United Press International

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May 9, 2002
Italy's Antinori says he's cloned three people
UPI SpecialCorrespondent
ROME -- Severino Antinori, Italy's controversial fertility doctor best known for facilitating
unlikely pregnancies, has helped three women become pregnant with what would
be the world's first human clones, staff at his office told United Press International

Antinori shocked observers a month ago when he reportedly said on the sidelines
of a conference in the United Arab Emirates that an Arab patient of his was eight-
weeks pregnant with the world's first cloned human. He declined to elaborate,
however, and staff at his office in Rome would neither confirm nor deny the claim.

This week, Antinori spoke to Italian television reporters to say that he has helped
three women become pregnant with clones, a claim his office has confirmed.

"There are three of them, ranging from the sixth week to the tenth week of their terms,"
a staff member told UPI. "The (pregnancies) are progressing nicely."

Staff members did not provide additional information about the three women, citing
their rights to privacy.

Antinori, who has never shied away from the spotlight, made headlines previously by
helping a 62-year-old woman conceive a child. At the time, he billed himself as the "father of the hopeless," a moniker, he said in
television interviews, he had changed to the less-catchy "cultural and scientific coordinator" of the top-secret cloning project that has
produced the three pregnancies.

Antinori said despite outrage from political and religious leaders over the possibility of cloned humans, the reason the project was top
secret was not moral but social.

"In the country where these babies will be born, the children will be treated as monsters unless the climate of persecution changes,"
Antinori said, without identifying the country.

Antinori also denied being in charge of the controversial pregnancies, saying he was working in cooperation with local experts.

The local staff said they were not involved in the project, a fact that put the validity of what Antinori said in doubt in the minds of some

"I believe this is a case of Antinori looking to grab headlines again," scientist Georgio Feltrini said in an interview with the Italian news
network La 7 on Thursday.

Antinori, who has vowed to help produce the world's first cloned humans, was not available for comment.

The prospect of cloning humans has been severely criticized by political leaders worldwide and by the Vatican and other church leaders.
When Antinori first announced his plans in early April, Italian lawmakers called for a ban on the use of technology that could set the
stage for human cloning, though such a ban has not yet been passed.
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