Thursday, 19 Feb, 2009 Offbeat

Italian Woman to Be Inseminated With Sperm from Comatose Husband


A well-known gynecologist from Italy looks forward to artificially inseminate a woman with sperm taken from her husband, who is in coma due to brain cancer. According to press reports, the decision of Severino Antinori is the first in the country to be highly criticized by Vatican.

Italian daily newspaper, entitled "Corriere della Sera", published an interview with the doctor who said that he made his decision based on the fact that there's a woman whose primary wish is to become a mother and who wishes to "overcome the immense sadness".

The Italian doctor became very popular in the country because of his rather controversial decisions of helping post-menopausal women to get pregnant. He even got a nickname, which is "the grandmother's obstetrician".

It is worth mentioning that the in vitro fertilization using the sperm of a comatose man is the first in Italy, the Italian newspaper said. On February 17 Dr Antinori, extracted the sperm. He stated that the whole procedure would take about a month.

According to another daily newspaper, "La Republica" the woman lives in Vigevano, northern Italy. She is 32 and her husband is 35. When woman's husband developed brain cancer in January, the couple decided to have a baby.

The Italian doctor says that what he is about to do is absolutely legal since the idea was protected by a court verdict that gave permission to extract the sperm and a law on assisted reproduction. However, a Vatican prelate criticized the idea, saying that it is "illegal".

"The consent of both parents is needed for an act of procreation. In this case the husband is treated merely as a receptacle of cells," said Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, the president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

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