EU Court Rules on in Vitro Dispute

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The European Court of Justice, clarifying an Austrian labor dispute, ruled against a Salzburg woman's claim that she had been entitled to labor protection when she was fired while pursuing in vitro fertilization.

The woman argued that she was technically already pregnant when her eggs were fertilized — but not yet implanted — and hence was entitled to full pay and protection from dismissal under EU labor legislation.

The fertilized eggs were implanted three days after she was dismissed from her job at a bakery in March 2005.

In its ruling Tuesday, the EU court said that under such an argument, women could delay having fertilized eggs implanted for years and claim unfair dismissal by saying they are pregnant.

Rather, the EU high court ruled that the Austrian court need only assess whether in vitro fertilization was considered by her employers as grounds for dismissal.

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