Mar 7, 2024 - News

IVF in Oregon unaffected by Alabama ruling

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 Visuals

In vitro fertilization accounted for 2.2% of all births in Oregon in 2021, according to the most recent CDC data.

  • That's slightly below the national figure of 2.3%.

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

  • The Alabama Legislature countered yesterday by passing legislation to protect patients and doctors involved with IVF.
  • IVF typically takes more than one embryo to safely achieve pregnancy — and unused embryos are often discarded.

The intrigue: Some other states are also considering fetal personhood bills, but not Oregon.

By the numbers: 908 infants were born in Oregon in 2021 with the use of assisted reproductive technologies like IVF.

  • More than 1,773 embryo transfers were performed in Oregon to get that number of infants.
  • Oregon ranks 26th in the nation by assisted reproductive technology births.

What they are saying: Paula Amato, professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine and president of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, issued a statement condemning the Alabama Supreme Court's ruling.

  • ​​"We have no reason to think the Alabama state case has any direct impact in Oregon," said OHSU spokesperson Erik Robinson.

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.

Bottom line: Without the ability to discard surplus embryos, IVF — already expensive and out of reach for many — could become even less accessible.

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