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HomeNewsIVF Advocates Condemn Alabama Court Ruling Treating Embryos as Children

IVF Advocates Condemn Alabama Court Ruling Treating Embryos as Children

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IVF Advocates Condemn Alabama Court Ruling Treating Embryos as Children
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An Alabama court ruling has sent thousands of its residents into a downward spiral. Fertility clinics are getting frantic calls. Several people are planning to move their frozen embryos to other states. 

Even worse, people are beginning to make heartbreaking decisions about when and where to get pregnant. What causes this frenzy? A religious Alabama court ruled that frozen embryos are children. 

The court ruled that IVF embryos are “extrauterine children” and legally protected like any other child. This decision has a huge impact on the fertility status of the state. In fact, it affects all people who need the IVF process to have a child. 

There are over one million frozen embryos stored at clinics and facilities nationwide. Therefore, if this ruling becomes national, it will affect everyone trying to get a child through this process. Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker also voiced his opinion, agreeing with this ruling.

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“In summary, the theologically based view of the sanctity of life adopted by the People of Alabama encompasses the following: (1) God made every person in His image; (2) each person therefore has a value that far exceeds the ability of human beings to calculate; and (3) human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself,” he wrote. 

While people like him applaud the ruling, they may not fully understand the implications of this. More often than not, doctors create more embryos than they implant. This allows patients to store those embryos in liquid nitrogen for future use, donation, or destruction.

Families who struggle with conception, therefore, have years to keep trying with different embryos that are secure. People turn to IVF for several reasons beyond their control. For example, some suffer fertility loss after cancer treatments. 

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Military members who are also on long-term deployments usually employ this method. Therefore, this ruling will affect them severely. Would donors have the right to destroy stored embryos when they finally get a baby? 

Or would the embryos have an independent right to be implanted and gestated to birth? Take a couple who wants only one kid but freeze four embryos, for example. Would they now have to implant all four embryos and carry them to term?

These are only some of the highly complex questions that this ruling brings up. In addition, many of the unused embryos are usually donated to science for research. If this rule stands, how would scientists get these embryos to further IVF research?

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The court is very much aware that its decision could reshape or completely end IVF in Alabama and also nationally. However, it made the ruling after a court case where two couples sued after a center accidentally destroyed their frozen embryos.

While such an accident is rare, the court claims to be protecting the rights of people by classifying embryos as children. Medically speaking, this is wrong and follows the notion that embryos are babies, banning abortion as well. 

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