Legal adventures 1: Italian IVF baby removed from elderly "narcissistic" parents

Michael Cook
3 Nov 2012
Reproduced with Permission

A girl conceived with donated eggs and sperm for an elderly Italian couple will be put up for adoption after a court found that they were too narcissistic and negligent to care for her properly.

The case of 71-year-old Luigi De Ambrosis and his 59-year-old wife Gabriella has sparked a debate in Italy over older mothers. The couple resorted to artificial means in an overseas clinic after repeated applications to adopt a child had been denied. The child, identified only as Viola, is now two-and-a half years old and is living with a foster family.

The court declared that the couple were negligent and cited times when they appear to have abandoned the baby in their car while they were shopping or because it was crying. Prosecutors presented psychiatric profiles which described them as "narcissistic" and uncaring. The couple have denied all this.

The present judgement affirms last year's scathing decision by a Turin court. "They never thought about the fact that their daughter would be orphaned at a very young age, and before that would be forced to care for her elderly parents," a four-judge panel declared. The child was "the fruit of a distorted application of the enormous possibilities offered by genetic progress".

The parents plan to appeal to the Supreme Court, in Rome.