or four months there is the first pregnancy," Severino Antinori told BBC Radio 4's Frontiers programme.

Asked whether he would have cloned a human by September 2002, Dr Antinori said: "I hope and I believe."

The cloning of human beings for reproductive purposes is banned in most countries and viewed as dangerous and undesirable by most scientists and doctors.

Imperfect technique

Dr Antinori was suspended from a group of more than a hundred private fertility clinics known as Apart (Association of Private Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinics and Laboratories) earlier in the year.

Apart's president, Wilfried Feichtinger, told BBC News Online at the time that Dr Antinori was facing expulsion, having upset serious scientists and doctors with his comments in the media.

Animal cloning experts warn that cloning is an imperfect technique which produces many failures for each surviving individual.

Dr Antinori says his work is to aid those who cannot normally conceive.

"I want to know why they want to stop people doing this when they cannot have children by sexual reproduction," he told the Frontiers programme.

See more about human cloning in Horizon's Cloning the First Human on BBC Two at 2100 BST on Thursday, 25 October, 2001. Follow the link to the Horizon website in the right-hand navigation. You will find a script for the programme and a RealAudio recording of Frontiers.

See also:

15 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
Cloning humans 'easier' than animals
09 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
Cloning doctor sparks furore
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