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STRASBOURG

ECtHR rejects Parrillo embryo appeal

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Strasbourg, August 27 - The European Court of Human
Rights (ECtHR) on Thursday turned down an appeal by Adelina
Parrillo, an Italian woman who wants to donate her frozen
embryos to science, ruling that Italy's 2004 law banning the
destruction of human embryos does not violate her right to
privacy or property.
In 2002, Parrillo and late life partner Stefano Rolla
created five embryos and had them frozen for future
implantation.
Rolla, a film director, died the following year at the age
of 66 in a suicide bombing attack on Italian military police
headquarters in Nasiriyah, Iraq, that took the lives of 19
Carabinieri policemen, four Army soldiers and two civilians.
In her appeal filed on July 26, 2011, Parrillo argued that
Italy's restrictive law on assisted reproduction - which banned
most assisted fertility techniques including the use of
anonymous donor gametes and the freezing of embryos for future
use - violated her rights to privacy and to private property
because the embryos were generated before the law went into
effect.
This was the only reason she and her deceased partner had
been able to freeze them instead of having them implanted
immediately, she argued.
"Human embryos can't be reduced to a piece of property, as
defined in...the European Convention on Human Rights," the court
wrote.
The judges also found there was no evidence to support
Parrillo's claim that her late partner had wanted the couple's
embryos donated to science.
Italy's controversial 2004 law on assisted reproduction was
effectively struck down last June when the supreme Court of
Cassation lifted a ban on the use of extramarital gametes for
assisted fertilization.
In April the Constitutional Court had ruled that a couple's
right to have a child was inviolable even in the case of
sterility, overruling a 2004 ban on donor sperm and eggs that
did not come from a spouse.
The hot-button case of assisted fertility had pitted
Catholics against members of the scientific community who
had called for a wider review of the law, which among other
measures banned the screening of embryos for abnormalities or
genetic disorders - even for couples with a family history of
genetic disease.
The ECtHR in 2012 had already rejected most of the law,
saying it went against several provisions in its convention for
the protection of human rights.
Under the law - which was originally passed by a
cross-party alliance of Catholics - single parents, same-sex
couples and women beyond child-bearing age were essentially
banned from using assisted-fertility techniques that were
available to married heterosexual couples.

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