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The second fertility treatment center in Alabama has temporarily suspended certain services following a court decision regarding embryos.
Science & Health

The second fertility treatment center in Alabama has temporarily suspended certain services following a court decision regarding embryos.

Another in vitro fertilization clinic in the state of Alabama, USA, is temporarily stopping certain aspects of its services to patients following a state Supreme Court decision that declared frozen embryos as legal children.

Alabama Fertility Services announced on Thursday that they have chosen to suspend new IVF treatments due to the potential legal ramifications for their clinic and staff.

The announcement was made one day after the University of Alabama at Birmingham health system declared that it would temporarily halt IVF procedures for an assessment of potential legal repercussions for both patients and doctors.

“We are reaching out to patients who will be impacted today in order to provide them with solutions, and we are putting in our best efforts to inform our lawmakers about the extensive negative consequences of this decision on the women in Alabama,” stated Alabama Fertility. “Despite this ruling, AFS will remain open and will persist in advocating for our patients and the families of Alabama.”

This week, both doctors and patients are struggling with feelings of surprise and concern as they try to understand the implications of the decision made by the all-Republican Alabama Supreme Court. This ruling has raised uncertainties about the future of IVF.

The choice made by Alabama Fertility Services caused Gabby Goidel to search for other clinics in the South to continue her IVF treatment, as she was only days away from her scheduled egg retrieval.

“I became incredibly distressed and began to cry,” Goidel recounted. “I felt like I was stuck in a state of extreme uncertainty.”

On Friday, the decision in Alabama was announced, coinciding with Goidel’s start of a 10-day injection regimen for egg retrieval. She is hoping to get pregnant through IVF next month and has secured ongoing care in Texas, where she will be traveling on Thursday night.

Goidel had three unsuccessful pregnancies and she and her husband decided to pursue IVF in order to achieve their goal of starting a family.

According to Goidel, the Alabama ruling is not supportive of family values.

On Wednesday, Dr. Michael C. Allemand, a reproductive endocrinologist at Alabama Fertility, stated that IVF is frequently the most effective option for individuals who have a strong desire to have a child. He expressed concern that the recent ruling may jeopardize doctors’ ability to offer this treatment.

“The experiences that our patients long for as they expand their families – spending Christmas mornings with grandparents, starting kindergarten, and embarking on their first day of school with their little backpacks – are what truly matters. These are the precious moments that this decision could potentially rob our patients of,” stated the speaker.

The Justices stated that, according to the Alabama Constitution, the state acknowledges the “rights of the unborn child.” As a result, three couples were given the right to file a lawsuit for wrongful death after their frozen embryos were destroyed in an accident at a storage facility.

According to Justice Jay Mitchell’s majority ruling on Friday, all unborn children are considered “children” regardless of their stage of development, where they are physically located, or any other additional factors. The court has previously determined that the death of a fetus while the mother is pregnant falls under Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, and there are no exceptions for children outside of the womb.

The focus of the court case was determining if embryos were protected by the wrongful death law for minors. Some argued that giving embryos the same status as children, rather than property, could have far-reaching consequences and could bring into doubt various IVF procedures.