Embryo Transfers Are Resuming in Alabama, Even as Legal Questions Remain

At least one Alabama fertility clinic resumed embryo transfers on Thursday, just hours after Gov. Kay Ivey signed a law that offered clinics and doctors legal protection for in vitro fertilization procedures.

The law, which quickly passed the State Legislature with bipartisan support on Wednesday, was a direct response to a State Supreme Court ruling late last month that found that frozen embryos should be considered children.

The ruling rattled reproductive medicine practices in Alabama, and several clinics temporarily stopped offering I.V.F. treatment, fearing legal consequences.

“We won’t take this for granted anymore,” said Dr. Mamie McLean, an infertility specialist at Alabama Fertility, who confirmed on Thursday morning that the practice had scheduled a few embryo transfers for later in the day and on Friday.

But Dr. McLean, who had spent days at the State House in Montgomery pleading with lawmakers to allow her work to continue, acknowledged that more legal clarity was needed to ensure that I.V.F. could continue without issue in the long term.

Republican legislators, torn between a pledge to protect unborn life and a rush to restart I.V.F. treatments, sidestepped the question of whether an embryo should be considered a person and focused instead on allowing clinics to reopen. It remains unclear when and how the Legislature will address that question, given that it could spark additional legal challenges.

Back to top button