In a controversial move, Italy has banned fertility treatments for homosexuals and anyone not in a stable relationship.
The legislation, passed by the Italian Senate today, covers the use of donor sperm, eggs and surrogate mothers.
Artificial fertilization will now be limited to “heterosexual couples in stable relationships,” specifically excluding gay couples, single women and women who want to use sperm from a deceased partner.
Passed by the Senate 169-90, the bill now goes to the lower house Chamber of Deputies for small changes.
The text will likely remain unchanged before it becomes law.
Besides limiting in vitro fertilization to straight, “stable” couples, the law specifies that such couples can only apply for assistance at government-approved centers.
These centers will only be allowed to create three embryos for each couple through artificial insemination, and all must be implanted in the womb—none can be stored or used for research.
The bill divided the center-right government and the opposition center-left and was supported by the far right and the Roman Catholic Church.
Opponents accused the Senate of bowing to pressure from the Roman Catholic Church, describing the bill as one of the most backward laws in Europe and “medieval”—Italy is the only European country to ban third-party insemination.
Italy’s Catholic bishops in turn attacked what they called the “anti-clericalism, free-masonry, liberalism, bad faith, ignorance and economic interests” of the bill’s opponents.