Brooklyn Journal of International Law

First Page



Adelina Parrillo never anticipated starting a prolonged legal battle when she requested her embryos be donated for scientific research. The restrictive legislation in place in Italy, inevitably influenced by the Catholic Church, mandated that she either implant the embryos or store them indefinitely. After a long drawn out battle with the Italian courts, she desperately sought assistance from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), a court tasked with protecting the rights of individuals such as Parrillo from the overreaching of Member States. The ECtHR) acknowledged that this decision, to donate her unused embryos to medical research, was within the realm of her private life, yet awarded deference to the restrictive law Italy had in place. This Note reflects on the historical reasons for Italy’s restrictive laws concerning in vitro fertilization and why these laws are indelibly infringing on the laws of its citizens. While acknowledging this failure, this Note argues that the ECtHR’s decision to uphold this law contradicts both the purpose of the court as well as the prior case law the court established to protect an individual’s right to a private life. In order to respect and protect the rights of individuals choosing to utilize in vitro fertilization, this Note proposes the implementation of legislation, modeled after Swiss legislation, that will both address many of the concerns of the Catholic Church while simultaneously protecting the rights of individuals such as Adelina Parrillo.