Prospect of Roe v. Wade Reversal Endangers Fertility Industry

The possibility that the Supreme Court may be ready to overturn Roe v. Wade any day has reproductive technology advocate groups like the American Society for Reproductive Medicine scrambling to protect their commercial interests.

If Roe is reversed, individual American states will once again be empowered to enact the level of abortion regulation and restriction their citizens call for. Laws like the Texas Heartbeat Act enacted last year and dozens of others will make many parts of the reproduction industry criminal enterprises overnight in many parts of the country.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is likely to face severe restrictions, as destroying human life is integral to the IVF process. The procedure often includes screening of early embryos in the first week of life before they are implanted. They are screened for abnormalities like Down Syndrome and inherited genetic anomalies such as cystic fibrosis. Any embryos not deemed suitable are discarded.

Scientific research has shown that many embryos with early abnormalities are able to self-correct during early development. Discarding all early embryos that have any potential defects leads to the termination of untold numbers of lives at that stage of development.

Early discarding of IVF children is not the only part of the industry that could see new regulation. Many “surplus” embryos are cryogenically frozen. It is estimated that there are now more than 1 million frozen embryos throughout the country. Newly allowed state regulations could affect the disposal of these children essentially sitting in suspended animation.

State law after the end of Roe could also directly affect the fertility industry’s practices of allowing the selection of “designer” children based on genetic preferences.

The IVF process also has a lower success rate than many people realize. Only around 7% of all lab-created embryos result in live births.

Right to Life of Michigan legislative director Genevieve Marnon told The Federalist that ending Roe will not necessarily protect unborn embryonic life absent a state law that expressly does so. The leaked opinion recently circulated would leave that determination up to each state individually if it is consistent with whatever final ruling is issued.

The fertility industry will likely face a state-by-state analysis of how its business model will be affected by a reversal of Roe v. Wade, with every state being presented the opportunity to review the propriety of the practice in its totality.