Roe v Wade and IVF Treatment: A Conversation with Embryologist Alease Daniel

Since the Supreme Court leak of the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Americans have been scrambling to determine what this means for their reproductive futures. For some, that means focusing on how the change will affect in-vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF treatment.

To get some clarity on this issue, we turned to Raleigh’s own embryologist, Alease Daniel. She studied genetics at North Carolina State University when she discovered the field of reproductive health and medicine and now works full-time at Atlantic Reproductive in Raleigh. 

She has more than a million views on her TikTok channel @aleasetheembryologist and has been featured on Good Morning America. 

What Can IVF Patients Expect? 

In a recent video on the Roe decision and IVF treatment, she said, “Each individual state will determine if they want to include IVF, regulations, and laws in that law that they pass. So, it will be a nightmare.” 

Some of those laws could include: 

  • Limiting the number of eggs to be inseminated
  • Preventing embryos from being frozen
  • Preventing embryos from being discarded
  • Posing risks to patients that have miscarriages

While overturning Roe will not automatically ban abortion nationwide, the decision will allow states to determine their own interpretations of a right to privacy. More than 20 states are poised to immediately ban or severely restrict reproductive rights once the decision becomes final. Other countries could provide a model for curtailing the rights of IVF patients. Italy outlaws egg and sperm donation and Germany mandates that all fertilized eggs, regardless of quality, must be transferred to the patient’s womb at one time. Neither country allows the freezing or discarding of eggs. 

State-by-State Impact on IVF Treatment

With some states establishing life as beginning at conception, access to reproductive therapy and the ways in which doctors can ensure healthy pregnancies will be hindered. From a May 9th Wired article: “The entire practice is predicated on some embryo disposal,” says Eliza Brown, a sociologist at UC Berkeley who specializes in reproduction. “This is especially true if the clinic is employing methods such as preimplantation genetic testing to look for and dispose of embryos with genetic abnormalities, which is becoming the standard of care.” 

What About North Carolina?

While North Carolina has a large number of fertility clinics, the state is not prepared for an influx of out-of-state patients. 

Alease points out that these kinds of laws will force IVF clinics in hostile states to close down, which then forces patients to travel out of state. “Which means higher costs, busier clinics, jobs lost…labs are already understaffed and fully trained embryologists are hard to find.” These complications can lead to an increase in mistakes, a reduction in the quality of care, and entire swaths of the population being denied access to IVF altogether. 

And while Governor Cooper has vetoed multiple anti-abortion bills, if the General Assembly wins a conservative supermajority in the fall, a total abortion ban may be possible – which is likely to include restrictions on IVF treatments.

You can follow Alease on TikTok @aleasetheembryologist and Instagram @alease_the_embryologist . Read more about Alease and fertility clinic red flags here.

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