H.R. 586 Personhood Bill Puts IVF Treatment at Jeopardy

A new bill, H.R. 586 – Sanctity of Human Life Act, could ban or limit the practice of IVF in the United States. This bill states that “the life of each human being begins with fertilization”.  It also defines a “one-celled human embryo” as “a new unique human being”.  This bill is obviously aimed at banning abortions, but it could also severely impact IVF in the United States.  While it is unlikely to pass, it certainly should not be taken for granted.

If H.R. 586, or any bill like it, were to pass, this would be incredibly devastating for the millions of people that need IVF as a medical treatment to have a baby.  This type of bill would mandate that any or all embryos that result from an IVF cycle would need to be transferred back into the uterus.  As a practicing fertility specialist, I can tell you that this makes absolutely no sense.  The majority of embryos created from an IVF cycle are not viable or not suitable for embryo transfer.  So, what good would it do to put them back into the uterus?  And, furthermore, if all of the embryos happened to be viable and placed back into the uterus,  this would lead to more high risk multiple gestation pregnancies (i.e. Octo-mom).

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has developed specific guidelines for how many embryos to transfer to give patient’s the best chance of having a successful pregnancy and to minimize the chance of high risk multiple gestation pregnancies.  In my opinion, it would make more sense to follow the recommendations of ASRM, a group of thousands of physicians who practice in this field and understand embryo development, rather than a group of law makers, who are simply trying to promote an anti-abortion agenda.

H.R. 586 puts the millions of people who need IVF treatment at jeopardy of not being able to have the families they so strongly desire.  If you know anyone who has gone through fertility treatment, or if you’ve been through it yourself, you can see how this bill is a huge slap in the face to anyone who just wants to have a baby.  We have the opportunity to voice our opinions and help preserve our reproductive freedom though.  Each one of us can and should contact our Congressperson and state our opposition to this scary bill.

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