Pro-life politicians have been introducing bills more frequently that are referred to as “personhood bills.”
Joy Hice, a Republican congresswoman from Georgia, recently introduced a personhood bill to the House of Representatives called H.R. 586. Bills like Hice’s say that “the life of each human being begins with fertilization” and that a “one-celled embryo” is a “a new unique human being.”
For pro-life constituents, this may line up with their belief systems, but could there be unintended consequences? For the doctors who perform in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the future is unclear.
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is speaking out against the bill, which would affect more than 7.5 million infertile couples in the U.S., not including LGBT people or others who wish to start their families using IVF.
They write, “If microscopic fertilized eggs/embryos are deemed as human life, anything that puts an embryo at risk could be a violation of law, even if its goal is the undeniable social good of helping someone have a baby.”
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The IVF process involves gathering eggs from a woman’s body, fertilizing them in vitro (or outside the body), then re-implanting fertilized embryos.
Embryologists don’t use every embryo that’s been created. Some aren’t able to be transferred. It’s safest to transfer two or fewer embryos at a time.
If H.R. 586 became law, a woman would be forced to transfer all embryos created during IVF, including unviable ones. This goes against medical recommendations and could put the woman at risk.
The current political climate makes it more likely than ever that such a bill will pass, and it may also affect women who have miscarriages.
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