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IVF Watch: Inter-American Court of Human Rights demands answers from noncompliant Costa Rica

June 12, 2015

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has ordered representatives of the Costa Rican government to appear at a hearing regarding the country’s noncompliance with a 2012 court ruling calling for the legalization of in vitro fertilization. Government representatives must attend the hearing at the San José-based court at 3 p.m. on September 3.

Costa Rica is (still) the only country in the Western Hemisphere to ban IVF.

Attorney Hubert May Cantillano, who represents plaintiff couples, said he received a request from the court to attend a hearing to discuss the government’s report on its efforts – or lack thereof.

“Two years and five months have passed since the government was notified of the ruling. They [officials] need to provide clear and updated information on their compliance with measures taken to implement, as soon as possible, IVF procedures in the country,” May said.

He also said that despite obstacles faced in the Legislative Assembly, the government is obliged to report on whether or not they are making progress, as well as any other legal options available to reinstate the procedure.

“The hearing will allow victims to speak and the court to respond” to the government’s report, May added.

Plaintiffs last May presented President Luis Guillermo Solís with a draft of an executive decree to reinstate IVF in the country as an alternative to a bill currently under discussion in the Assembly. That bill has long been stalled. Solís at the time said the country would comply with the court ruling within six months.

The court in December 2012 condemned Costa Rica for its ban on in vitro fertilization and ordered the country to legalize the practice — outlawed in 2000 by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court — within one year. But officials have failed to meet all of the deadlines set by the court, which Costa Rica fought for years to have located in its own capital.

The ruling demanded the state indemnify all of the couples who filed the lawsuit in amounts ranging from $5,000-$20,000 each.

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