San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
In vitro defiance

Costa Rica to pay $420,000 for banning in vitro fertilization

The government of Costa Rica will pay $360,000 in compensation to 18 couples who were affected by the country’s ban on in vitro fertilization, and lawyers who represented them will receive $60,000 in fees.

Each of the couples will receive $20,000 on Feb. 25 “in compliance with the order issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” Communications Minister Francisco Chacón said on Tuesday.

Health Minister Daisy Corrales said officials have set a timetable to ensure prompt submission of a bill for regulating IVF at the Social Security System, or Caja. A first draft bill will be presented to President Laura Chinchilla no later than March 1, and will then be submitted for study by the Legislative Assembly on March 11.

On Jan. 22, Caja physicians began offering court-ordered psychological therapy to the victims in the case, which is expected to end March 6.

On Dec. 20, the human rights court ruled against the Costa Rican government for prohibiting IVF based on a previous ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court issued in 2000.

In its judgment, the court ruled that the ban “affected the rights to private and family life, procreation rights and the personal integrity of victims.”

The justices said that “the decision to become a parent belongs to the right to privacy and includes, in this case, the decision to become a mother or father in the genetic or biological sense.”

The court ordered the restoration of the right to assisted reproduction, and the government promised to implement the judgment in its entirety.

The ban on IVF was promoted by religious conservative sectors, arguing that it is a violation of the constitutional right to life, because it requires the destruction of unused embryos.

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