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Italy on its way to strict assisted reproduction laws

Dr Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

17 June 2002

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[BioNews, London] Following a 'long and controversial debate', the Italian Government has approved a draft law stating, among other things, that people who use assisted reproduction technologies in Italy will not be allowed to use donor sperm, eggs or embryos, and that embryo research will be prohibited. Embryos will only be able to be created for implantation into the womb.

In the debate, members of Parliament - from both the centre-left and the centre-right - referred to Italy as 'the Wild West of assisted procreation'. Both sides pushed for tough regulation and, as a result, proposals to 'recognise the rights of the conceived', to ban donor insemination and to add assisted reproduction to a 'black list' of treatments that patients themselves must pay for, have been approved so far.

Dorina Bianchi, speaker for the majority party in the Italian parliament, said that 'the use of donor gametes can cause the fragmentation of the parent figures with psychological and social damages for the unborn'. All amendments to the bill that would have allowed the use of donated gametes or embryos, including those that said the technique should only be used with the approval of an ethics committee, were dismissed.

However, many female members of parliament are opposing the bill and have referred to it as 'medieval'. Maura Cossutta said that the new laws would be 'wrong, dangerous and ineffective. It is wrong because it is not a law on the assisted reproduction techniques but on the embryo. It attacks women's rights and freedoms'. If and when all the provisions of the draft legislation are approved, the bill will pass to the Senate for approval.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 17 June 2002   Date Updated: 12 September 2004
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