"They are always subjected to exceptions and must be proportional and incremental," she said.
Costa Rican Attorney General Ana Lorena Brenes told reporters, "We don't agree with it, but that doesn't mean that the country won't respect the judges' decision."
In-vitro fertilization was introduced to Costa Rica in 1996 by a doctor who helped couples give birth to 15 babies over four years. It provoked strong opposition from conservative groups and the Roman Catholic Church, which campaigned against the technique because it led to the disposal of fertilized eggs.
In 2001, 18 people brought a complaint before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights after Costa Rica became the only Latin American country to bar in-vitro fertilization.
Costa Rican couples with enough money traveled to clinics in Panama, where hundreds of Costa Rican babies were born with the technique. One of the arguments the plaintiffs made before the Inter-American Commission was that the ban was a form of discrimination against poorer families.
The human rights commission ruled against Costa Rica and in 2010, after the failure of a congressional reform, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights took up the case, hearing testimony from both sides before issuing its binding ruling.
The regional court not only struck down the ban December 20 but said it was requiring Costa Rica to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation to the complainants and pay for in-vitro fertilization for low-income couples through its social security system.
The United States is one of 12 countries that have either not ratified the American Convention on Human Rights or have pulled out of it due to objections that it violates their national sovereignty.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.