Couple plan to clone a baby
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(CNN) -- Bill and Kathy immediately set out to have a baby when they married in 1993. But after years of enduring fertility drugs, artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization -- with no success -- the couple are turning to a controversial alternative to get the baby they so desperately desire.
They want to clone one, with the help of Kentucky-based embryologist Panos Zavos.
The couple, identified only by their first names, shared their story Monday on CNN's "Connie Chung Tonight." Following are excerpts from their interview with contributing correspondent Michael Guillen.
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: 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: At [a] 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 woman 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.
GUILLEN: 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: But what about the medical risks involved?
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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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.
GUILLEN: 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.
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