CAPE TOWN – Imagine a world in which, when you tire of your body, you simply ask scientists to make a clone of you and up load your personality.
This is the vision of the Raëlian Movement, a controversial cult that believes we were created by space aliens, and sees cloning as the first step towards immortality.
Now the head of their reproduction company, Clonaid, Dr Brigitte Boisselier , is in SA to check up on a Pretoria-based couple who she says will be the first African couple to have a cloned baby.
Clonaid shot to international infamy 18 months ago, when it claimed to have cloned two human babies, one to a couple in the US, and another to a lesbian couple in the Netherlands.
Clonaid’s claims were disputed by the scientific establishment, and triggered widespread debate about the safety and ethics of cloning humans.
Boisselier said yesterday she was in SA to promote both human cloning and the Raëlian Movement, of which she is a bishop. “The whole topic of cloning is treated with abnormal fear,” she said.
According to Boissellier, the Pretoria couple are expecting a cloned baby girl in six months.
They approached Clonaid because the man is infertile, she said. Boisellier declined to say how much the procedure had cost, only that Clonaid’s fee was 100000. She would not reveal the couple’s identity.