Overturning Roe v. Wade threatens infertility treatments

(KRON) — The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday has already prompted many states to roll back its abortion rights. The decision could potentially make it harder for women seeking fertility treatments.

“If you consider life beginning at fertilization can we inseminate extra oocytes? Can we freeze embryos?” said Dr. Marcelle Cedars, Director of UCSF’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

Infertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) bring together eggs and sperm outside the body to create an embryo. Cedars says multiple embryos are typically created for those undergoing care.

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However, if states pass laws stating life begins at fertilization, only one embryo could be produced and transferred at a time, which could cause complications.

Dr. Cedars says multiple embryos are typically created for those undergoing care, however if states pass laws stating life begins at fertilization, only one embryo could be produced and transferred at a time, which could cause complications.

Dr. Cedars tells KRON4, “even in nature, best incubator around, only one in four fertilized eggs makes a healthy baby and so in the process in the laboratory we can actually witness that growth and development of the embryos and you can see those embryos that are able to make it to what we call the blastocyst stage.”

Dr. Cedars says about 50% of embryos make it to this stage, which has the highest chance of a successful pregnancy. By only allowing one embryo to be produced and transferred, that success rate significantly drops and it adds additional risks to the mother and to the children.

Dr. Ruben Alvero, who’s the director of Stanford’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility says broad or imprecise language used in some state-level abortion bans could also impair access to IVF.

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Dr. Alvero tells KRON4, “I hope that not only nationally do we have a return to the right of couples and women to have the reproductive care that they want and deserve but also prevent any expansion of this thinking, which I think is dangerous.”

While the overturning of Roe v. Wade doesn’t immediately restrict infertility treatments, experts say the wording of laws in some states could unintentionally impair access to IVF.

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