Updated: Sep 21, 2022
It’s hard to believe that my first round of IVF began 4 years ago. It’s even harder to believe how much has changed since that first round. We have been in a global pandemic for almost 3 years, inflation is at an all-time high, and there is still a shortage of baby formula across the US. Though all these things have affected people differently, the scariest change recently is the US Supreme Court and its overturning of Roe VS. Wade in June 2022. As a woman, my heart aches because the government refuses to let us govern our bodies how we see fit. As a mother by way of IVF, I worry about how this decision will impact my future pregnancies and how my frozen embryos will be affected as well.
A year ago when I decided to move back home to Louisiana, I knew at some point I would be shipping my embryos from the clinic in Texas to a facility here in case we decided to expand our family. What I did not know was that Louisiana was considered a “personhood” state. This means that life begins at fertilization and our embryos, once stored in LA, would now have rights. The first meeting with our potential fertility specialist was the first I’d heard of this. IVF is a process no matter if it’s your first round or your fifth. When you add in the layer of moving to a new state and having to ship embryos, that creates more challenges and more costs. Now add another layer of dealing with the legal red tape and the situation just gets even more daunting.
Moving the embryos to LA meant that the first step in our potential process was meeting with a lawyer to essentially create a will for our remaining frozen babies. Louisiana does not allow embryos to be discarded at any point, so we need to plan what happens to them once we no longer need them. This could mean costly storage fees or shipping them back to a state that allows them to be discarded. Shipping fees for embryos start around $700 and storage fees average $750/yr. Add in the lawyer fees for the paperwork and the cost of treatment itself and you are well over $25,000.
When Roe v. Wade was overturned, many of my friends asked if this affected me. The short answer is not right now. Louisiana has always been a personhood state, so nothing has changed. This does not mean that will always be the case. Fertility doctors don’t seem to be concerned with how the trigger laws will affect IVF specifically since these laws are about women who are already pregnant and not frozen embryos yet to be implanted. But as we have seen in recent years, the government can change its mind at any time and who can say what they will come after next.
Share a little about your IVF experience in the comments below! What are some of your takeaways post Roe V. Wade being overturned?