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  • 1440 Daily Digest

In-Vitro Uncertainty

Health officials from the University of Alabama at Birmingham said yesterday they would pause all in-vitro fertilization treatments following a ruling by the state's supreme court to extend legal rights to frozen embryos used in the procedure. 

The process involves removing eggs and sperm from both parents and fertilizing the egg outside the body and is used to address a wide range of pregnancy challenges—fallopian tube damage, endometriosis, low sperm count, and more. Roughly 70% of mature eggs in each batch will successfully fertilize; some of the remainder may be put in cryogenic storage for future potential use. An estimated 1 million frozen embryos are believed to be held at clinics nationwide, and roughly 2% of births per year are estimated to be from IVF. 

The court ruled the embryos were extrauterine children and their expiration was not exempted from state laws covering wrongful deaths of minors (and therefore enjoy legal protection). Read the full ruling here

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