An Italian court has ruled that the 70 and 57-year-old parents of a toddler are too old to raise her and have recommended she be put up for adoption.
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, RTE reports.
The court, held in Turin in northern Italy, ruled that the couple “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".
The child is "the fruit of a distorted application of the enormous possibilities offered by genetic progress," they added.
The court also heard that the couple had had problems taking care of the little girl, including a report that "she was kept in the nursery for five days because the mother didn't feel up to having her in the room with her."
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, 57, and her retired husband Luigi, 70, 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.