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Miguel Mejía faced the judges of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Wednesday in San José. In a wheelchair, he pleaded for the court to reinstate the right for couples in Costa Rica to have children through in vitro fertilization.

Mejía was paralyzed below the waist by an accident, preventing him from fathering children. His wife divorced him and had a child with her current husband.

 “[I ask the court] not only for me, but also so that this doesn’t happen to future couples, what has happened here for the last decade,” Mejía said.

Mejía was one of the 18 people who filed a lawsuit against the state of Costa Rica for banning in vitro fertilization in 2000. Costa Rica remains the sole country in the Americas to maintain the ban.

The lawsuit, filed at the Washington, D.C.-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, resulted in Costa Rica receiving an ultimatum in 2010: Legalize the procedure or go to court and risk expensive financial penalties.

Lawmakers unsuccessfully have attempted to pass legislation legalizing the practice on several occasions. Meanwhile, the human...