The court has ruled in favour of the pre-examination of embryos in cases of in vitro fertilization.
Under Italian law, such examination of embryos -- notably to find signs of genetic illnesses -- is prohibited, with embryos having to be implanted immediately in a mother's uterus.
But in its ruling Wednesday, the Latium administrative tribunal -- which covers the Rome region -- said the ban amounted to "an abuse of power". It also questioned the fact that, by law, no more than three embryos can be implanted.
The ruling now goes to Italy's constitutional court for review, but it was enough to cheer the groups supporting a relaxation of legislation governing assisted reproduction.
"It is a great day for all couples who no longer have to renounce having a child because they are afraid of passing along a grave illness," said Filomena Gallo, a lawyer for the Amica Cigogna (Friend of the Stork) organization.
Plans to make assisted reproduction easier to get in Italy were put to a referendum in June 2005 in the face of strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, only to fail due to low voter turnout.