How IVF is Being Impacted by Overturning Roe v. Wade
Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, many of us are wondering what this means for the future of reproductive rights. Many questions have been raised about fertility treatments like how IVF is being impacted by overturning Roe v. Wade and whether these will continue to be legal and available.
No matter where you might be in your fertility journey, we understand that this can be a concerning prospect. Making sure you are informed and confident in all aspects of your treatment is our top priority, and keeping you updated on the implications of these new laws is no different.
As we all work to unpack what the future holds, we want to reassure you that the entire Fertility Centers of New England team remains committed to providing you quality, compassionate care–and that will not change.
Currently, with the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, reproductive rights remain the same throughout New England—thought laws vary from state to state— and there are no immediate risks to any sort of fertility treatment.
How (and Why) Does Roe vs. Wade Affect IVF?
There’s a lot of information floating around on this topic, which can feel overwhelming at a time that is already stressful. The main question patients have surrounds their unique circumstances—they want to know how IVF is impacted by overturning Roe v. Wade, if this affects them and, if it does, what they should do.
First, it’s important to understand where the trouble lies in the eyes of the law: what happens to embryos if they’re not used.
During IVF treatment cycles, eggs are retrieved and fertilized using a sperm sample. Afterward, they’re monitored to see which ones continue to develop. During this time , preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is performed, which helps physicians determine which embryos are the most likely to result in a successful pregnancy.
If physicians find anything genetically abnormal with the embryos, they will not be used. Under normal circumstances, the abnormal embryos would be discarded—and that’s where the legalities come into play.
Non-Viable Embryos and Personhood
In states where personhood laws are being introduced, discarding embryos for any reason would be against the law because the law grants personhood at fertilization.
With this barrier in place, fertility clinics in those states are likely to decrease the number of eggs they fertilize to try to avoid the need to discard embryos. Ultimately, fewer eggs (and therefore, embryos) make IVF less effective and require more cycles—and money—because it may take longer to conceive successfully.
IVF patients who live in high-risk states (more below) are justifiably concerned about their unused embryos. Some may choose to move their embryos to states less likely to enact such restrictions.
Of course, embryos can be frozen for future cycles. Additionally, viable embryos can be donated to others looking to start a family. These options remain protected, even in trigger states.
Experts and lawmakers continue to examine this issue to provide more guidance on how to proceed. It bears repeating that there is no immediate risk for Fertility Centers of New England patients, and we will continue to update you whenever possible.
What to Do if You Live in a Trigger or High-Risk State
This topic is evolving daily, but for the most part, we know which states are high-risk—meaning that their laws are likely to become more restrictive—and which are largely considered safe.
For those living in a high-risk or trigger state, you should consult your doctor or fertility specialist to determine what is right for you. You may be advised to move your frozen eggs or embryos to a facility in another state with lower risk, but this may not be the right path for everyone.
The following states are considered high-risk for more restrictive laws:
- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming
Again, for New England residents and those receiving treatment from any of our locations, there is no immediate danger or need to move your embryos if they’re in temporary storage in our facility.
If you have questions like how IVF is being impacted by overturning Roe v. Wade, or if you are looking to start or are in the process of receiving fertility treatments, we are here to support you and walk you through your options.