Man in coma made father without consent.
ROME – Prominent Italian gynecologist Severino Antinori will artificially inseminate a woman with the sperm of her comatose husband, in a first in Italy that has drawn Vatican criticism, press reports said on Wednesday.
“I decided to act because … there’s a woman who wants to become a mother to overcome the immense sadness” brought about by the brain cancer that put her husband in a coma, Antinori told the leading Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
Antinori is well known in Italy for controversially helping post-menopausal women to bear children, earning himself the nickname of “the grandmother’s obstetrician”.
The in vitro fertilisation of the woman will be the first in Italy using the sperm of a man in a coma, Corriere said.
Antinori, who extracted the sperm on Tuesday, told reporters he would carry out the procedure in about a month.
The daily La Repubblica reported that the couple live in Vigevano, northern Italy, and that the husband is 35 and the wife is 32.
The couple had decided to have a child when the husband developed brain cancer a month ago, the report said.
Antinori said he is protected by a court decree authorising the extraction of the sperm as well as a law on assisted procreation.
But a Vatican prelate blasted the plan as “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,” Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, the president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told Corriere.