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In Vitro Fertilization Is in Trouble As 3 States Try to Criminalize the Destruction of Embryos

Published by Jezebel. Read the full article.

A new wave of bills in Kansas, Arkansas and West Virginia could uproot people’s lives as as they struggle with infertility.

After months of top Republicans getting caught on hot mic whispering about plans to police in vitro fertilization, or straight-up saying it, there’s a growing wave of bills in state legislatures taking more direct aim at the process.

Kansas’ legislature on Tuesday advanced a bill that would establish a new crime of “unlawful destruction of a fertilized embryo.” An Arkansas lawmaker introduced a bill that would legally define personhood at fertilization and allow someone to be prosecuted for “wrongful death” of an embryo. West Virginia Republicans have introduced bills that would allow civil lawsuits for loss of an embryo was as a result of “negligence.”

Legislation like this directly implicates IVF: If an embryo is inserted into the uterus and implants to the uterine wall, pregnancy occurs—but the chance of IVF being successful on the first couple attempts stands at just around 50 percent. Embryos that don’t implant are destroyed in the process, and fertility clinics often freeze or dispose of unused embryos. Post-Roe abortion bans that include “life begins at conception” language, like those in Missouri, Texas, and other states, pose a particular threat, as they define “child” as starting at fertilization without specific exceptions for IVF.

Barb Collura, president and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, tells Jezebel that the new bills in Kansas, Arkansas, and West Virginia seem to “specifically single out people who are using different kinds of medical technology” to build their families—especially with the Kansas bill’s “nonsensical” claim that “unlawful abortion” can be “part of the process of artificial insemination.”