Saturday, February 13, 2010

New paper on assisted reproduction in Italy

For the Italian readers: I just published the paper La procreazione medicalmente assistita tra diritto e clinica: il ruolo del medico (Medically assisted reproduction between legal and clinical practice: the role of the physician) in 'Pratica Medica e Aspetti Legali', an Italian medical journal published by SEEd edizioni, in which I discuss the professional, legal and ethical responsibility of physicians that arises under Italian law whenever a couple seeks treatment for infertility or sterility. Here is the abstract:

In Italy, assisted reproduction is regulated by a variety of sources, the most important being Law 40/2004. The paper discusses how the tight legal framework allocates ample discretion to physicians who play a major role in various aspects of assisted reproduction – namely in implementing a gatekeeping role whenever a couple applies for access to assisted reproduction, in choosing the techniques that better suits the couple, and in performing preimplantation embryo testing aiming to select which embryo (or embryos) is suitable for implantation. The paper also highlights the professional, legal and ethical responsibility of physicians that arises whenever a couple seeks treatment for infertility or sterility.
Recent developments of ART in Italy: Upon acceptance of the paper, on January 14, 2010, a judge in Salerno ruled that a couple has a right to request that preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is performed on embryos even is such couple is not infertile or sterile in the sense that the couple cannot have children naturally. Carrying the genes responsible for spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (SMA1), the couple applied to the court for recognition of the right to take advantage of PGD arguing that, although technically fertile and not sterile, they could not have babies because they were not willing to procreate a baby with the risk of the baby carrying the SMA1 gene. The court agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered that PGD is performed on the embryos to be transferred.

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