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Is IVF in Trouble?

If you haven't heard about "personhood legislation," chances are you will soon. Even though a Mississippi "Personhood Amendment" was soundly defeated by voters last November, the concept of defining a person as a human being from the moment of fertilization is popping up in multiple states. In fact, fertility doctors and fertility advocates are increasingly concerned about personhood and other types of legislation that could restrict IVF, as well as other fertility treatments.

Last week in Virginia, HB1 — personhood legislation — was approved by the House of Delegates and now moves to the Senate for a hearing on February 23. Representatives from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) are preparing to testify. But how does HB1 affect IVF?

According to a statement from Barb Collura, executive director of RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association:

Even though assisted conception is currently lawful in Virginia and even mentioned in Virginia Code Section 20-156, HB1 is designed to change that and to make any action that risks a microscopic embryo unlawful. So, Section 7's supposed exemption for assisted conception is really no protection at all; IVF as practiced to the standard of care will be unlawful.

Personhood legislation has also passed in the Oklahoma Senate, and a new personhood bill has been filed in Mississippi. There are also strong concerns about:

  • Legislation in Maryland aimed at governing surrogacy contracts, requiring a fitness standard for intended parents and creating an assisted reproduction registry that requires tracking of every embryo
  • South Dakota legislation to ban all surrogacy contracts, which passed the South Dakota House of Representatives
  • New York sperm donor legislation that would limit the number of offspring any one donor can conceive to 10, as well as create a donor registry in the state
  • Arizona "informed consent" legislation, which will increase governmental surveillance and publicity around in vitro fertilization (IVF) and egg freezing.

For more information on legislation at the state level that may affect IVF, read: Attacks on IVF? Personhood and Other Legislation to Watch.

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