Home » University in Alabama suspends IVF treatments after controversial court decision

University in Alabama suspends IVF treatments after controversial court decision

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© AP

A university in the US state of Alabama has suspended its fertility treatments following a decision by the southern state’s Supreme Court. It ruled that frozen embryos should be considered “children”.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) said in a news release that it is “heartbroken” about the impact of the suspension on the patients of its hospitals. “But we must consider the possibility that our patients and physicians could face criminal prosecution or fines for failing to meet IVF care standards,” it said.

UAB’s announcement comes a few days after the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision, which ruled that frozen embryos should be considered “children.” The Supreme Court referred to an 1872 law on wrongful death of minors. Three couples had filed a complaint against a hospital that carries out IVF treatments after another patient accidentally destroyed their embryos by entering a storage room.

“Devastating consequences”

A court had first rejected the complaint, because embryos could not be qualified as “person” or “child”. But last week, by a majority of seven justices to two, all Republican, the Supreme Court ruled that the child death law “applies to all unborn children, without limitation.”

“This applies to all children, born or unborn,” Judge Jay Mitchell wrote in the text of the ruling, which also includes biblical references. Resolve, the main American organization working on infertility, had already warned on Tuesday that the reasoning could have “devastating consequences” for IVF procedures.

The White House was also critical for similar reasons. Nikki Haley, the only candidate still competing against ex-President Donald Trump in the Republican primaries, supported the judges in Alabama. “Embryos are babies to me,” she told NBC News.

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