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Assisted Reproduction

The Deafening Lack Of Outrage Over These Personhood Bills

I have been surprised at the relative little attention (and outrage) that has been generated over recent attempts to define a clump of cells as a human being. The infertility community ought to be outraged at these attempts to extend personhood to embryos. Thankfully Resolve has authored a handy list of talking points that explains what is at stake and what you can do about it:

Why the Infertility Community Opposes Personhood

  • Defining an embryo as a person will ultimately undermine access to safe and reliable infertility medical treatment, including IVF.
  • Personhood legislation is anti-family as it restricts access to medically necessary assisted reproductive technologies for people diagnosed with infertility.
  • Personhood legislation would eliminate access to medical treatments for cancer patients as a way to preserve their fertility.

Talking Points for Virginia HB 1

Supporters of HB1 claim that Section 7 of the Bill protects IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies. The last section, Section 7, reads as follows:

“Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as affecting lawful assisted conception.”

Here is why RESOLVE believes section 7 does NOT protect the infertility community: 

  • If HB1 becomes law, many fundamental kinds of assisted reproduction will become UNLAWFUL. The word “lawful” is a red flag. The only assisted reproduction that will be defined as “lawful” is where this is no chance that an embryo could be damaged, destroyed, or lost. Assisted reproduction will be severely restricted.
  • Cryopreservation and preserving the fertility of cancer patients will become UNLAWFUL. Certainly the cryopreservation (freezing) of embryos would be prohibited, because that carries some risk of loss of embryos. If microscopic embryos have the same Constitutional legal rights as born humans, then loss of embryos would be a wrongful death or a crime under HB 1. Freezing embryos allows patients to try to conceive a second time, or to give their child a sibling. It is also the standard of care for fertility preservation for cancer patients.
  • Certain technologies and procedures that increase the success of IVF will become UNLAWFUL. Technologies like ICSI, the advancement that has significantly increased success rates when the diagnosis is male factor, as well assisted hatching and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), all standard medical treatments that help people have babies — these could very well be prohibited if HB 1 becomes law.
  • Patients will be forced to go out of state for treatment. HB 1 explicitly authorizes lawsuits for loss of embryos, and since criminal charges could also be brought for risking or losing an embryo, fertility doctors will not want to practice reproductive medicine in Virginia anymore. 

In summary, section 7 sounds at first as if it protects infertility treatment from the operation of this extreme “personhood” measure, but it does not.  HB 1 would render many standard, pro-family medical treatments unlawful and therefore would make it harder or impossible for many couples to build their families and treat their disease.

Help RESOLVE fight HB 1 today:


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