August 13, LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A doctor leading a controversial human cloning experiment defended the procedure Monday night, though he acknowledged there are risks.

``The public will realize that this is not as monstrous as ... it may sound. Once they see a baby dressed in pink or blue, they will say, 'What a wonderful thing,''' Dr. Panayiotis Zavos said on ``Connie Chung Tonight'' on CNN (read excerpts).

But ``for me to say there are no risks involved, that would be a pure lie,'' he added.

Zavos, a reproduction researcher, appeared on the show with an American couple - known only as Bill and Kathy - who will be the first of six or seven couples taking part in the experiment who hope to have a baby next year. None of the couples has been able to conceive any other way.

The American couple described publicly for the first time the failed attempts to have a child that led them to turn to Zavos.

The doctor said he plans to clone a baby for the couple by taking DNA from Kathy and adding it to a donor's egg. The donor's DNA would be removed from the egg, which would be implanted into a surrogate mother.

Zavos said the procedures would be attempted later this year in two overseas clinics. He would not disclose the locations.

Bill and Kathy, whose voices were disguised and faces blurred on the show, said they met in 1989 - Bill was a 40-something divorcee and Kathy was a 30-something career woman.

The two wed in 1993 and immediately began trying to have a baby.

After failed attempts of reproducing the natural way, the couple tried artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Nearly four years after their last unsuccessful attempt in 1998, the couple read an article on Zavos and his cloning experiments.

``I tracked him down, and I called him, and I called him, and I called him,'' Bill said.

Zavos resigned last year from the University of Kentucky to help lead the human cloning effort. So far his medical teams have experimented only with animal clones.

Both the U.S. Congress and the U.N. General Assembly have debated bans on human cloning, but have yet to pass legislation. A few states and foreign countries, including Great Britain, have prohibited cloning.

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