Court finds Italian parents too old to raise child

The couple, 70 and 57 years old, lost custody of their toddler daughter after a judge ruled they were too old and selfish to raise her.

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ROME // A court in Italy has ruled that the 70 and 57-year old parents of a toddler are "too old" and selfish to raise her and have recommended she be put up for adoption, Italian media reported on Friday.

The 18-month old girl, known as "Viola", was conceived with the help of artificial insemination after the couple's repeated applications to adopt a child were turned down on the basis that they were too old.

"They never thought about the fact that their daughter would be orphaned at a very young age, and before that would be forced to care for her elderly parents," ruled four judges in a Turin court in northern Italy.

The child is "the fruit of a distorted application of the enormous possibilities offered by genetic progress," they said.

The couple were reported to social services by neighbours after they left the infant alone in a car for a few minutes late one evening, and "Viola" was immediately taken into care.

The judges ruled that librarian Gabriella De Ambrosis and her retired husband Luigi were driven by "a narcissistic need to have a child" and showed "indifference with regard to the child's perspective."

The couple, who married in 1990 when Gabrielle was 36 and spent years trying to conceive naturally, are planning to appeal the ruling, their lawyer said.