Alabama IVF patients describe heartbreak, anger after ruling

Feb 27, 2024, 10:13 AM | Updated: 6:14 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Tory Beasley had dreamed of having three kids, and she and her husband turned to IVF after struggling with infertility. She was scheduled for an embryo transfer next week at an Alabama fertility clinic in the hopes of having a dreamed-of second child.

The mental health therapist was in her doctor’s office when she got the news that the clinic was pausing IVF treatments. The decision came in the wake of an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that called into question the future of some fertility treatments in the state.

“It was a gut punch. It is literally a gut punch,” Beasley said Tuesday. She said the medicine delivered to her to help prepare her body is just sitting on her floor.

In vitro fertilization patients in Alabama described postponed pregnancies, canceled appointments and the uncertainty surrounding if they will be able to access frozen embryos already created in the hopes of growing their families. While state legislators have promised to try to craft a legislative solution, patients said they are left waiting.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra visited Alabama to lead a roundtable discussion with a group of IVF patients on Tuesday in Birmingham. Becerra said the decision has had heart-wrenching consequences, and it underscored the importance of protections for reproductive care that were lost when Roe v Wade was overturned.

“When Roe went down and took away health care rights and access, it did it for more than just abortion care,” Becerra said.

Alabama justices this month said three couples who had frozen embryos destroyed in an accident at a storage facility could pursue wrongful death lawsuits for their “extrauterine children.”

The ruling, treating an embryo the same as a child or gestating fetus under the wrongful death statute, raised concerns about civil liabilities for clinics. It had an immediate chilling effect on the availability of IVF in the Deep South state. Three of the largest clinics in the state swiftly announced a pause on IVF services.

“This affects real people. This affects real families,” Dr. Rachel Charles, an internal medicine physician and IVF patient, said.

Charles said she was unsure if she would ever be able to have children because of her lupus diagnosis and the medication that she takes. She and her husband turned to IVF and went through an egg retrieval. After medical complications and a heavy physical and emotional toll, they postponed an embryo transfer from February until late March or April. Then they were told their clinic was ceasing IVF.

“While we’re not guaranteed that the embryo that we had would have actually worked, right now we’re in limbo,” Charles said.

“We’re sitting here saying ‘Are we going to be able to pursue trying to make a family? Are we going to stay here in Alabama if this does not change?’ ”

Elizabeth Goldman, one of the few women to give birth after undergoing a uterus transplant, held a photo of her four-month-old daughter who was born through IVF. Goodman said she had planned to begin gear up for another round of IVF this spring in the hopes of having a second child before doctors have to remove her transplanted uterus.

“I’m basically at a standstill. My whole entire journey revolved around IVF and being able to do another embryo transfer,” Goldman said. With an entire medical team involved in her care, Goodman said she can’t just easily go to another state to pursue IVF.

Alabama lawmakers said they are grasping for a possible solution. Republican Gov. Kay Ivey said Tuesday that she anticipates having a “bill on my desk very shortly while ensuring that the Legislature has time to get this right.”

“In Alabama, as I said last week, we work to foster a culture of life and that includes IVF. The Legislature is diligently working on addressing this issue as we speak,” Ivey said Tuesday.

Alabama lawmakers have proposed separate proposals in Montgomery. Republican Sen. Tim Melson, a doctor, introduced legislation Tuesday that would largely provide civil and criminal immunity for IVF services. House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, a Democrat, proposed a bill saying that a fertilized human egg or human embryo outside of a uterus “is not considered an unborn child or human being for any purpose under state law.”

The court decision has created great uncertainty for physicians who are trying to figure out how they can move forward, a spokesman for a group representing providers said.

“The easiest thing to do is to return to what the state of the law was prior to (the ruling) which is a clear legal distinction between an in vitro fertilized egg and a fetus developing in a woman’s womb,” Sean Tipton, chief advocacy and policy officer at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

United States News

Associated Press

A police officer, sheriff’s deputy and suspect killed in a shootout in upstate New York, police say

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (AP) — A police officer and a sheriff’s deputy in upstate New York were shot and killed Sunday night in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect, who also was killed, police said. The shooting took place shortly after 8 p.m. in Liverpool, about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) north of Syracuse. The Syracuse […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Trump’s history-making hush money trial starts Monday with jury selection

NEW YORK (AP) — In a singular moment for American history, the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump begins Monday with jury selection. It’s the first criminal trial of a former commander in chief and the first of Trump’s four indictments to go to trial. Because Trump is the presumptive nominee for this […]

5 hours ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

7 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Semiautomatic firearm ban passes Colorado’s House, heads to Senate

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s Democratic-controlled House on Sunday passed a bill that would ban the sale and transfer of semiautomatic firearms, a major step for the legislation after roughly the same bill was swiftly killed by Democrats last year. The bill, which passed on a 35-27 vote, is now on its way to the Democratic-led […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Content by

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s Democratic-controlled House on Sunday passed a bill that would ban the sale and transfer of semiautomatic firearms, a major step for the legislation after roughly the same bill was swiftly killed by Democrats last year. The bill, which passed on a 35-27 vote, is now on its way to the Democratic-led […]

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Alabama IVF patients describe heartbreak, anger after ruling