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Italian fertility laws too strict, says opposition

8 December 2003
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 237

Italian lawmakers are campaigning for stricter national regulation of the field of assisted reproductive technology. In a debate on new fertility laws that took place in the Senate last week, legislators from a variety of political backgrounds called Italy the 'Wild West of assisted reproduction', because people can travel to the country for many controversial treatments that are not available in their own countries. The proposed new law is very restrictive, and has been condemned by scientists worldwide and many female parliamentarians as 'medieval'.

The debate took place two days after the Senate approved, by 141 votes to 122, the first of 18 articles of the controversial bill on assisted procreation. Senators confirmed the text passed by the lower House in June 2002: 'In order to favour the solution of reproduction problems stemming from sterility or infertility, the used of assisted procreation is allowed, with the conditions included in this law, which insures the rights of all the subjects involved, including the conceived. The use of assisted procreation is allowed when no other efficient treatment to remove the causes of sterility or infertility exist.'

The new law proposes, among other restrictions, a number of different bans on research using embryos, as well as bans on embryo freezing, donor insemination and the provision of any assisted reproduction treatment for single women. It also says that no more than three eggs can be fertilised at any one time, and that any eggs fertilised must all be transferred to the uterus simultaneously.

Last week, over 500 amendments to the bill were presented to the Senate. Those in opposition to the new laws hope that at least one amendment will be approved, forcing the discussion back to the Italian parliament for a third time. 'Scientific research will be cut off in Italy', said Ermanno Greco, from the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at Rome's European Hospital. 'This law will prevent scientists from working on some of the main trends in fertility research: embryos as a source of stem cells and genetic investigations to prevent diseases', he added. The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) condemned the proposed new laws as 'disastrous'.

Italy faces strict embryo rules
The Scientist |  5 December 2003
11 April 2005 - by BioNews 
A public referendum on Italy's controversial assisted reproduction laws will be held on 12 June, Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu announced last week. The ballot was approved by Italy's highest court last year after the country's Radical Party collected the 500,000 signatures necessary to call for a referendum. However, the public...
17 January 2005 - by BioNews 
Italy's highest court has approved a series of referendums on whether parts of its controversial new fertility law should be overhauled. However, the constitutional court rejected calls for a referendum on completely scrapping the law, instead allowing a public vote on some of its elements. These will include rules limiting...
27 September 2004 - by BioNews 
Italy may hold a referendum on whether its fertility laws should be overturned. The country's Radical Party have been collecting signatures and says that it is close to the required total of 500,000 signatures needed to call for the referendum. The drive to overturn the law has divided both main...
16 August 2004 - by BioNews 
Italy's restrictive fertility laws, passed in February this year, are making it harder for couples to receive fertility treatment in the country, as well as causing a decline in the success rate of the treatments that do take place. Since the law was passed, the success rate for fertility treatments...
9 July 2004 - by BioNews 
Restrictive Italian fertility laws, passed in February this year, have been shown to be 'mediaeval' and are again under debate, reports the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The law on IVF procedures requires that no more than three eggs can be fertilised at once, and that all eggs fertilised must be...
17 June 2002 - by BioNews 
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...
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