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Frozen Embryos Are Children – US Court Rules

Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that frozen embryos are considered children.

Gatekeepers News reports that with the court’s ruling a person could be held liable for accidentally destroying them.

This has opened up a new front in the US battle over reproductive medicine.

Following this Alabama’s largest hospital has paused its in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) services in the wake of the decision, over fears it could expose them to criminal prosecution.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham health system said it would continue retrieving eggs from women’s ovaries. It, however, said it would halt the next step in the IVF process, in which the eggs are fertilised with sperm before being implanted into the uterus.

In a statement, the leading state medical provider said, “We are saddened that this will impact our patients’ attempt to have a baby through IVF.

“But 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.”

Meanwhile, medical experts and reproductive advocacy groups warned the ruling could have negative consequences for fertility treatments in the US largest state and beyond.

Conservative groups welcomed the ruling, arguing that even the tiniest embryo deserved legal protection.

Three couples sought to sue the Center for Reproductive Medicine and the Mobile Infirmary Association under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. That law covers foetuses but does not specifically cover embryos resulting from IVF.

Although a lower court had ruled that the embryos did not qualify as a person or child, arguing that a wrongful death lawsuit could not move forward.

However, in its ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court sided with the couples, and ruled that frozen embryos were considered “children”.

The wrongful death law applied to “all unborn children, regardless of their location”, the decision said.

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