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Row after Polish minister accuses Germany of embryo tests

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday he has "a problem" with his justice minister, who sparked a row by accusing Germany of embryo traffic and experimentation.

"Regarding Minister (Jaroslaw) Gowin, I admit there's a problem," Tusk told reporters, saying he was annoyed by the remarks.

Gowin has been all over Polish media since Friday, when he told the TVN24 news channel he suspects "German scientists are importing embryos from other countries, probably including Poland, and running experiments on them".

Such practices are illegal in Germany, which directed its Warsaw embassy to ask the Polish justice ministry to provide an explanation.

The conservative Catholic minister, a Tusk rival within their centrist governing party, accused the media of twisting his words.

He said he obtained the information five years ago from Polish doctors working at in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinics, without specifying their names.

Tusk called Gowin's explanations insufficient Wednesday and said he would wait until Monday to make a decision concerning his fate.

In the absence of a clear legal framework, IVF has spurred serious discussion among supporters and opponents of the method in heavily Catholic Poland.

Tusk's government has tried for years to pass an IVF law, incurring the wrath of the Catholic Church in the process.

Poles who currently want IVF -- a treatment that for some is the only way to have biological children -- have to cover all the costs themselves.

The conservative opposition Law and Justice party has pushed to ban IVF outright, proposing jail for anyone who opts for the method.

Last month, Tusk's government sidestepped the parliamentary conflict over the issue and opted for a ministerial decree.

It introduced a three-year national IVF programme that will provide funding for 15,000 couples starting July.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130424/row-after-polish-minister-accuses-germany-embryo-tests