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In vitro fertilization may be in jeopardy following Roe v. Wade decision

Debates over when life begins may affect IVF procedures, according to one fertility doctor.

CLIVE, Iowa — Two out of every 100 babies born in the United States in 2022 are conceived via in vitro fertilization, according to Dr. Donald Young with Mid-Iowa Fertility.  

However, with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, he said this process could be in jeopardy. 

"That is a whole lot of babies that won't be born if this comes to pass and they aren't very, very careful with the wording of any laws," Young said.  

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure where people with uteruses who are struggling to get pregnant undergo between seven to ten days of injections to stimulate their ovaries so they mature more eggs. 

Then, medical professionals retrieve the eggs out of the ovaries through an ultrasound-guided procedure. The eggs are then put into dishes and combined with sperm to create embryos. From there, the embryos are put in an incubator for five days.

After that time, parents can decide if they want to inject the eggs into the uterus or freeze them for a later date. 

Young said the issue some people have with IVF is based on the belief that life starts at fertilization. With IVF using multiple eggs to ensure success, Young said this creates a blurry line of what is considered an abortion. 

From a scientific standpoint, however, Young said the separation is very clear. 

"From a scientific basis, that does not fit," Young said. "You can't say that it's a person at the time of fertilization from a science basis at all. It does not happen until implantation in the uterus in the womb."

Here in Iowa, a national organization called Resolve has a chapter that supports families going through IVF. 

Representatives from the organization said when legislation is introduced to limit abortion access or threaten access to what they say is safe, effective family building options, they are prepared to fight for that care.  

"We will not back down," the group said in a statement. "We will fight every bill, ballot initiative or regulation that threatens access to building a family." 

Young said his appointments will surely be booked up as people from across the state are wondering what their options are. 

"We've had numerous phone calls [the] last few days from patients who are wanting to get IVF done immediately because they're worried about Iowa putting in some sort of law," Young said. "Or [just calling with] questions about their embryos that they have frozen, that we have stored here or at an off-site facility. And what will happen with those embryos that they have?" 

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