‘Let infertile couple use donors’: Italian court

A court in Bologna has granted a couple the right to use donors in fertility treatment immediately, four years since they launched their legal battle to have a family, their lawyer told The Local.

'Let infertile couple use donors': Italian court
Couple elsewhere in Italy have already becoming pregnant through sperm or egg donors. Baby photo: Shutterstock

The Bologna court said the couple should immediately be given access to the fertility treatment, ending a legal battle which has lasted four years.

The couple first went to court in 2010 after being denied the use of a donor, despite the European Court of Human Rights saying the ban was illegitimate, Filomena Gallo from their legal team told The Local.

A breakthrough in their case came on April 9th, when Italy’s Constitutional Court ordered the nationwide ban be lifted as it went against people’s right to a family life. Although the decision stopped court proceedings in Bologna, as the couple can now legally access donors, the legal team went back to make an additional request.

“We had a follow-up audience after the ban was lifted and asked Judge Costanza if the court could order that the couple receive immediately treatment, as they have waited since 2010 and must not go on the waiting list,” Gallo said.

They request was granted and the couple is now allowed the go ahead with treatment “immediately”, while hundreds of other couples have joined lengthy waiting lists in recent months.

Gallo said the couple is “happy about the great news” and plan to get in touch with the fertility clinic once they return from holiday.

Responding to the ruling, local councillor Carlo Lusenti said he had urged the health commission from the Conference of the Regions to take action, to draw up guidelines for how the treatment should be managed. The commission is due to draw up new norms by September 1st, Lusenti told La Repubblica.

Some Italians couples have already been able to access egg and sperm donors. Just weeks after the ban was lifted, three couples in Rome announced they were pregnant. 

READ MORE: First Italian pregnant after egg donor ban lift

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Hot waiting room costs Sicilian hospital €2m gift

An Italian-American philanthropist wanted to donate €2 million to a hospital in Ragusa, Sicily, but left before writing a cheque after being forced to wait too long in a sweaty waiting room.

Hot waiting room costs Sicilian hospital €2m gift
The benefactor was made to wait in a stuffy waiting room. Photo Erich Ferdinand/Flickr

The would-be benefactor, Pippo Giuffrè, was hoping to donate the money to the new Giovanni Paolo II hospital.

However, when he went to meet the general manager of the regional health authority, Maurizio Aricò, in order make the donation, he was put in a waiting room while the health authority's lawyer was sent for.

Not happy with being made to wait, Giuffrè slipped out the back door.

“The lawyer was only in the courtrooms, just 700 meters away, but by the time he arrived Giuffrè was gone,” Aricò told La Repubblica.

But Giuffrè's lawyer, Michele Sbezzi, told a different side to the story.

“We were made to wait in a boiling hot waiting room for a long time, until my client decided enough was enough and he wanted to leave.”

The lost donation has caused considerable embarrassment to the regional health authority.

The money would have been a welcome boost to their less than healthy coffers, and would have allowed them to buy new equipment for the hospital.

The president of the local health commission, Pippo Digiacomo, told Il Fatto Quotidiano he was mortified by the incident and apologized.

“I'm sure it's all just a simple misunderstanding, which can be worked out,” he added.

But Giuffè's lawyer seemed to think otherwise, suggesting that the rich benefactor had undergone a change of heart following the incident.

“I don't think he still plans to donate to the hospital,” he said. “But I'm sure the money will be donated, just maybe in different ways.” 

Giuffrè emigrated from Ragusa to New York in 1953 and made his fortune selling cars.

Since then he has often returned home and is involved in many charitable projects throughout the city.