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State abortion bans trigger confusion over what happens to frozen embryos

As state after state passes abortion bans, the question of what to do with frozen embryos has become increasingly pressing.

In many cases, couples who have undergone in-vitro fertilization (IVF) will have leftover embryos that they have not yet decided to implant. These embryos are typically frozen, and can be thawed and implanted at a later date if the couple decides to have another child.

However, in states where abortion is effectively outlawed, it is unclear what will happen to these embryos. Some couples may be forced to implant them, even if they are not ready to have another child. Others may be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that many couples who have frozen embryos are not married. This means that, in some cases, the decision of whether or not to implant an embryo may rest with only one person in the relationship.

The confusion over what will happen to frozen embryos in states with abortion bans is yet another example of the far-reaching effects of these bans.

Arkansas’ abortion ban, which went into effect on Friday, defines an “unborn child” as starting at fertilization. That left Dean Moutos, who runs Arkansas Fertility Gynecology, the state’s sole provider of in vitro fertilization, with questions. The law makes no mention of IVF, but Moutos immediately wondered: Could his patients’ frozen embryos be defined as unborn children under the law? Could discarding those embryos be considered an abortion? “I don’t know whether the people who wrote this law fully understood the downstream effects of it,” he said. “But everybody across the country, including us in Arkansas, is very concerned about…

Source: nbcnews.com/health/health…