IVF Bills
The process of artificial insemination of an egg in an IVF clinic. Reproductive medicine, in vitro fertilization

In February 2024, Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. The ruling set off intense debate over its impact, particularly on treatments for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Alabama state lawmakers and legislators in several other states have rapidly introduced various IVF bills in response to the ruling.

What is IVF?

IVF is an infertility treatment that involves collecting mature eggs from ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm in a lab. The fertilized eggs, or embryos, are placed in the uterus for development. Around one million babies were born in the United States between 1980 and 2015 through IVF or other assisted reproductive technologies.

Alabama Lawmakers Fast Track IVF Bills, Gov Signs Into Law

As a result of the state supreme court’s recent ruling, some healthcare providers in the state halted IVF services. Alabama state lawmakers have passed legislation to protect IVF providers from liability that the court’s decision would have imposed. State senators and representatives have introduced various measures related to IVF since the court ruling, including SB 159, SB 160, and HB 237.

Two competing measures protect individuals and entities receiving or providing IVF services from criminal prosecution and lawsuits. The bills would also apply retroactively.

SB 159 passed the Senate 34–0 on February 29, 2024. House lawmakers amended the bill and passed it 81–12. The amendment protects manufacturers of goods used to facilitate IVF processes. The bill now goes back to the Senate. Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed the bill into law on March 6, 2024.

Similarly, HB 237 passed the House 94–6 on February 29, 2024. The bill received a similar amendment to SB 159, which allowed protections for manufacturers of goods used to facilitate IVF processes.

Illinois Lawmakers Push to Expand IVF Access

Illinois lawmakers have introduced several pieces of legislation in the 2024 legislative session to expand access to IVF treatments. SB 2572 would require employers with over 25 employees to provide infertility coverage.

Another bill, HB 5152, would establish a $500 income tax credit for individuals who permanently relocate to Illinois from a state with more “restrictive” healthcare laws surrounding abortion, gender-affirming care, and fertility treatments.

Meanwhile, Governor JB Pritzker (D) recently indicated his support for legislation codifying the right to access fertility treatments into the state constitution.

New York Lawmaker Introduces IVF Bill

New York State Senator Jack Martins introduced Senate Bill 8682 in response to the Alabama Court ruling. The bill, which has not advanced past the Senate Health Committee as of March 6, 2024, would amend the public health law by prohibiting the recognition of a fertilized human egg or embryo outside of a human uterus as an unborn child or a human being.

Tennessee Lawmakers Fail to Advance IVF Clarification Bill

Tennessee lawmakers introduced legislation that would have clarified that the state’s abortion ban does not impact or endanger fertility treatments or contraceptive care access. The bills, HB 2227 / SB 1918, would provide that the criminal offense definition of abortion excludes the use of contraceptives and the disposal of embryos resulting from fertility treatments.

HB 2227 failed to advance past the Population Health Subcommittee of the Health Committee on March 5, 2024. Republican committee members argued there was no need to clarify the state’s abortion ban, noting that both IVF and contraception are legal in Tennessee.

Colorado and Iowa Lawmakers Introduce IVF Bills in Contrast to Other States

Meanwhile, lawmakers in states like Colorado and Iowa have introduced legislation adopting the Alabama Supreme Court’s interpretation of a child to include frozen embryos. Colorado HB24-1224 would identify an unborn child at any stage of development as a “person,” granting them rights in the context of private legal actions, abuse cases, and existing laws against murder and assault. Similarly, Iowa lawmakers introduced HF 2575, which would replace “terminates a human pregnancy” in Iowa Code section 707.8 with the words “causes the death of an unborn person.” An unborn person would be defined as “an individual organism of the species homo sapiens from fertilization to live birth.”

From The Experts

Expert insights from the authors at Duane Morris Government Strategies.


Ryan Stevens

The Alabama Supreme Court’s recent ruling that frozen embryos can be considered humans has set off intense debate over its impact, particularly on treatments for in vitro fertilization (IVF). As lawmakers navigate the implications for IVF treatments, their legislative decisions will shape the future of reproductive rights and medical ethics.

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