Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Man Who Cloned And Married Himself

By Darryl Mason

The Orstrahyun can reveal today that Dr Philip Stanton (who rose to fame at 19 for inventing an artificial womb) is the first human to successfuly clone himself, change the sex of the clone, then have a sexual relationship with 'herself'.

Dr Stanton was an acclaimed biological theorist by sixteen, and was set to revolutionise the way children spent the first six to nine months after creation through the use of his "better than human" artificial womb. But the controversial experiments, conducted on an isolated property outside Adelaide, in 1995, failed horrifically, with the death of at least eight foetuses.

At least, that was what we were led to believe happened back then. It now is certain that Dr Stanton used the artificial womb to grow the clone of himself that he named Jessica Stanton.

Investigations reveal that Dr Stanton 'birthed' his clone at his remote property and then fled Australia for twelve years exile in Thailand, where he grew his clone, after changing the sex, into the tall, healthy woman who is now experiencing government bureaucracy for the first time as she battles for that most basic piece of identification : a birth certificate.

Dr Stanton and Jessica want a birth certificate so they can get married. Legally.

The Australian Bureau of Births, Deaths and Marriages claim they cannot issue Jessica a birth certificate, because she was not born "in the legal sense of the word."

An employee commented that they have no criteria in place to assess Jessica's claim for a birth certificate.

"This is all new to us. Nobody ever thought this kind of thing would come true, so no preparations have been made. I don't know what happens if multiple clones each want their own birth certificate. We'll have to think about re-doing the forms if this is going to become a regular thing."

Jessica does not have a mother. Dr Stanton had no need for a woman to conceive or give birth to his child. She was created and born in Dr Stanton's home laboratory. In exile, in Thailand, Dr Stanton used human growth hormones and the LifeLonger health and fitness regime to speed up Jessica's physical growth. Although only twelve years have passed since Jessica's 'birth', she looks like a healthy, mature 19 year old woman.

The news of Jessica Stanton's existence is set to challenge not only the limits of the legal system, but the very concept of what it means to be an individual human.

Jessica Stanton shares the same blood type, the same DNA, the same fingerprints, as Dr Philip Stanton. The only difference, Jessica said, is that when she was created, Dr Stanton modified the DNA so she wouldn't develop his mild arthritis or have to endure his lifelong eczema.

As normal a young woman Jessica seems to be in person, she does not actually exist. She has no birth certificate, no passport, no insurance of any kind, no social security number. She holds no identification outside credits cards issued in Philip Stanton's name. Likewise her apartment and car are leased in her 'father's' name.

She said she does not consider Philip Stanton her father, and says she does not understand why so many people are upset that they have a sexual relationship.

"He made me, he is more than just a part of me," Jessica explained to The Orstrahyun. "He is me, as I am also he. We have no secrets. We know everything about each other. How could we not? We're the same person.

"Philip was always surprised when I could remember events from his own childhood that he had forgotten about. Some people I talk to refuse to believe that he could have passed his own memories onto me through his DNA, but it's true. When he can't remember something that happened 30 years ago, he asks me if I've got that memory. I usually do, some are more detailed than others. The memories of events that he said traumatised him, or shocked him, seem to be the most vivid.

"He said he always had a bad memory, but mine is very good. I think he fixed that during the tinkering stages of my pre-birth development."

Jessica went on to explain more about her childhood, and education :

"You have to understand that Philip kept me in a sterile intellectual environment. He screened every film I watched, every book I read, and chose the newspaper stories and TV news reports he thought I should read. He taught me how the media works, and how all supposed truths should and must be questioned. When he thought I was old enough, he told me the truth of how he created me, and how special I am. He also told me that the media would treat me like a freak, or some monster. I'm expecting the worst, but I won't care.

"Once I was old enough to walk, we were always traveling together. If we'd meet somebody and they'd ask if I was his daughter, he would say, 'legally yes'. It was a strange enough answer to stop them asking more questions, and I heard it so often, I learned that while the rest of the world saw me as his daughter, he saw me as a part of himself, separate but yet a different version of himself at the same time. I don't have a problem with any of this, and I'm trying to understand why my existence upsets so many people.

"It's hard to explain how he kept me in the dark about who I was for so long, and how he made our existence seem so ordinary and normal. All I know is that it was normal, I never knew any other way to live, and I refuse to let anybody tell me it was anything else but normal."

Jessica refuses to accept or acknowledge that abuse of some kind has taken place. She claims the sexual relationship between herself and Dr Stanton only began in the past 18 months, and that she initiated it. She pointedly refuses to be classed as a victim, in any circumstance.

"Philip has given me a thorough education. He taught me about art while we walked through the greatest galleries in the world. I've lived in jungles and deserts, dived on the world's most beautiful reefs and watched sunrises on some of this planet's tallest mountains. He taught me to do everything for myself. I am more capable and self-reliant than most women my age, and unlike most people I have no doubts about my identity, who I am, or where I came from."

While Jessica knows who Baudelaire and Renoir are, she has never heard of television shows like 'CSI' or the music of Kings Of Leon. She knows how to calculate velocity, but she didn't know what a woman's menstruation cycle was until I explained it to her. She claims to have never had a period, but said she intended to "look it all up."

Dr Stanton refused to be interviewed for this story, but he finally issued a short statement to The Orstrahyun after repeated inquires :
"If it is the media's intent to persecute me, then show me one single law that I have broken. Jessica is not recognised by society in any legal sense and therefore does not exist. She is a physical extension of myself, but existing in a separate body. Jessica is free to live her own life, I want her to discover the world for a while on her own. I will protect her if she needs protecting, and I will help her if she asks for help. Jessica does, however, remain my responsibility and my property."
Jessica said she is still adjusting to life away from Dr Stanton, who she says insisted "I get my own place".

She is, however, immensely proud to be one of the first in a new generation of human beings.

"Cloning isn't going to go away," Jessica said. "It is now a part of life, and will eventually mean a kind of immortality. Would I clone myself? I don't know. I haven't thought about it."

For now Jessica is happy to finish decorating her new apartment and is looking for a job.

"Unfortunately, being born a clone doesn't mean you get any super powers," Jessica laughed. "I'm just as boring as the next person, probably more so because there are so many things, like television advertisements, that I've never seen before.

"I find the most mundane things fascinating because so much of what everyone else thinks of as everyday, are new experiences for me."

UPDATE - Breaking News : Clone Charged With Attempted Murder Of Creator