A controversial law on assisted fertility has been approved by Croatia’s parliament, though the opposition claims it sends the country back to the Middle Ages.
The new, more restrictive legislation replaces rules in place since 1978 when Croatia was part of the former Yugoslavia. Branding the new measures retrograde and not in keeping with modern times, opposition deputies left the chamber. But the ruling conservatives defend the law as an improvement. Addressing his absent Social Democrat rivals, the health minster asked why the law wasn’t dealt with in 2002. “Why was there no courage to deal with this law that unlocks moral, ethical and religious questions?” he demanded. The new legislation forbids the freezing of embryos, which was authorized previously. It also limits the number of embryos used in IVF to 3. And for unmarried couples to receive treatment they must prove they have been together for at least three years.