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First cloned baby due in January

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Doctor claims cloned baby due in January

An Italian fertility doctor who has claimed without proof in the past that several women are carrying cloned babies said Tuesday that one of the children would be born in early January.

Dr. Severino Antinori told a news conference that a woman was 33-weeks -- more than eight months -- pregnant with a cloned baby boy and that the child was developing in an "absolutely healthy" way.

In April, Antinori claimed that he knew of three pregnancies -- then in the ninth, seventh and sixth weeks of development -- involving cloned babies. He said Tuesday that the oldest of these was about to be born.

However, according to his statement in April, the longest pregnancy would have passed nine months in mid-November. Antinori would not explain the discrepancy Tuesday.

He also refused to specify if he had any role in the alleged clonings. He did say that he wouldn't be involved in the delivery of the baby, but that he had given a "cultural and scientific contribution" to a consortium of scientists involved in the pregnancies. He refused to identify the scientists. Other groups are claiming to be working on cloning a human.

Antinori refused to identify the woman who was to give birth in January or give her nationality. When asked where she was going to give birth he said only "countries where this is permitted." Cloning has been declared illegal in many countries.

Antinori, who runs a private fertility clinic in Rome, gained attention in the 1990s when he used donor eggs and hormones to help post-menopausal women to have children.

Experts have repeatedly dismissed Antiniori's claims and say they doubt that he is capable of achieving a cloned pregnancy.

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