After Alabama Court Rules Embryos Are Children, IVF Moms React: ‘I’m Horrified’

Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos legally qualify as living children.[1] As a result, the state’s largest hospital system, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), has paused in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment while it determines whether patients or doctors may face criminal charges. consequences for the use of reproductive assistance.[2]

“We are saddened that this will affect our patients’ attempts to have a baby through IVF,” UAB spokeswoman Savannah Koplon wrote in a statement, as reported by AP news.

IVF relies on creating a number of fertilized embryos outside the uterus and then implanting one or two of the healthiest at a time. Additional healthy embryos are often frozen for future use. This decision questions whether providers and patients can continue to freeze embryos created during fertility treatments and whether they can donate or destroy unused or abnormal embryos.

In the US, practitioners perform more than 413,000 assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles annually, including 168,000 egg or embryo banking cycles where the results are frozen for future use.[3] About 97,000 babies are born each year through the use of ART.

“If the policy outcomes mandated under this decision stand, the consequences will be profound,” said Paula Amato, MD, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, in a statement.[4] “Modern fertility care is not available to the people of Alabama, which should not prevent them from building the families they want.”

What members of the What to Expect Community have to say

“I was an IVF patient and when Roe v. Wade was struck down, the full impact of IVF resonated. Fortunately, I live in the Northeast and my embryos are stored in New York state where we cannot need to worry about such a law.. It boggles my mind that they say all embryos are unborn children. The truth is that most embryos have chromosomal abnormalities that make them incompatible with life! You can force someone transfers 10 abnormal embryos and none of them survive, so how is throwing them away or donating them to science any different? It’s just a way the men in government want to control our reproductive rights. ” — klzjmz

“I live in the South (not Alabama) and I am worried that something like this could happen in my state. I have three embryos in storage and I am very scared.” — sarahsb22

“[This is] why when we started our IVF journey in 2021, I pushed such an aggressive schedule. The doctor was surprised when I told him my concerns, my husband thought I was crazy … but here we are. We had to go through multiple rounds to get more take and [intracytoplasmic sperm injection] from which we obtained four viable embryos. Our first was born in December 2022, I am due next month with our second and last. We will have two remaining frozen embryos that we are not using, but plan to keep [them] in storage at least for now (as long as it remains legal here).” — TB29

“I just renewed my cryopreservation for another year, and now I regret it. I’m moving on in life, I need to let them go. Even though I’ve paid, I still might make the hasty decision to discard them and not even play games with other options. My embryos were in Georgia, so not too different from Alabama in terms of philosophies about ‘life.'” — -TheCalculator-

“I’m from Alabama, and I’m scared. I’m embarrassed, but I hope the Senate passes the proposed Access to the Family Building Act … I do not understand the level of inhumanity that allows a couple to file a lawsuit that jeopardizes the very treatment that allowed themselves to become parents. I do not understand the religious extremism that takes a pro-life stance to seek to take away the thousands of lives that are brought to our country every year through IVF. Modern medicine is a blessing and a miracle. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, should we accept that it is God’s will and not give chemotherapy or other life-saving interventions? Absurd. I want to be compassionate to people of all viewpoints, but I just don’t understand.” — ceooo

“I just don’t really understand. [As an] IVF mother to two beautiful girls, the embryos in a petri dish are alive in the same way that a seed is alive. They are not yet implanted in the uterus, they have no blood, no nervous system. Many of them are genetically abnormal and will result in miscarriages. But men who have no idea how the female reproductive system works will make laws about it…” — Cranberry53

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