SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – The potential overturning of Roe v. Wade could have ripple effects on other aspects of reproductive health, including in vitro fertilization, IVF.
A central question in the debate over abortion rights is – when does life begin?
IVF is a series of procedures that helps women struggling with fertility conceive a child, and one aspect of the process involves fertilized eggs.
The new debate over the fate of Roe v. Wade could factor in what happens to those embryos — and the ones that get frozen or discarded.
"There's no nervous system, there's no sort of differentiation of the cells into different parts of the body," said Dr. Heather Huddleston, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at UCSF. "It is alive, the cells are alive, but it’s a ball of cells."
According to Huddleston, while that ball of cells that has the potential to be a person, a lot of things have to happen first.
Since they are derived from fertilized eggs, some of the laws that get passed in some of these states could afford protected status to very, very early embryos, which could affect the way IVF is done.
And for many women, it's become a common procedure that's needed for a variety of reasons, including some with medical conditions that require them to only conceive through IVF.
Right now, it doesn’t seem like there’s much interest in restricting IVF, even in the most conservative states. But in theory, the risk is there.
"It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out," she said. "Because from a purist standpoint, if you’re going to call life beginning at fertilization, then in truth IVF would be something you would have a problem with."
"I will be watching to see how some of these politicians handle it," she said.
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