Italian outrage over double surrogacy

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In an unusual case of surrogate motherhood, an Italian woman is pregnant with the babies of two different couples. The 35-year-old woman, who is three-months pregnant, offered to carry both foetuses when she learned her doctor was having trouble finding surrogate mothers, Corriere della Sera reported yesterday.

To circumvent Italian medical rules designed to prevent surrogacy, the procedure was carried out in Switzerland, where the woman also plans to give birth. After their birth, the babies will be matched to the right parents through a blood test.

The Italian media identified the woman only as Angela, a mother of two living in Rome. In an interview with the Turin newspaper La Stampa, the woman said she was receiving only expenses.

Health minister Rosy Bindi said the case had: "brought us to limits never before crossed" and called for a law to regulate surrogate motherhood.

Dr Aldo Pagni, head of the Italian physicians association, said disciplinary action should be brought against the doctor responsible for the treatment.

Father Gino Concetti, a Roman Catholic moral theologian, whose views are close to those of Pope John Paul, said the pregnancy was "a new step towards madness". The Catholic Church opposes all forms of artificial human conception, including test-tube fertilisation and surrogacy. AP/Reuters, Rome