On June 15, 1998, Brigitte Boisselier said the headquarters of Clonaid was located in Las Vegas, Nevada and that Clonaid did not have enough funds for human cloning research. In December 19, 1998, a New Scientist article said the cost of Clonaid cloning services would be $200,000, lower than the $2.3 million dollars that researchers at Texas A&M University planned to use for cloning a dog named Missy. Mainstreams scientists said it was unlikely that Clonaid would be able to clone anything in the near future. Although the project's ultimate objective was human cloning, she said that pet cloning would help finance the operations.
Claude Vorilhon held a meeting in a Montreal hotel on September 21, 2000, where he announced that a wealthy American couple was willing to fund the Clonaid project. The first pending clone, according to Vorilhon at the time, was an American couple's 10-month old girl, who had died due to a medical mistake. He said that the couple was willing to pay $500,000 to clone their deceased daughter, but the wife was not willing to be the surrogate mother. Jamie Grifo, a fertility specialist at the New York University School of Medicine and Nobel laureate Paul Berg of Stanford University said that Vorilhon was providing a false hope that the child was going to be the same one. Boisselier revealed the roles of four scientists she says were involved—"a biochemist, a geneticist, a cell fusion expert, and a French medical doctor"—but without revealing their identity. She did not identify the wealthy American couple.
On March 2001, Boisselier said that a woman would be pregnant with a cloned fetus in April. She said that cells had reached the blastocyst stage, but she refused to speak of any specific implantation or pregnancy associated with them. According to a CNN article that November, the Clonaid laboratory was outside the United States. Clonaid claimed that it had developed human cloned embryos before Advanced Cell Technology was able to do the same. CNN could not confirm the unpublished work. Due to Clonaid's association with Raëlians and the lack of evidence for cloning, authorities remained skeptical as to whether Clonaid could clone anything at all.
On Friday December 27, 2002, Boisselier, a Raëlian bishop and CEO of Clonaid, announced at press conference in Hollywood, Florida that Clonaid had successfully performed the first human reproductive cloning. Boisselier said that the mother delivered Eve by Caesarean section somewhere outside the United States and that both were healthy. Dr. Boisselier did not present the mother or child, or DNA samples that would allow for confirmation of her claim at the press conference. It has subsequently become apparent that she announced the birth before genetic testing to evaluate whether the child in question is actually a clone: Dr. Boisselier was therefore stating her belief that her procedure had resulted in a clone, not announcing results showing that the child was a clone.
Shortly after the announcement, Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Clonaid's Korean branch, BioFusion Tech. In the process, the prosecutors removed records from homes and offices while barring two representatives of BioFusion Tech from leaving the country. An official company statement revealed that three Korean women applied to become surrogate mothers. Officials of BioFusion Tech told the prosecutors that 10 Korean women wanted to clone themselves and have filled out applications.
The Food and Drug Administration stated its intention to investigate Clonaid to see if it had done anything illegal. The FDA contended that its regulations forbid human cloning without prior agency permission. However, some members of the United States Congress believed that the jurisdiction of the FDA on human cloning matters was shaky and decided to push Congress to explicitly ban human cloning.
University of Wisconsin-Madison bioethicist Alta Charo said that even in other ape-like mammals, the risk for miscarriage, birth defects, and life problems remains high. Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technologies said that Clonaid has no record of accomplishment for cloning anything, but he said that if Clonaid actually succeeded, there would be public unrest that may lead to the banning of therapeutic cloning, which has the capacity to cure millions of patients. The Vatican said that the claims expressed a mentality that was brutal and lacked ethical consideration. The White House was also critical of the claims.
Florida attorney Bernard Siegel subpoenaed Thomas Kaenzig, a vice president of Clonaid, to appear on a civil proceeding set to occur on January 22, 2003. Siegel's office sent summonses to Thomas Kaenzig and "Jane Doe", the purported mother of Eve. Siegel hoped that the action would coax those involved to provide some answers. He believed the child, if she existed, needed an appointed guardian and would need protection and medical assistance which he doubts Clonaid could offer. He wanted the court to make a decision on how to best protect her. However, Clonaid prevented scientists from meeting the purported child and mother.
Thomas Kaenzig refused to testify in a court hearing, but Florida judge John Frusciante was able to convince Kaenzig through a telephone to reveal some of the details. Kaenzig testified that Clonaid left him ignorant of the cloning project and that it was not even a corporation. The judge summoned Kaenzig and Brigitte Boisselier to a Florida court and warned the two that they would be condemned if they did not show there on January 29, 2003. As the court case played out, Dr. Boisselier testified under oath that she saw videos of a cloned child born in Israel.
Michael Guillen was disappointed when he discovered that Clonaid withdrew their offer to provide the tests. The company said that before the tests were done, the parents wanted to be sure that their baby would not be sent away, but a Florida attorney asked that a guardian for Eve be appointed and threatened the company with a lawsuit. Guillen, who remained skeptical, said it would be unwise to dismiss the Clonaid project without proper confirmation.
Raëlian spokesman Bart Overvliet claimed that another cloned baby was born to a Dutch lesbian couple in the Netherlands the previous day and that the mother and baby were in good health. A Dutch Raëlian spokeswoman could not comment on any further details about the mother, but Boisselier said that the mother gave birth to her own clone. An official from the Dutch Health Ministry told Reuters that the Netherlands forbade human cloning but not the birth of baby clones. On January 5, 2003, Brigitte Boisselier said to the BBC that her medical team produced hundreds of human clone embryos before proceeding to ten implantations, two of which led to births. The head of the UK Roslin Institute was critical of the assertion, "Clonaid [has] no track record but claim[s] to have cloned hundreds of embryos - it just doesn't ring true."
A Raëlian spokeswoman from Japan claimed that a baby boy, cloned from a comatose two year-old of a Japanese couple, was born the previous day. Boisselier said that a surrogate participated since the biological mother was 41 and more likely to have a miscarriage. Scientists knew that many cloned animals suffer arthritis and ailments with the lungs and liver, and they were concerned that too many unanswered questions surround the prospect of cloning of humans safely. Clonaid set up press conferences in which they described their method of cloning, but they did not give any details. However, they did say that the third cloning was different, in that did not involve a mothers egg, but the surrogate's egg with the injection of the boy's DNA.
According to Boisselier, Mark and Tracy Hunt, who were seeking clone their dead son, invested $500,000 in the former Clonaid lab in West Virginia and its equipment, which the Food and Drug Administration shut down. The Clonaid CEO proposed a cloning lab on Brazilian island for creating the next generation of clone babies. Clonaid claimed that five baby clones were born between 26 December, 2002 and February 4, 2003 which had developed normally.
In late July 2002, Clonaid's branch in South Korea, BioFusion Tech, said a woman became pregnant with a human clone. However, in the week of September 27, 2002, South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare in Korea announced that it would ban human cloning and sentence violators to a 10-year prison term. Branch spokesman Kwak Gi-Hwa said that the surrogate mother, unmarried at 26 years old, moved out of South Korea into another country. The spokesman said he had no knowledge of which country that was and that only a few people in Clonaid knew. He described himself as simply a volunteer for the branch which had closed under government pressure following their claim. He accused the government of Korea of considering Christian opinions of human cloning over those of scientists who criticized the proposed human cloning ban. He was later summoned to witness in front of the Korean Parliament.
In February 2004, Clonaid claimed that a sixth clone baby was born in Australia. Additionally, it claimed to have produced human embryos in South Korea. The small number of companies that have access to cloning technology has resulted skepticism by cloning experts in Korea, who accused Clonaid of defaming the now debunked stem cell work of Doctor Hwang Woo-suk. By March 2004, Clonaid claimed that eight extra baby clones had been brought to term for a total of thirteen baby clones.
CNN Money has listed the RMX 2010 as the fourth "Dumbest Moment in Business 2003", stating "Clonaid sells the RMX 2010, a $9,220 contraption that ... well, nobody's quite sure what it does. To help clarify the matter, Clonaid lends one to a British science museum—under strict orders not to open it to find out what's inside."
Clonaid charges up to $200,000 for its "cloning" services. Clonaid has not shown verifiable evidence of any human cloning, despite claims that they would do this within days of their initial announcement. They claim that the parents of the first cloned child had second thoughts about submitting their child to scientific tests after attorney Bernard Siegel filed suit.