Major Alabama hospital stops IVF treatment after court rules embryos are children

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Alabama's largest hospital has stopped in vitro fertilization treatment after a state court ruled that frozen embryos are children under state law.

A spokesperson for the University of Alabama at Birmingham released a statement Wednesday announcing that the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility has paused in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures as they asses the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision that a “cryopreserved embryo” is a child.

The ruling puts patients and physicians conducting IVF treatment at risk of criminal prosecution, which is a significant concern for the university that runs the nation's eighth-largest hospital.

“We are saddened that this will impact our patients’ attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments,” the statement said.

The spokesperson made clear that while IVF treatment is paused, “everything through egg retrieval remains in place.”

During a live interview on NBC Wednesday, presidential candidate Nikki Haley said she supported the ruling, while sharing that she had used artificial insemination.

“Embryos, to me, are babies,” Haley said. “When you talk about an embryo to me, that’s a life. And so, I do see where that’s coming from when they talk about that.”