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Italian courts lift ban on use of donor eggs and sperm

Several years ago Italy enacted the controversial “Law 40” which placed strict restrictions on those seeking IVF treatment and artificial insemination, banning the use of donor assisted conception, and denying fertility treatment to same-sex couples and single people. However, the Italian courts have now lifted a ban on the use of donor sperm and eggs, saying that the restriction was “unconstitutional.”

Although the ruling lifting the ban is effective immediately, there is some uncertainty within parliament as to how this ruling will be implemented. Lawyer Maria Paolo Costantini says that the parliament will re-introduce the rules that existed before Law 40 came into effect, so that the use of donor-assisted conception can begin immediately. Health minister Beatrice Lorenzin disagrees, saying that the issue needs to be debated in parliament before it can be implemented.

However parliament proceeds, this new ruling is good news for Italian citizens who have been forced to seek fertility treatments outside their country. According to Costantini:

“A conservative estimate is that 4,000 sterile couples went abroad in 2012 for a donor and in Spain 62 percent of couples seeking the procedure are Italian.”

Others, like oncologist Dr. Umberto Veronesi, a former health minister, applauded the ruling which overturns a law that forced couples to travel abroad for fertility treatments and that “denied a couple’s will and desire to become parents of a child they would raise with love.”

Read more about third party options here. 

Read more about the ruling here.

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