What to Know About Fertility Care Since Roe V Wade Was Overturned

Since SCOTUS overturned Roe V Wade last week, you likely have many questions on how limiting abortion might affect your family-building plans. 

We are here for you. No matter what happens. 

  • We are here for you. As of today, nothing has changed in our ability to provide world-class fertility treatment and personalized patient care.
  • We are monitoring the situation closely and are looking to how the courts handle IVF care. We will take any step we can to ensure patients have access to safe and legal reproductive care. 
  • Our top priority remains our patients and providing best-in-class fertility care and support throughout our network. We will keep team members and patients informed of developments and any impacts to patient care. 
  • We have time to provide you with solutions and options. In the event of new legislation threatening patients’ autonomy over their embryos, we will work with patients directly to transfer embryos to a Pinnacle network clinic located in a protected state.

What to Know About Fertility Care Since Roe V Wade Was Overturned

  • On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court officially ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion after nearly 50 years, and allowing individual states to grant full human rights to fertilized eggs. In about half of the states, this could lead to complete bans on abortion procedures, regardless of the situation, and result in further anti-family impacts on reproductive care. 
  • Not all abortions are for unwanted pregnancies. The overturning of Roe V Wade may lead to bans on pregnancy terminations for medical reasons (TFMR) and other anti-family repercussions on fertility care.  
  • Without Constitutional protection for the right to an abortion, in many states, pregnancy terminations needed for medical reasons may no longer be legal.   Pregnant people could be forced to carry these at-risk pregnancies to term, in some cases risking serious injury or death. 
  • States pursuing “personhood” bills for fetuses, embryos, or fertilized eggs, could prevent patients from being able to utilize genetic testing or discard those that are mosaic or abnormal. This could increase the likelihood of an unsafe pregnancy or a resulting miscarriage. In some states, transferring multiple embryos during IVF treatment in hopes of one implanting could be subject to a criminal investigation.

What we still don’t know – Unanswered Questions 

The overturning of Roe v. Wade raises significant issues and potential unintended consequences in the fertility space. There are many unknowns and unanswered questions in regards to the future of fertility care.

  • Will a patient be able to utilize genetic testing to increase their chance of a successful, healthy pregnancy?
  • Will laws ban procedures like selective reduction, even in situations where it would make the pregnancy more viable?
  • Will pregnancy terminations for medical reasons be prosecuted?
  • Will an embryologist face prosecution for completing a request to discard inviable embryos?
  • Will patients be able to discard or donate embryos to science after completing their family-building plans?
  • Can states with “personhood” laws enforce their laws extraterritorially?
    • For example, if embryos are created in a state with a personhood law, but stored/maintained in a state without such a law, would destruction of the embryos in the state where they are stored implicate the other state’s personhood laws?
  • How far can a regulator’s authority creep into and supersede the medical judgment of a provider? For example, many state trigger laws include exceptions to abortion prohibitions where a medical practitioner determines a mother’s life is in danger. In this scenario:
    • Where is the line for determining a mother’s life is in danger and how much discretion will a provider have in such a situation?
  • If embryos are persons, is there an obligation to transfer every embryo created? 
  • Would “personhood” laws be implicated in situations where an embryo fails to develop? For example, could the law be used to hold providers or laboratories liable for, say, neglect if the embryo does not survive?
  • What are the implications of discarding otherwise viable embryos based on genetic testing results showing material risk of illness or disability to the fetus? Will genetic counselors, laboratories, patients, and providers be held criminally responsible? 
  • Are unused, viable embryos required to be stored indefinitely? Will patients be obligated to pay for the storage and for how long?
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 ORM Fertility

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