The state of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the United States

by | Jun 18, 2024 | Fertility Law |

In vitro fertilization has become a hot topic in U.S. state legislature over the past several months, with the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos are children being the most significant. The repercussion of this decision is that frozen embryos now have the same rights as a living person in Alabama and, thus, the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act applies if the embryos are destroyed. This has caused many IVF clinics in the state of Alabama to close or put a temporary stop to their services due to fear of liability for any damaged or destroyed embryos.  


What does this mean for families in Alabama and the rest of the US who rely on IVF to have children? 

 As a consequence of the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, those trying to have a child via IVF have had to travel to other states to start, or continue, their journey. Unfortunately, the ruling has had a ripple effect that has prompted other states to reconsider their position on in vitro fertilization. Over ten states are already considering fetal personhood bills, including Florida, Oklahoma, and Iowa, and efforts by the federal and other state legislatures to protect IVF have been unsuccessful thus far. In recent weeks, Missouri lawmakers were unsuccessful in passing legislation that would guarantee access to IVF. This leaves couples wanting to proceed with IVF in the state, and elsewhere, with the same trepidation as those in Alabama. 

It must also be noted that fetal personhood laws will not only affect access to IVF but will also be used to criminalize pregnant people and their medical providers and limit access to reproductive health decisions. 


Why IVF is so important to many 

 With all this uncertainty surrounding the future of IVF, many wonder if in vitro fertilization will still be an option for those who struggle with infertility and other complications when it comes to having children. Despite what is viewed as a moral dilemma by some, IVF is crucial to family building for countless people across the world. Without it, many couples would not be able to have children of their own. Fetal personhood laws affect not only IVF but they target people’s rights to make decisions over their bodies and families.  Lawmakers and voters must take action now to prevent these laws from becoming the norm.