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Dr. Panos Zavos Speaks at Cloning Conference

Aired August 7, 2001 - 13:25   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: The conference going on in Washington, the National Academy of Sciences. They're talking about cloning, including a couple of doctors who would like to do human cloning.

This is Dr. Panos Zavos.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

PANOS ZAVOS, ANDROLOGY INSTITUTE: ... the new frontiers in assistive reproductive technology, ARTs.

Next slide, please.

I known professor Antinori for almost 17 years, and since then we've collaborate quite heavily.

As we all know, infertility is a disease, and up to almost 4 to 5 percent, or even more than that, suffer from male infertility, and even greater than that suffer from female infertility. In the United States, we use a rule of thumb that being 20 percent both male and female infertility is a realistic figure. Those couple, obviously, need some sort of assistance for them to bear children.

May I have the next slide, please. Let's skip that one and go to the next one.

Some of the causes of male infertility are fevers and infection, surgery for reproductive tract damage to the vas deferens, etcetera. In other words, there's a great deal of variation in the types of difficulties that the male may have that prevent them from having a child and may need assistance in order for them to reproduce.

Next slide, please.

Causes of female infertility: cervical hostility, tubal factor in ovulation, endometriosis, age, etcetera.

Next slide, please.

In vitro fertilization was introduced 23 years ago, by Robert Edwards, and Louise Brown was the first child conceived from such effort. Low sperm count or mortality -- in vitro fertilization is prescribed and the success is approximately 30 percent to 35 percent in the United States today. Next slide, please.

Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection, ICSI as it's otherwise known, various other individuals are going to talk about this later on, and therefore, I am not going to touch upon those. But ICSI is a modality with which we can treat very severe infertility difficulties.

Next slide please.

During that, testicular sperm extraction can be done, and at this time, I think that on that CD, you need to go to the NAS 2 slide version, not anything else.

Are there any other sets of information on that? I had two versions of slides, and I think this is not the one that I should be using today, but anything goes.

KELLEY: While we're taking this break as they're trying to straighten out the slides at the conference, let's bring back in our Elizabeth Cohen, who's in Washington and also Andrew Goldstein, who's in New York with us.

Elizabeth, he's talking a little bit about the causes of infertility and in vitro, which they have tried to make the case, Elizabeth, that people were afraid of in vitro a couple of decades ago as well.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. He's trying to say that in late '70s, when in vitro fertilization started, everyone said, my God, what are you doing? You're conceiving children in a petri dish and putting the embryo back inside the mother? You could get all sorts of freaky things happening from that. As it turns out, I think it's fair to say that most of us know someone who had a baby via in vitro fertilization.

That's been their argument all along. They try to make the case that cloning -- 30 years from now, we'll all know someone who conceived through cloning. Most people say they don't think that is going to be true.

In in vitro fertilization, there's a relatively low success rate. Only about 30 percent end up being successful pregnancies. But there really isn't any really firm science that in vitro fertilization gives you deformed babies. Cloning animals, however, there's lots and lots of evidence that says that cloning animals leads to not just miscarriages, but deformed babies.

But he's trying to make the case that this is the next in vitro fertilization.

KELLEY: There was a bioethicist, I believe yesterday, on our air who says that the science isn't there yet for humans.

COHEN: Right, exactly. They say that in the animal experiments, we're still finding this very high failure rate. For example, let's say you were studying a drug, and you tried it out on animals, and not only didn't it work, but many of the babies of these animals turned out deformed, the FDA would never approve that drug.

We spoke with Panos Zavos before he went back into the room to deliver his testimony, and he talked about how he thinks this is really a humanitarian effort, how he really thinks that he is helping out couples who can't have babies any other way.

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