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Italy to debate assisted reproduction legislation

Dr Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

02 April 2002

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[BioNews, London] The Italian Parliament was presented with a bill on assisted reproduction last week. Some of the provisions of the bill are thought to be likely to 'provoke one of Italy's biggest political battles this season'.

The bill recognises 'the right to birth of the conceived' and specifies that 'production of embryos is allowed only within the limits strictly necessary to one implant and no more than three'. This means that embryos will only be able to be created with the intention of creating a pregnancy. Furthermore, the bill, if passed, would prohibit selective reduction, embryo testing and embryo freezing. The bill states that 'the conceived' has three fundamental rights: to life, to a genetic and affective identity, and to a family. Critics of the bill warn that this provision would affect Italy's established abortion laws.

The bill also bans the use of donor sperm, in order to avoid 'psychological and social damages for the unborn', according to Dorina Bianchi, from Berlusconi's majority party. Reproductive cloning would be made a criminal offence.

However, the bill also contains some more liberal provisions, likely to raise criticism from different directions, including the Vatican. One such proposal is that unmarried couples could have access to artificial insemination (AI). The wording of the provision does however mean that lesbian couples and single women would not be able to use AI.

© 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: 02 April 2002   Date Updated: 12 September 2004
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