Intended for healthcare professionals


Italians fail to overturn restrictive reproduction law

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 16 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1405
  1. Fabio Turone
  1. Milan

    Only one Italian in four voted in the referendum last Sunday and Monday to modify the country's highly restrictive law on assisted reproduction. This number fell far short of the quorum of more than 50% needed to change the law.

    The referendum posed several questions about the law, which was approved last year by the centre right government (BMJ 2004;328: 9). It asked whether respondents wanted to lift the ban on the use of donated eggs and sperm, embryo research and freezing, and the fertilisation of more than three eggs at a time. It also asked whether doctors should continue to be obliged to implant into the womb immediately all embryos created by in vitro fertilisation (without the possibility of preimplantation diagnosis). Finally, it asked about cancelling the section of the law that defended the rights of all involved parties, including the embryo.

    Most of the scientific community sided with the referendum. Nobel laureates Rita Levi-Montalcini and Renato Dulbecco and the …

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