Fertility doctors and academics studying the fertility legal landscape told CNN there was serious uncertainty – both about how abortion laws already in the books would be interpreted and about how lawmakers and local prosecutors could try to push the envelope free from the precedents that have effectively protected the fertility process from government interference.
It is feared that that lack of clarity will affect the treatments doctors are willing to offer IVF patients and the decisions people will have to make about how to continue to grow their families.
“To overthrow Roe v. Wade would have far-reaching consequences for the fertility industry. The opinion includes numerous references to ‘the unborn man’, ‘potential life’ and ‘the life of the unborn’. Much of that language – and the logic behind it – applies to embryos, ”Adam Wolf, a fertility lawyer for Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise, said in a statement on Friday.
“Fertility clinics will face a flood of wrongful death claims when the clinics discard embryos without authorization,” Wolf added.
IVF clinics usually use two people’s genetic material to create multiple embryos because they do not know which one will grow to the right stage or which will lead to a successful pregnancy.
Wolf said he fears clinics and freezer manufacturers could face criminal charges for discarding embryos, or if a freezer containing embryos malfunctions.
“When fertility clinics accidentally throw away embryos – which happens all too often – they destroy potential lives,” he said. “Can fertility clinics and their embryologists face murder or manslaughter for their misconduct? When the manufacturer of a freezer that holds embryos is broken, that freezer company has destroyed potential human lives.”
Dr. Carolina Sueldo, a fertility specialist who is also certified in both obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco-Fresno, told CNN on Friday there are also concerns that “personality accounts will follow next with the belief that life begins to conceive . “
“This will have a dramatic impact on the way infertility treatments are provided to patients in those states. These treatments are not only for infertility but also for genetic diseases (and) recurrent miscarriages,” Sueldo said.
CNN’s Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.