Alabama’s ‘Embryos Are Not Children’ ruling is criticized by the first baby born in the United States via IVF

Elizabeth Carr is concerned about the potential threat to her reproductive rights following a controversial ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court. She fears that she is at risk of becoming an “endangered species” in terms of her ability to make choices about her own body and reproductive health.

On Monday, WBUR-FM, Boston’s NPR news station, released a compelling essay written by Carr. Carr made global headlines in 1981 as the first baby born in the U.S. through in vitro fertilization. In her thought-provoking essay, Carr questions the recent state court ruling that legally defines frozen embryos as “children.”

In a scathing response, Carr expressed her strong disagreement with last week’s ruling, stating that it was evident that the author lacked a genuine understanding of the IVF procedure and showed a complete disregard for the scientific aspects of assisted reproductive technology. According to Carr, those in the infertility community are well aware that embryos should not be equated to children. The ultimate goal of IVF is to bring a healthy baby home, rather than simply creating embryos.

In May 15, 2002, Elizabeth Carr, then 20 years old, participates in a World Infertility Month dinner held at the United Nations in New York City.

According to Carr, embryos are just one of the many complex steps that individuals must undergo in order to increase their chances of having a successful live birth.

IVF, according to her, is a complex and multi-step procedure. It involves various stages such as hormone injections, egg retrieval, and embryo transfer. In addition to the medical aspects, it also requires substantial financial resources, precise timing, scientific expertise, and careful scheduling.

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Carr expressed his concern about the recent decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, which he believes will make it more difficult for people in Alabama to have a baby through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2024 compared to the experience of his parents in 1981. He emphasized the importance of science in advancing society rather than impeding progress.

In a recent ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court granted couples the right to sue for wrongful death after their embryos were accidentally destroyed by a patient at a fertility clinic. Three Alabama couples filed a lawsuit against the clinic, claiming that the clinic was responsible for the death of their embryos. The court’s decision now allows couples to seek legal action in cases where frozen embryos are lost or damaged, even if it was an unintentional incident. This ruling, which heavily incorporates religious beliefs, gives couples the ability to hold storage facilities and fertility clinics accountable for the wrongful death of their embryos.

Judith Carr cradles her newborn daughter, Elizabeth, as her husband, Roger Carr, stands by her side in 1981.

The recent decision has already had a significant impact on both IVF patients and providers. In response to the decision, three of the largest fertility clinics in the state have temporarily halted their IVF services to avoid potential legal risks. This has created a challenging situation for IVF patients, as nationwide embryo shipping services have also announced a pause in the transportation of embryos to and from Alabama.

Despite the fact that the ruling embodies conservative principles, Republicans have made efforts to disassociate themselves from the contentious decision.

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Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) expressed her support on Friday for couples who are hopeful and eager to become parents through the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). She emphasized the importance of finding a solution that safeguards both these families and the sanctity of life. Ivey and other Republican state lawmakers are actively working towards this goal.

I reached out to her office at HuffPost to clarify what Ivey meant by “some couples,” but unfortunately, I didn’t receive an immediate response.

Despite this, Carr finds a silver lining in the way Republicans are grappling with the decision.

Carr concluded by expressing his unwavering belief that amidst these uncertain times, a combination of scientific advancements and compassionate legislation will create a future where the hopes and aspirations of becoming parents through IVF are protected, valued, and embraced.

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