Some Alabama fertility clinics halt IVF after court recognizes humanity of embryos

cell, embryos, egg donor

Days after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos created for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) are children, some fertility clinics in the state have ceased the procedure. At least two clinics, however, have said they will continue.

In LePage v. Mobile Infirmary Clinic, Inc, several couples sued The Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Mobile Infirmary Medical Center because embryos they created had been destroyed. A client had been able to access the facility and handle the embryos, causing their destruction. The couples argued that the embryos should be considered people under the state’s wrongful death statute.

While a lower court ruled that the embryos were not human beings, the Supreme Court overturned that ruling in an 8-1 decision. This means human embryos are to be considered children protected by law under both the Alabama Constitution and the Alabama wrongful death statute, even when those human embryos are created via assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

The court said this applies to all children under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act with no exceptions, including “unborn children who are not physically located ‘in utero’ — that is, inside a biological uterus — at the time they are killed.”

The largest hospital in Alabama was the first to cease IVF operations. In a statement e-mailed to, University of Alabama at Birmingham health system spokesperson Hannah Echols said patients can continue fertility treatments through egg retrieval, but creating and implanting embryos has been paused.

READ: IVF pioneer slams the modern-day fertility industry

“We must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments,” she said.

Alabama Fertility Specialists quickly followed suit, announcing that it, too, was stopping IVF procedures. However, only one of that group’s three offices is affected, as the other two clinics do not perform embryo transfers. The fertility business plans for this to be temporary, as Penny Monella, the chief operating officer at Alabama Fertility Specialists, told CNN it has “paused transfers of embryos for at least a day or two.”

The Center for Reproductive Medicine, in conjunction with the Infirmary Health hospital system, announced it has paused its IVF procedures as well. However, two fertility clinics have said they won’t be pausing IVF treatments.

According to NBC News, Dr. Brett Davenport, a reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility Institute of North Alabama said, “We’re not pausing our IVF services. I don’t see a reasonable need to do that.

Likewise, Huntsville Reproductive Medicine said it is “proceeding with IVF treatments,” saying it will not discard any frozen embryos for the time being without a notary-signed consent from patients. Prior to the Alabama Supreme Court ruling, the clinic had planned to discard several embryos that had been abandoned by their parents — some who were originally frozen 16 years ago.

There are estimated to be about 1 million embryos frozen in the United States, many of them abandoned by their parents. Dr. Craig Sweet runs a fertility clinic in Florida and told NBC in August 2019 that 21% of the embryos in his clinic had been abandoned.

Live Action founder and president Lila Rose applauded the Alabama Supreme Court’s recognition of human life, noting that this will provide more protections for children conceived through ART — many of whom are treated as property, rather than human beings created at the whim of adults.

“This decision made by the Alabama Supreme Court affirms the scientific reality that a new human life begins at the moment of fertilization,” she said. “Each person, from the tiniest embryo to an elder nearing the end of his life, has incalculable value that deserves and is guaranteed legal protection. This ruling, which involved a wrongful-death claim brought by parents against a fertility clinic that negligently caused the death of their children, rightly acknowledged the humanity of unborn children created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and is an important step towards applying equal protection for all.”

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30 seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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