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Part of Italian IVF law struck down

Aug. 28, 2012 at 2:27 PM

STRASBOURG, France, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Italy's ban on screening embryos used for in vitro fertilization for disease violates the rights of couples using the procedure, a European court ruled Tuesday.

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights does not affect other parts of the law, which bars the use of embryos for research, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. The court ruled in the case of a couple who wanted to determine whether embryos suffered from cystic fibrosis.

The law has been in place for four years. As a result, many Italians seeking to use in vitro fertilization have been leaving the country for the procedure.

"It's a very important victory that gives a hard blow to the prohibitionist system of Italian law on IVF," said Filomena Gallo, secretary of the Luca Coscioni, an organization that advocates for scientific research.

The court ordered the Italian government to pay the couple involved 17,500 euros (about $22,000) compensation.

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