A decision by the Alabama Supreme Court has caused the paralysis of IVF services in some places and a wave of protests from fertility providers.

The court ruled on Feb. 16 that, under state law, frozen embryos are considered children, stating in the decision that “the Wrongful Death of a Child Act applies to all unborn children, without limitation.”

The decision was in response to two wrongful death cases filed by three couples whose frozen embryos were destroyed in an accident at an Alabama fertility clinic.

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The justices ruled that an 1872 state law allowing parents to sue for the death of a minor “applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.”

“Unborn children are ‘children’ … without exception based on their developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristic,” Judge Jay Mitchell wrote in the ruling.

baby being born

An Alabama Supreme Court decision led to the suspension of IVF services in some places and a flood of protests from fertility providers. (REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo)

This includes “unborn children who are outside a biological womb at the time of their death.”

The pro-life advocacy group Live Action reacted to the decision in a statement.

“Every person, from the smallest embryo to an elderly person nearing the end of their life, is of incalculable worth deserving and guaranteed legal protection,” Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, said in the statement.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Live Action for additional comment.

Newborn baby

In the Alabama court’s ruling, the chief justice referred to the defense of “the sanctity of unborn life,” a phrase that appears in the Alabama Constitution. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

In the court’s ruling, Chief Justice Tom Parker referenced the defense of “the sanctity of unborn life,” a phrase that appears in the Alabama Constitution.

“Even before they are born, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without erasing his glory,” Parker said in the ruling.

IVF providers suspend services

In response to the court ruling, Alabama’s largest hospital system, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), announced Wednesday that it would suspend its in vitro fertilization treatments.

“UAB’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility has suspended in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments while it evaluates the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that a cryopreserved embryo is a human being,” the hospital said in a statement provided to Fox News Digital.

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

The hospital noted that other components of fertility treatments – “all through egg retrieval” – remain in effect, and only fertilization of the egg and embryonic development They are on pause.

On Thursday, two additional fertility providers, Alabama Fertility Specialists and the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Mobile, Alabama, announced they were stopping their IVF treatments, according to local reports.

IVF tube donor

A laboratory worker fills a test tube at an IVF clinic. In response to the court’s new ruling, some Alabama providers have suspended their IVF services. (Jack Atley/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Doctors think

Dr. Asima Ahmad, co-founder and medical director of Carrot Fertility and a practicing reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist based in Chicago, Illinois, shared her thoughts on the ruling.

“Access to IVF is now at stake in Alabama due to the recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling,” he said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

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“This decision could have serious consequences for people desperately seeking to have children, including clinics closing, doctors moving out of state for fear of practicing, price increases and changes in medical practice to avoid lawsuits, which may not be ideal for the patient.

Ahmad warned that the ruling could cause “profound damage” to access to fertility services.

“IVF is a crucial part of reproductive science and allows women to have children they would not otherwise be able to have.”

“As doctors, it is our fundamental duty to do no harm, and this could take away our ability to practice medicine in the way we believe is most ethical and safe for our patients,” he added.

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center and Fox News medical contributor, reacted to the impact of the ruling on IVF availability in an interview with Fox News Digital.

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“IVF is a crucial part of reproductive science and allows women to have children they otherwise wouldn’t be able to,” she said.

“Freezing eggs is an important part of the process, because it allows women to use them later, when the time is best or when they have found the right partner.”

London Fertility Clinic

An embryologist works in a petri dish at a fertility clinic. About 13.4% of American women ages 15 to 49 experience infertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

Freezing embryos also allows for a couple more options in terms of timing, Siegel said, which can increase the chances of having a viable child.

“It is important that a frozen embryo is not used casually or frozen without a plan for use, but I believe that IVF is an important option that brings children closer to couples,” he said.

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“Certainly, if your religious beliefs indicate that life begins at conception or the formation of an embryo, then you should abstain,” he added. “For others, it is an important option.”

Approximately 13.4% of american women Between 15 and 49 years old experience infertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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By Sam