Your reproductive rights and the right to have a child

Women's reproductive rights

I just finished listening to a podcast with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The podcast is on reproductive rights. It features a well-known fertility specialist Dr. Eve Feinberg. The podcast is interesting and scary. It puts into focus how much has changed in the last few years and how women’s reproductive rights continue to be eroded by the courts.

Dr. Feinberg shared her personal story of struggling with fertility and undergoing IVF. During a heartfelt segment she recounted a story of one of her IVF cycles that resulted in an abnormal pregnancy. The embryo development was not progressing normally and was making her very sick. She had to make the difficult decision of whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. Even though the pregnancy was not progressing normally, with the current laws, this decision would not be hers to make in many states today.

The decision in Alabama to consider frozen human embryos the equivalent of a child is troubling on many levels. Alabama courts have essentially made IVF illegal. It’s only been a couple days since the ruling but about half of the fertility clinics have stopped IVF services. This has left countless people in Alabama, some already in the process of taking medications for IVF, without the ability to have a child.

A frozen embryo is clearly different than a human child. The embryo cannot survive on its own. Also, it is an unfortunate truth that most embryos will never develop into human beings and result in birth. As fertility doctors, we wish that more embryos did result in a live born child.  However, most embryos when transferred to the uterus do not result in a successful pregnancy.

I know many of you reading this are just starting to undergo the process of trying to get pregnant. Hopefully you will never need to go through IVF. However, if you or anyone else does need to go through IVF it is a travesty if IVF treatment is nowhere to be found.

As fertility doctors we are working every day to expand access to care. In fact, Dr. Feinberg started a charity, the Chicago Coalition for Family Building, that seeks to provide fertility services for those in need that cannot afford the treatment. However, many of our politicians seem to want to do just the opposite and limit women’s access to care and treatment options.

 I ask you to band together with us to let our representatives know that the Alabama ruling is not okay. No matter which state you live in, call your representatives today and tell them it is not okay to take away the right to have children, tell them it is not ok take away women’s reproductive choices!