National News from ABC

2 more Alabama clinics pause IVF fertility treatment after court ruling

Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

(MOBILE, Ala.) — Two Alabama fertility clinics announced they will stop providing in vitro fertilization treatment days after the state’s Supreme Court issued a decision that said frozen embryos are considered children in the state.


Alabama Fertility Specialists and the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Mobile, Alabama, have each decided to pause treatments, they announced Thursday.

“We have made the impossibly difficult decision to hold new IVF treatments due to the legal risk to our clinic and our embryologists,” Alabama Fertility Specialists said in a statement. “We are contacting patients that will be affected today to find solutions for them and we are working as hard as we can to alert our legislators as to the far reaching negative impact of this ruling on the women of Alabama.”

Alabama Fertility Specialists vowed not to close its doors and said it will “continue to fight for our patients and the families of Alabama.”

“At a time when we feel so powerless, advocacy and awareness is our strongest tools. Check back in later today for links to advocacy opportunities,” the group said in a statement.

Dr. Mamie McLean, an infertility specialist at Alabama Fertility Specialists in Birmingham, Alabama, told “Good Morning America” earlier this week that the court’s historic ruling could impact the future of in vitro fertilization treatments for those trying to access fertility treatments, adding that for her, the ruling left more open questions than answers.

“We’re concerned that this ruling has far-reaching consequences for what we feel is safe to freeze and safe to discard,” McLean said.

The Center for Reproductive Medicine said they had “no choice but to pause IVF treatments for patients.”

“We understand the burden this places on deserving families who want to bring babies into this world and who have no alternative options for conceiving,” Mark Nix, president and chief executive officer of Infirmary Health, said in a statement.

The court ruling opened the door to individuals being held civilly — and potentially criminally — liable for the destruction of embryos.

The decision stemmed from a lawsuit brought by couples who alleged that a patient managed to “wander” into a fertility clinic through an unsecured door, removing several embryos and dropping them to the floor.

The couples whose embryos were destroyed tried to bring a wrongful death suit against the facility but a lower court threw out the lawsuits. The Alabama state Supreme Court then reversed the lower court decision and deemed frozen embryos are children.

Alabama Fertility Specialists and Center for Reproductive Medicine in Mobile, Alabama, join the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, which paused IVF treatment earlier this week.

“We must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments. We want to reiterate that it is IVF treatment that is paused. Everything through egg retrieval remains in place. Egg fertilization and embryo development is paused,” the University of Alabama at Birmingham said in a statement.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

On Air Now

Now Playing On X101

Download The X101 App