The Alliance Blog

AFP Statement on Alabama Supreme Court Embryo Ruling

AFP Statement on Alabama Supreme Court Embryos Ruling

On Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court issued an alarming ruling, unencumbered by medical facts, that casts embryos as legally equivalent to living children. This unfortunate and uninformed ruling imperils the future of reproductive medicine, and with it, access to fertility preservation for cancer patients.

When a child or young adult is diagnosed with cancer, their life, and their ability to have a family in the future is threatened. Breakthroughs in fertility treatments have radically changed the prospects of having their own genetic children and opened up new possibilities for parenthood. This has been shown to improve quality of life for cancer patients and is recognized by every relevant organization as an integral part of comprehensive care.

The decision to undergo fertility-saving procedures, however, must be made quickly, before potentially sterilizing chemotherapy or radiation begins and while their oncology team continues their medical work-up and treatment planning. Court decisions like the one in Alabama will inevitably cause reproductive clinics to shutter. Options such as delaying treatment, moving, or traveling out of state for fertility preservation services are unrealistic and unworkable solutions for newly diagnosed patients who need emergency procreative care.

We at the AFP have worked diligently over the past several years to expand access to fertility preservation and post-treatment IVF for cancer patients and survivors. We were extremely disheartened to see this unscientific and dangerous decision because it will only serve to constrict the access that has just begun to take hold and limit rather than protect the prospects of future parenthood. For the sake of Alabama cancer patients and survivors, this ruling must not stand.

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