Alabama gov. signs bill protecting IVF providers from legal liability

Lawmakers passed the bill in response to the state Supreme Court ruling that said frozen embryos are equal to children.
A container with frozen embryos
Posted at 10:03 PM, Mar 06, 2024

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed new legislation late Wednesday to protect in vitro fertilization services in the state.

Her signature came hours after state lawmakers passed the bill through Alabama's House and Senate. The new legislation protects health care providers from the Alabama Supreme Court's February ruling that held frozen embryos are equal to children.

Under the new legislation, providers could not be sued or held criminally liable for the "damage or death of an embryo" during in vitro fertilization procedures.

The new legislation says that "no action, suit, or criminal prosecution for the damage to or death of an embryo shall be brought or maintained against any individual or entity when providing or receiving services related to in vitro fertilization." It would apply retroactively but would not be applied to ongoing litigation.

The new rule would still permit certain civil lawsuits, but not criminal lawsuits, against manufacturers of IVF equipment.

Alabama lawmakers advance legislation to protect IVF providers
Hundreds gather for a protest rally for in vitro fertilization legislation

Alabama lawmakers advance legislation to protect IVF providers

The bills would protect providers from lawsuits and criminal prosecution for the "damage or death of an embryo" during IVF services.


Some hospitals and IVF providers paused treatments after the ruling to protect their workers from legal risk, and to evaluate the rulings. Doctors and patients who had started procedures were left without guidance or forced to make other plans.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which represents IVF providers across the U.S., says the new legislation doesn't go far enough, since it doesn't address the "fundamental problem" of the court ruling that it views embryos as children.

Alabama House Democrats have proposed legislation that would clarify that an embryo outside of the uterus could not be an unborn child for purposes of state law.

Republicans have not voted on that proposal.