Christian Medical Association

CMA Doctors: U.S. Women Would Bear the Burden of Human Cloning

Date: 05/15/2002

WASHINGTON, May 15 — As the U.S. House of Representatives hears testimony on human cloning and the nation observes National Women’s Health Week, Christian Medical Association (www.cmawashington.org) physicians say that human clone researchers would need every U.S. woman of child-bearing age to bear the burden of supplying the one billion-plus eggs required for embryonic stem cell therapy using human clones to treat just four diseases.

In lobbying for legislation to allow human cloning, advocates have promoted speculation about curing diseases such as ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and diabetes that affect a total of over 22 million patients.

“There is no proof that ‘therapeutic cloning’ will lead to cures, but if it did, it would require 110 million women to donate 10 eggs each to gain enough eggs to treat just these four diseases. That calculation assumes a success cloning rate of 1 in 50. Dolly took 287 attempts. There are only 55 million women between ages 18 and 44 in the US, so every woman would have to undergo two cycles of hormonal hyper-stimulation and laparoscopic surgery,” explains Dr. David Stevens, Executive Director of the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association. “That is worse than impractical. It is impossible.”

Apparently, biotech industry leaders agree. In a Los Angeles Times article, Geron Corp. President and CEO Thomas Okarma said he has no interest in using cloned embryos to find treatments for disease, and that odds that cloning will produce successful results are “vanishingly small,” that the whole process is “a nonstarter, commercially.”

Lutz Giebel, CEO of San Diego’s CyThera, says cloning “is not commercially viable … quality control is difficult, the FDA can’t regulate it and no one can afford the treatment.” Giebel believes a complete ban on human cloning would have a “limited impact on corporate product development.”

Stevens responds, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to direct our energies and resources to adult stem cell research, which already is producing real cures for real people? Why destroy human embryos, trample ethical and moral principles, and put millions of American women at risk in pursuit of human clones?”

CMA, the nation’s largest faith-based doctors’ organization, opposes human cloning on medical and ethical grounds and supports the Brownback-Landrieu legislation, currently awaiting a Senate vote, that would ban all forms of human cloning.

The Government Reform Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives today is holding a 1 p.m. hearing on human cloning.

CONTACT: Margie Shealy of Christian Medical Association, +1-423-844-1000, or
e-mail, MAShealy@cmdahome.org