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University of Alabama at Birmingham pauses IVF services after court rules that embryos are children

By 37ci3 Feb22,2024

Less than a week after the Alabama Supreme Court decision embryos created by in vitro fertilization The University of Alabama at Birmingham, which is considered a child, has suspended IVF treatments to review the legal ramifications of the decision.

“We regret that this will affect our patients’ attempts to conceive through IVF, but we must appreciate the potential that our patients and doctors may face criminal charges or penalties for following the standard of care for IVF treatments.” UAB spokeswoman Hannah Echols said in a statement to NBC News.

The practice of IVF involves combining sperm and eggs in a laboratory to create an embryo, and then implanting one or more of those embryos into a person’s uterus.

Echols said Wednesday that UAB’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility continues to offer egg retrieval, the process of collecting eggs from one or both ovaries. But it will no longer fertilize eggs or develop embryos, Echols said.

The university’s announcement is the first major fallout from a court ruling that has left providers and patients reeling. Not sure how to handle the IVF process.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday that a man entered an unlocked storage area at a fertility clinic in Mobile, Alabama and dumped several frozen embryos.

The court found that failure to secure that storage area violated the state’s Wrongful Death Act — which makes it a civil tort to cause someone’s death without reason or negligence — because the frozen embryos were considered human.

The decision “does not create criminal liability for IVF providers in IVF practice [or] Creating embryos for IVF,” said Gail Deady, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

But reproductive health experts are unsure how the law will be interpreted in future cases.

“This brutal verdict and the subsequent decision by the UAB health system are dire signals of what’s to come across the country,” he said.

The organization said UAB was “forced to make an impossible decision: stop IVF procedures for those hoping to start a family or put their patients and doctors at risk of prosecution”.

On Wednesday, the Alabama Medical Association urged the Alabama Supreme Court to reconsider or halt its ruling so residents can continue IVF.

“The ruling has already forced UAB, Alabama’s largest health care system, to stop providing IVF services to Alabama couples. Others will likely do the same, leaving little or no alternative to assisted reproduction,” he said.

It added that the decision “will likely lead to fewer babies – children, grandchildren, siblings and cousins ​​- limiting fertility opportunities for those who want to have families”.

in 2021 More than 97,000 babies They were born in the United States using assisted reproductive technology, which includes IVF. Globally, IVF works Over 500,000 deliveries in the year.

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By 37ci3

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