An Italian referendum on relaxing fertility laws has failed to reach the 50% turnout figure necessary for it to be valid. Government figures showed that just 24% of Italian voters cast their ballots in the two-day referendum. The Catholic Church in Italy had encouraged voters to boycott the vote on moral grounds. Until recently Italy had become one of the most liberal countries in the world in the field of assisted conception. One fertility doctor there was helping women in their 60s to become pregnant. The current legislation forbids embryo research. It limits the number of embryos created for a fertility treatment to three, all of which have to be implanted at the same time. It also forbids sperm and egg donation, and bans screening embryos for disease. The referendum result means that these laws will continue to operate.
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