Chasing Eve:

Is Cloning the Future?

Brandy L Schillace
11 min readAug 11


To clone or not to clone *isn’t* the question — it’s whether or not we’ve already done it.

Summer Sheep: Photo by Jørgen Håland on Unsplash

Part 1. [Read Part 2]

They called her Eve. Born on December 26th, 2002, she would immediately become the center of controversy — and of an ugly custody battle. DNA tests would be demanded, delayed, demanded again, a Florida attorney would sue, seeking a temporary guardian for the child, and meanwhile the exact location, and even the true name, of Baby Eve remained entirely secret. The legal dispute would ultimately result in a congressional hearing, a House Resolution, and federal law. Because Eve, if she existed, was a clone.


Eve’s story begins a few years earlier, at a September 2000 press conference in Montreal. At the table was a man named Claude Vorilhon, a former French journalist and the founder of a religious movement called Raëlism. He wore a small, tight bun in his hair, though his sloping bald pate shone slightly in camera light. With him was a woman perhaps even more striking: Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, with her copper-blonde hair, cool academic professionalism, sharp wit, and Parisian accent. They announced they had founded a new company, CLONAID, and claimed to be at the forefront of clone-driven reproductive technology. They also hand funding. An American couple had already agreed to put up half a million dollars so that they might clone their 10-month-old son, who had died due to medical malpractice.

CLONAID also had the surrogates. Seated at the press table were five young women (of ten), each a Raelian acolyte who had agreed to be womb-room for the cloned embryos — a necessary plurality, as not all would end in viable pregnancy. As with so much in science and medicine, then as now, success is a numbers game. A healthy human donor can produce 20 eggs after a month of hormone treatments; even if two were transferred to each surrogate, only one in a hundred might survive long enough to be born. This also means that 99 of them did not.

Claude, who had assumed the name Raël, announced that the intention of Clonaid was “to liberate humans from death.” Raëlism, after all, was “more philosophy than religion,” almost a…



Brandy L Schillace

(skil-AH-chay) Author in #history, #science, & #medicine. Bylines: SciAm, Globe&Mail, WIRED, WSJ. EIC Medical Humanities. Host of Peculiar Book Club. she/her