Dr Zavos: On ethics, his motives and technology
The doctor at the centre of the cloning row yesterday answered readers' questions on The Independent's website. This is a selection of his answers. To see the full exchanges go to www.independent.co.uk/pzavos
How do you justify the use of cloning technology in this way? For you, what is the ultimate goal and what drives your desire to clone people?
Zavos: I am a fertility doctor and I have been creating children to thousands of people for the last 30 years. I consider reproductive cloning as a modality to assist infertile couples to become parents via this technique. This is a very small group of people that have exhausted all possibilities of becoming parents via any other way. However, I am interested also in developing similar technologies in using embryonic stem cells that are derived from cloned embryos to treat a variety of diseases and possibly creating body parts in vitro but not creating human beings for spare parts. If all of those technologies are developed and applied properly this can make it a better world for all of us.
To what extent do you think people like yourself should be involved in ethical dialogue? Do you feel you should have a say in the process, or do you see yourself as simply providing a service which others have to deal with?
As a fertility doctor for 30 years I have assisted thousands of couples, straight, lesbian, gay and single, in becoming parents. During the consultation I assist those people to make the best decision as they attempt to become parents. I am definitely not the person to make the ultimate decision for them but advise them in the best possible way in using treatments. I do get involved in such ethical dialogues at all times but I cannot dictate to those people my feelings about their decisions.
Would you consider fertilising eggs with the genomes of two women?
This technology can only help 3 to 4 per cent of infertile couples that have exhausted all possibilities of having a child. Helping a distressed mother that missed her daughter is not very high on my agenda at the moment. As to me helping same-gender couples to have children, I do that every day via sexual reproduction. At the moment, the cloning technology cannot assist either two men or two women in having a biological child of their own. However, the future may allow us to do that. I remain optimistic.
Read it all here.