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To the Alabama Supreme Court: We don’t want your advice on what to do with our embryos

ivf Feb 23, 2024
IVF Procedure

If you’re going through IVF right now, especially in Alabama, this post is for you! 

This decision has been devastating as 3 fertility clinics in Alabama have paused all their treatments and companies that ship embryos to/from Alabama have currently stopped serving the state.

Needless to say, I’m so heartbroken about this news that impacts the infertility community because if this decision was 6-8 years ago, I would be in the place where this applied directly to me. 

I would have all the feelings and none of the words to express how I was feeling. 

If you’re in Alabama with frozen embryos I want you to know:

I’m thinking of you. 

I’m fighting for you. 

I’ve got you. 

And you're not alone.

And if you don’t have embryos frozen in Alabama, please share this blog as we need people to talk about it. 

We cannot let this happen in more states. 

If you don’t know what happened here’s the scoop:

Late last week, the Alabama Supreme Court decided that frozen embryos are considered “children” which puts the future of IVF at risk. 

As someone who is a mom because of IVF, did IVF in Alabama, now coaches women going through IVF & advocates for reproductive rights & access to reproductive care this is a BIG deal for a LOT of reasons. 

Whether or not you have a dog in the fight (or embryos in the freezer in this case) it should matter to you. 

I wrote about it on instagram, in my email newsletter and now in this post because there are a couple things you should know about this decision:

How you’re feeling is valid. 

All the emotions are expected. And I mean all of them. Infertility is hard enough so adding this on top is just a double whammy. Which means it's time to be kind to yourself and the feelings that are coming up.

There are women who spent months (if not years) waiting to become a mother, overcoming so many hurdles on that journey to motherhood, to finally get to the place where they will have their egg retrieval or transfer getting them one step closer to a chance at having a baby. They spent thousands of dollars, shed countless tears, felt like their life was on hold all while waiting to become a mom - and found out that it got cancelled. And not because of anything they did. Just because of the state they live in. I expect those people to go through all the stages of grief as they process this loss, loss of control, loss of funds, loss of hope, loss of a chance, and loss of what their family could look like. 

A lot of people will be shocked this happened, even though many said that when Roe V Wade was overturned IVF was not safe. 

A lot of people will be scared wondering what's next to be taken away from women.

Many will be disappointed that we've gotten to this place where medical decisions are no longer just between a patient and their doctor.

No matter how you're feeling, it's all valid. It's OK to cry, to scream, to hit a pillow.

Use your emotions for good by going into action. 

Write down all the things you're thinking and feeling right now just to get it out from your head. Who knows, what you write could be talking points for when you talk about what’s going on with your friends and family and coworkers.

You can share the news articles and the social posts that are talking all about it. And you can write/call your state legislators to let them know that you want IVF to be protected in your state. While this has happened in Alabama, it does not mean that other states might try to follow suit with new personhood legislation that also puts the future of IVF at risk.

And the 
ASRM team has been working around-the-clock to protect access to IVF, and, while they explore legislative and judicial options, they also urge you to contact your elected officials to cosponsor and demand that they pass the Access to Family Building Act (S.3612/ H.R.7056), which would protect IVF across the country.

Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-PA-7) introduced the Access to Family Building Act to ensure the right to build a family is upheld and remains protected, regardless of a person’s zip code.

Use this for an easy to fill form to contact your legislators (just make sure to change the language that says "as a fertility provider" to as an "IVF patient": 

The choice to build a family is a fundamental right for all Americans

Share your story. 

Join me by signing up for Resolve and ASRM’s Advocacy Day where we share our stories to our federal legislators in an effort to grow family building legislation at a national level. Resolve does such an amazing job of scheduling the day and educating you on what to do even if you know nothing about how it all works!

Save the date on your calendar (May 14) and register here  and know that I will see you there. This year they are hoping to have all 50 states represented - so will you make sure your state is represented by signing up?

Follow accounts that are educated and talking about it. 

Here's a few I recommend:
Doctors for Fertility:

Some of my favorite infertility doctors that educate a ton: 
Dr. Natalie Crawford
Dr. Lora Shaine
Dr. Jessica Ryniec 
Dr. Creighton Likes 
Dr. Blake Evans 
Dr. Stephanie Gustin 

Understand the reasons why this is a big deal

This decision puts the future of IVF in AL at risk. Clinics in AL will need to change the way they do their procedures, making it even more costly, which will lead to people going out of state to receive fertility care & then the clinics in AL will close. Right now the 2 biggest clinics in the state have already stopped performing egg retrievals an transfers. 

It will also mean IVF will only be available to people in AL who have access to unlimited funds & unlimited time to travel to go through IVF. 

Considering an embryo equal to a person is not scientifically correct. An embryo cannot grow into a child outside of a uterus. And every embryo that even goes into a uterus does not become a living child.  But right now, in Alabama, that frozen embryo has rights. (Some might say more rights than women)

In short, IVF will change, and the success rates will lower, and the costs will increase, as will the risks, too. 

So this decision has taken away access and hope for growing families.

The first amendment separates church from state for a reason. Yet, the supreme court of Alabama, included language from the Bible as part of their decision. Meaning that there was no separation of the two. 

If you and your religious beliefs don’t want to discard an embryo- then don’t do it. 

Just like some people struggle to conceive & opt out of doing in vitro fertilization because of their beliefs, you, too, can choose to not discard YOUR embryos. 

But REQUIRING others to do the same of you is not okay. 

Where will the line of control of what you can & can’t do with your body stop? 

I know this news is scary. 

Please know you’re not going through this alone and there are so many people who are just as upset by this as you who are speaking up on your behalf if you just don’t have it in you  

Also, if you live in Alabama and had your retrieval or cycle cancelled I want to offer you a free coaching call. 

Book your call here. Make sure you write that you live in Alabama! 

Going through IVF is hard enough and adding all this to the plate can make some people want to give up. 

Don’t give up. 

I’m here for you. 

I’m fighting this with you. 

You’re supported. 

Book your call for some emergency support (FREE for all IVF warriors in Alabama).

And let's leave all medical decisions to be made between a patient and their doctor.

If you want a renewed sense of hope heading into your next round of IVF...

Then its time to join other IVF Warriors in my group coaching program: My Cycle Circle:

  • Build greater excitement and confidence that your next round of IVF doesn’t have to consume your life the way it has in the past
  • Know how to focus on what really matters in your next IVF round (hint: it’s not your shots or dr. appointments or how bloated you feel)
  • Develop a life-changing, long-term mindset shift that just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t.
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