After Roe v. Wade: IVF and the fertility industry – Morning Brew

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As 26 states move to restrict abortions following the scrapping of Roe v. Wade, fertility industry professionals are also scrambling to make sense of what these laws mean for them.

States limiting abortion access are also developing their own interpretation of when life begins, and many lawmakers point to fertilization. Fertility doctors are worried new laws could make IVF treatments more expensive, more complicated, and legally uncertain for providers.

What is IVF? In vitro fertilization is the process of removing eggs from the ovaries, fertilizing them outside of the body, and then transferring the healthiest ones back into the uterus. The procedure is used by hundreds of thousands of patients each year including single people, surrogates, same-sex couples, and heterosexual couples experiencing infertility or medical complications.

IVF didnt exist before Roe, so providers and legal experts arent totally sure.

Focus is on the leftover embryos. Doctors usually fertilize multiple eggs, but only transfer a few back to the uterus per round of IVF. Patients can choose to freeze the rest for the future, donate them, or discard them. Its difficult to know just how many frozen embryos are currently stored by clinics in the US, but a RAND Corporation study from 20 years ago estimated that it was at least 400,000 at the time.

Some providers worry that vague wording in abortion laws or laws that define life as beginning at fertilization would apply to frozen embryos. In the last year, 10 states have proposed bills that would give frozen embryos personhood status. None have passed, but experts expect to see more of these kinds of bills, and eventually laws, crop up.

Big picture: Some fertility doctors had already moved frozen embryos out of anti-abortion states in preparation for the SCOTUS decision and subsequent state abortion restrictions.MM

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After Roe v. Wade: IVF and the fertility industry - Morning Brew

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