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'Personhood' Hampers Fertility Procedures

Richmond Times-Dispatch,  Mar 4, 2012

All the injections, medicines, ultrasounds and procedures of IVF are difficult to ponder, and no one likes to think about the myriad steps and decisions that go with this process. Nevertheless, the "personhood" bill that was introduced in the General Assembly this year forced the complicated issue of infertility and IVF to the surface. Usually, extra embryos not returned to the woman's uterus are frozen for a future IVF cycle. However, in freezing, a risk is incurred that some embryos may be damaged, which might be illegal if "personhood" were the law in Virginia. Technologies that have augmented the success rate of IVF, such as the use of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, might also be prohibited because embryos can be destroyed in that process. Moreover, many other potential infertility byproducts would be legally questionable and expose mothers and doctors to potential lawsuits. If a woman were to have an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo implants outside the womb, would it be legal to remove a living embryo, even though its existence risks the mother's health and well-being?

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