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Demosthenes's avatar

What do you think is the future of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the United States?

Asked by Demosthenes (14902points) 1 month ago

A recent Alabama state supreme court decision has declared that frozen embryos have the same rights as children, thus they cannot be discarded as often occurs in IVF (with some clinics indicating the embryos may simply stay frozen forever, to avoid violating the law). I don’t personally know anyone who’s conceived via IVF; it’s not something I know much about, but it reminds me of the controversy over embryonic stem cell research. Clinics across Alabama are suspending IVF treatments as a result of this ruling. Do you think this will spread beyond Alabama?

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37 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I think that this movement to declare non-viable extra-utero embryos as persons with full rights is an asinine stunt, another attempt to return to barbarism, as infertility is traditi9nally considered to be a woman’s issue.
The good news is that there are procedures that are almost as good, but won’t cover the full array of possibilities as IVF.
For example, GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer) won’t work for surrogacy, and inquires an invasive procedure with every attempt.

This burden on the systems that can enhance the life choices of American families is another cruel move by moronic evangelicals to subjugate women. And yes, I know the statistics about men and women being equally infertile, but the mentality behind these measures is taking us back hundreds of years, replacing science with prejudice and misogyny.

It is disgusting.

ragingloli's avatar

Hey, at least you can now have as many “children” as you want for tax purposes.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@ragingloli Does that also mean that embryos can now apply for welfare/social assistance too?

canidmajor's avatar

Typo: “requires” instead of “inquires”

elbanditoroso's avatar

This is going to go the same way that the Dobbs (abortion) decision went. Some states will allow it (NY, Illinois, California, Oregon) and others won’t. There will be no such thing as a national right any more.

There is hope that the overtly religious tone of the decision may be appealable. But that will take a while.

In the mean time, a whole lot of Alabamans who want to start families won’t be able to, because of some supposedly pro-life advocates. Maybe, in Alabama, that’s a good thing.

Blackberry's avatar

Just makes more people leave the state and ruin the economy. That’s why my small town has problems: people leave because of policies or small minded people.

RocketGuy's avatar

So frozen embryos are children in captivity? Will there be a push to thaw and grow them?

jca2's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 I gave you a GA because that was what I was wondering as well. I know in the office I worked in (government office that dealt with child protection as well as public assistance aka welfare), babies in the womb were given Medicaid, so the mother, if she wasn’t a citizen and therefore not eligible for Medicaid, could receive neonatal care for the pregnancy. I am wondering if there’s a way they’re going to apply for benefits for the embryo, if they’re saying it’s a life and a child.

elbanditoroso's avatar

What about income tax? If an embryo is a child, and I froze 10 embryos, can I declare 10 dependents on my state income tax?

What about federal income tax? Does the embryo have to be alive (i.e. born) to be declared?

I can see some major financial messes…..

jca2's avatar

All good and legitimate questions, @elbanditoroso.

Kropotkin's avatar

The reasoning given by the judge in this case was deranged, and not based on law but rather religious beliefs.

jca2's avatar

Another thing I’m wondering is, if the embryos are considered babies, then can the clinics that have the embryos then receive Medicaid for each one, based on that the embryos will need to be kept alive, with electricity, temperature controls, lab workers who have to tend to them, etc. So can the clinics get Medicaid for hundreds or possibly thousands of babies? That’s a lot of money – government money. It’s kind of crazy.

I feel bad for these people who are in the middle of procedures that they have sunk a lot of money into, and the women are in the middle of medication protocols so their bodies are receptive to the procedures, and now they say they are not allowed to take the embryos from the clinics, even though the embryos are considered “their children.”

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Kropotkin true, but at least for now, the law in that state, so it has to be followed.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I think that the judge was so enthralled with the biblical references he included, that he didn’t give a moment’s thought to the practicalities and details of the matter.

The consistent thing about Alabama is that they keep doing stupid things like this, year after year.

smudges's avatar

The “parents” have to be considered since the embryos likely don’t actually belong to the clinics; I mean, it’s not like they have donated embryos saved…they belong to the people who donated eggs (or sperm, although that’s unusual). If I saved eggs which were fertilized by someone of my choice, those are my embryos, not the clinics and there should be no problem implanting them.

canidmajor's avatar

@smudges: This is what set this whole thing off. ” MONTGOMERY, Ala.—The Alabama Supreme Court ruled last week that couples who were trying in vitro fertilization and lost frozen embryos in an accident at a south Alabama storage facility can sue under the state’s wrongful death law.”
From this:,the%20state's%20wrongful%20death%20law.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Why are eggs considered alive and not semen?

canidmajor's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1, this is about fertilized embryos, not eggs.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@canidmajor Ok Thanks. Begs the question why not unfertilized eggs or sperm? What happens at the other stages of life? Does the soul enter at conception?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@canidmajor I will ask in another question. To not derail this question. Thanks fur for your patience.

Jeruba's avatar

So in Alabama the people who want help with conception can’t have it, and the people who don’t want the babies are forced to have them. This is madness.

It would be rather callous to suggest that the unaborted infants be given to the would-be parents who couldn’t conceive, but it’s tempting.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’m sure that there is a racial element to this as well. In Alabama, there almost has to be.

smudges's avatar

@canidmajor Oh ok, that wasn’t referenced in the OP.

@Jeruba Well, not forced to have them…but forced to store them indefinitely or apparently be liable for their “death”. I don’t think anyone knows how long stored embryos are viable; the longest that one was stored which resulted in a pregnancy was 30 years. “A pair of twins born in late October [2022] arose from embryos that had been frozen for nearly 30 years, CNN reported.”

“Storage Fees: After freezing, there is an ongoing yearly maintenance fee for storage, which typically ranges from $400 to $600 per year. Some clinics may include up to one year of free storage in the base price of IVF.”

At any rate, I don’t think the judgement will stand. Someone will challenge it and win.

smudges's avatar

Clinics across Alabama are suspending IVF treatments as a result of this ruling.

As of 2 hours ago:
Well, three have. Yes, more may, but right now, it’s only three and another has assured patients that IVF treatments could continue. Just a little alarmist?

State legislators have already begun looking for a way to protect IVF services in the state.

jca2's avatar

I just googled to see how many IVF clinics are in Alabama and there are four total.

Jeruba's avatar

@smudges, I meant that the people who want abortions are forced to have the babies, while people who want babies are to be denied IVF. That paradox is suggested in my first paragraph, and an ironic solution in my second.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The couple may not be able to have children now, due to ‘negligence’ by the storage facility. It’s an important decision protecting the rights of those using IVF.

And I hate to tell you heathens but many Christians do not believe in IVF as a solution.

Once the clinics figure out legalities to protect themselves, it’ll be business as usual.

canidmajor's avatar

@KNOWITALL, hate to tell you zealots that taking choices away from everyone because you don’t want to do something is more than a bit self righteous, excessive, and frankly oppressive.

To legislate this way about what should be solely a civil case is irresponsible, at the very least.

zenvelo's avatar

If a frozen embryo in Alabama has all the rights of a child, that is granting the embryo citizenship, and grants the parents de facto green card status.

Talk about anchor babies!

smudges's avatar

@Jeruba …people who don’t want the babies are forced to have them.

“I meant that the people who want abortions are forced to have the babies,”

Ok, I didn’t understand that from your original statement. Agreed.

And as a person who couldn’t have children, I’ve been saying something similar to what you said in your second paragraph for years.

smudges's avatar

@zenvelo That will backfire just a bit on those who are so up-in-arms regarding wanting a southern border wall, huh?! :D

KNOWITALL's avatar

@canidmajor I agree it should be a civil case, sure.
What rights are they taking away?
Seems to me it’s protecting parents and embryos. I have several friends who chose IVF and I understand those are very important.

smudges's avatar

Trump is actually calling on Alabama legislature to take action to protect IVF services. He does have some brain cells!

RocketGuy's avatar

Well, Trump’s talent is marketing

Demosthenes's avatar

It’s definitely the kind of thing that can spark a moderate backlash, same with abortion bans. So I guess we’ll see if it has any effect on the election.

jca2's avatar

Someone wrote this on FB:

An egg is not a chicken.

A seed is not a flower.

An acorn is not a tree.

An embryo is not a baby.

Her body is not your body.

smudges's avatar

^^ ♡♡♡

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