Leading fertility doctor accused of stealing woman's eggs
A pioneering Italian fertility doctor accused of forcibly harvesting women's eggs has denounced the allegations against him as a witch hunt, amid a widening investigation into the industry.
Severino Antinori, known in Italy as the "grandmothers' obstetrician", has been put under house arrest and his medical licence suspended while he is investigated over the claims.
Dr Antinori is also accused of paying women up to €1,000, which is illegal under Italian fertility laws.
His arrest was triggered by a complaint by a 24-year-old Spanish woman who claimed her eggs were taken without her consent last month at the physician's clinic in Milan.
According to Italian investigators, the woman, who was working as a nurse at the clinic, claims she was forcibly immobilised and anaesthetised before her eggs were surgically harvested against her will.
Deprived of her phone, she called emergency services from a clinic telephone, leading to the investigation. She claims she believed she was being treated for an ovarian cyst.
However, one of Dr Antinori's lawyers, Tommaso Pietrocarlo, said that the woman signed a consent form for egg donation a month before the surgery after a "consultation with a psychologist" who said she was conscious of the choice and said that it "did not pose any problem".
"This is a persecution. I never forced anyone to do anything," Dr Antinori said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)