Embryo Loss Is Integral to IVF. Alabama’s Ruling Equating Embryos with Children Jeopardizes Its Practice

February 22, 2024

Researcher using a pipette and a petri dish

(STAT News) – While embryos can be transferred without freezing, cryopreservation helps avoid transferring multiple embryos at once and allows for delayed transfer when, for instance, someone is undergoing medical treatments such as chemotherapy.

This means frozen embryos, as well as embryos that end up being lost because they aren’t implanted, are necessary parts of IVF. But based on the Alabama ruling, handling them could expose IVF clinic staff to criminal or civil charges. The decision doesn’t lay out scenarios in which someone may be prosecuted, but practitioners worry that any potential damage from the routine handling of frozen embryos could result in legal issues. And the ruling also raises risks for institutions that use embryos for stem cell research. (Read More)