"Human Cloning As Infertility 'Treatments'"

Dianne N. Irving
Copyright October 10, 2004
Reproduced with Permission

Extensive human cloning, and other forms of human genetic engineering -- all of which can asexually reproduce new living single-cell human organisms (human beings) -- are already being done in IVF clinics, for both "research" and for "reproductive" purposes. Below are just two published research studies documenting (1) the various kinds of human cloning techniques available to IVF "clinics", and (2) an example of how it is already being done:

#1. Note that various cloning techniques have already been developed in animal work for over 25 years, and are applicable to cloning human beings. Here several human cloning techniques are mentioned, including "hemicloning" (or pronuclei transfer), "nuclear transfer", and "embryo splitting" (twinning):

New techniques on embryo manipulation. Escriba MJ, Valbuena D, Remohi J, Pellicer A, Simon C. (Spain)

For many years, experience has been accumulated on embryo and gamete manipulation in livestock animals. The present work is a review of these techniques and their possible application in human embryology in specific cases. It is possible to manipulate gametes at different levels, producing paternal or maternal haploid embryos (hemicloning), using different techniques including nuclear transfer. At the embryonic stage, considering practical, ethical and legal issues, techniques will be reviewed that include cloning and embryo splitting at the cleavage stage, morula, or blastocyst stage. [PMID: 12062830] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12062830

#2. Note that human cloning can be used for both "research" and for "reproductive" purposes, e.g., for "infertility treatments". In the study below, the human oocytes from infertility patients in private IVF clinics were cloned using "nuclear transfer". Since the transfer was not done using a "somatic" cell, it is not properly defined as "somatic cell nuclear transfer" (SCNT), but rather as "germ line cell nuclear transfer" (GLCNT). Both somatic cells and germ line cells (e.g., oocytes) are diploid, therefore nuclear transfer (cloning) can be accomplished using either type of cell. The "product" is referred to below as a "reconstructed oocyte", and it is "activated". That means that upon activation a new genetically unique living human being -- a single-cell human embryo -- has been reproduced by means of human cloning using the GLCNT technique. The term "reconstructed oocyte" is a euphemism, or "pre-embryo substitute" for the single-cell human organism formed by cloning. It is not just an "oocyte" any more. It is a single-cell human being. I question how the "informed consent" forms phrased it so that these infertility patients understood clearly and unambiguously that their diploid oocytes had been used to asexually reproduce their own cloned children?

Fertil Steril. 2003 Mar;79 Suppl 1:677-81
Microfilament disruption is required for enucleation and nuclear transfer in germinal vesicle but not metaphase II human oocytes.

Tesarik J, Martinez F, Rienzi L, Ubaldi F, Iacobelli M, Mendoza C, Greco E. (Spain)

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the usefulness of microfilament disruption before enucleation and nuclear transfer in human oocytes at different stages of maturation. DESIGN: Prospective experimental study. SETTING: Private clinics. PATIENT(S): Infertile couples undergoing assisted reproduction attempts. INTERVENTION(S): Oocyte enucleation and nuclear transfer, activation of reconstructed oocytes. CONCLUSION(S): Microfilament disruption before enucleation is required for germinal vesicle oocytes but not for metaphase II oocytes. [PMID: 12620476] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12620476

Indeed infertility researchers are eager to use any and all cloning techniques for infertility "therapies", and thus they attempt to limit the damage of any pending cloning legislation by narrowing the definition of "cloning" to just SCNT. As admitted recently by Dr. Jamie Grifo, a leading infertility researcher at New York University:

"Infertility researchers take pains to define cloning in the narrowest terms, as a process that would use the nucleus from a single mature cell and place it in a woman's egg from which the nucleus had been removed - then jolting that hybrid cell to life with electricity. No sperm need be involved, so the baby's genetic material would all come from just one person. While many infertility specialists recoil at the prospect of such 'solo' cloning, there are critical aspects of the process that could help infertile couples. A number of infertility programs across the country are working on treatments that might be called 'near-cloning'.

[Doctor Jamie Grifo, a leading infertility researcher at New York University, as quoted in Stephen Smith, "Cloning bans could have impact on infertility treatments", Jan. 9, 1998, at http://www.geometry.net/detail/basic_i/infertility_family_science_page_no_3.html.]

Thus as Weissman redefines SCNT as just "stem cell research", many infertility researchers redefine all cloning techniques as just "infertility treatments" involving "near-cloning"! We are clearly talking about "reproductive cloning" here, not just "infertility treatments". Hello?

For a 31-page list of similar experiments already published and recorded on PubMed, please see: Irving, "Scientific References, Human Genetic Engineering (Including Cloning): Artificial Human Embryos, Oocytes, Sperms, Chromosomes and Genes" (May 25, 2004), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_25scientificrefer1.html.