Croatia's parliament is to review a long-awaited bill on in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) which faced strong opposition from the country's powerful Catholic Church, a minister said Thursday.
"I believe we have formulated a bill which is acceptable for both the conservative part of Croatia, which forms a majority, and the liberal part," Health Minister Darko Milinovic told national radio.
AdvertisementAccording to the draft law to be forwarded to parliament within the next 10 days, infertility treatment would be allowed for married women only, a term that Milinovic labelled as "conservative."
At the same time, the legislation contains "liberal" provisions allowing egg and sperm donations, the minister added.
Under the new law, a child conceived by a donated egg or sperm would be able to obtain information about his or her biological parents once turning 18.
Such a provision was already condemned by local parents organisation RODA, which warned it could discourage potential donors.
Croatia's current law on medically assisted reproduction dates back to 1978, when the world's first "test-tube baby" was born. The former Yugoslav republic had its first IVF baby five years later.
A new bill had been in the offing since the late 1990s but never reached parliament.
Many believe this was due to strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church which sparked a vivid public debate in 2005 when it condemned IVF as a "crime against human life."
Medical sources estimate between 2,000 and 3,000 Croatian women suffer from infertility and are potential candidates for IVF treatment.
Due to the high number of failures with the procedure, many attempts are often necessary before a pregnancy succeeds.
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