British Govt Rejects Human Cloning Application

London, England - The British government said Wednesday it plans to reject an expected application from an Italian fertility doctor who wants to clone babies in Britain.

Dr. Severino Antinori, who is part of an international team seeking to become the first to clone a human being, has said he intends to apply to Britain's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority for a license to begin work on cloning babies.

His group says it is pursuing cloning as a treatment for couples who are unable to have their own children.

``Worldwide, this is not considered acceptable and it will remain illegal in the United Kingdom,'' junior health minister Hazel Blears told lawmakers.

``The government is absolutely clear that reproductive cloning cannot take place in the U.K.,'' she said.

The government insists the creation of babies by cloning is illegal in Britain. But a pro-life organization has challenged that view in court, saying the law applies only to embryos created by fertilization of an egg by sperm. The government insists it applies to all embryos, which is what the pro-life group prefers to see in place.

Legislators have urged the government to clarify the matter by introducing a separate, explicit cloning ban.

In cloning, scientists remove the genetic material from an egg and replace it with that of a cell taken from the person being cloned. The reconstructed egg is then prodded to divide. Classic fertilization does not take place.

In January, Britain became the first country to specifically authorize some cloning when it tweaked its embryo research laws to allow cloning only for research on embryonic stem cells.

Pro-Life Infonet
08. november 2001