Mar 5, 2024 - News

Spotlight on IVF in Arizona

Assisted reproductive technology procedures performed per 1 million women in 2021
Note: Assisted reproductive technology refers to all treatments or procedures that include the handling of human eggs or embryos to help a woman become pregnant; Reproduced from the CDC; Chart: Axios

In vitro fertilization accounted for 1.7% of Arizona births in 2021, according to the most recent CDC data.

  • That fell slightly below the national 2.3% figure.

Why it matters: IVF is top of mind for many after Alabama's Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos created through IVF are children under state law, Axios' Carly Mallenbaum writes.

  • It means fertility clinics in the state could be held legally liable for disposing of surplus embryos.
  • IVF typically takes more than one embryo to safely achieve pregnancy — and unused embryos are often discarded.

The intrigue: Other states are also considering so-called fetal personhood bills.

  • One such law passed in Arizona in 2021 would define fetuses, embryos and fertilized eggs as people, but it remains blocked by the courts.

The fine print: That law "specifies an exception in taking action against anyone who provides IVF procedures," the Arizona Republic reported in February, though some experts believe it's unclear.

By the numbers: 1,319 infants were born in Arizona in 2021 with the use of assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, according to the CDC.

  • More than 3,030 embryo transfers were performed in Arizona that year.

Between the lines: IVF patients usually need multiple embryos to ensure just one healthy baby, because the process often involves embryo attrition, Lucky Sekhon, reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at RMA of New York, tells Axios.

Three or more embryos may be required for a patient to have one pregnancy, Sekhon says.

  • Of the embryos that thaw and pass genetic testing, about half to two-thirds lead to pregnancy in an ideal scenario, she says.

Reality check: If the law prohibits clinics from discarding embryos, it could increase the time, cost and physical and emotional toll it takes to get pregnant via IVF.

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