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The Supreme Court's Decision Threatens Assisted Reproduction

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The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade could lead to bans on assisted reproduction.
More than 73,000 babies were born in the U.S. by means of in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques in 2020, slightly more than 2 percent of all births that year. About 85 percent of children born as a result of IVF procedures in this country are born from thawed embryos. Since 1987, more than 1 million Americans started their lives as embryos created outside of their mother’s bodies. By one estimate, as many as 1.4 million embryos remain frozen at U.S. fertility clinics. It is not clear what effect the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have on would-be parents seeking to use IVF as a way to have children. The majority opinion states that abortion destroys “potential life” and what the Mississippi statute at issue in the case calls an “unborn human being.” It does not, however, mention IVF or other assisted reproduction techniques. Infertility advocates and practitioners of fertility medicine are, nevertheless, concerned about the long-term implications of the Dobbs decision. In an article in Contemporary OB/GYN, Jared Robins and Sean Tipton, respectively the executive director and the chief policy and advocacy officer of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, argue that the Dobbs decision puts fertility care at “significant risk.

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