Will Roe v. Wade Decision Impact Fertility Preservation Treatments?
- Britt McHenry questioned whether the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision will impact women who wish to undergo IVF treatments.
- McHenry is a cancer survivor herself and shared that she froze her eggs before treatment, as many young people with cancer do.
- With in vitro fertilization, eggs are fertilized outside of the body and then implanted into the uterus. Sometimes, the embryos are frozen — and not all of these frozen embryos end up being used.
- Currently, it’s unclear if the Roe decision would impact these unused embryos.
“As a woman who survived cancer, I froze my eggs in precaution of needed chemo and radiation,” McHenry wrote on Twitter. “Going further & creating embryos more likely guarantees pregnancy. Now Roe v Wade is overturned, what happens to couples w/ embryos in HOPES of a baby? Punishment for unused embryos?”Read More
After many commenters on McHenry’s post pointed out that IVF seemed to be a separate issue from the Roe v. Wade decision, she shared a Newsweek article that outlined how the future of fertility treatments could be unclear due to the ruling.
As a woman who survived cancer, I froze my eggs in precaution of needing chemo or radiation. Going further & creating embryos more likely guarantees pregnancy. Now Roe v Wade is overturned, what happens to couples w/ embryos in HOPES of a baby? Punishment for unused embryos? #IVF
— Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) June 24, 2022
This is because many of the 13 states that planned to seriously restrict abortion access immediately — Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, and Texas — consider “the moment of fertilization” as the moment life begins.
How the new ruling affects fertility treatments is one of the questions that remains unclear at this time.
Fertility Treatment for Cancer Patients
When a woman who has not yet had children, or is planning to have additional children, is diagnosed with cancer, it is important to have a conversation about fertility options — and do so as quickly as possible.
“For fertility preservation, most of the time I see women right at the time of their diagnosis,” Dr. Jaime Knopman, a reproductive endocrinologist and Director of Fertility Preservation at CCRM NY, told SurvivorNet in a previous conversation about fertility options. “Usually, they see an oncologist, they’re told they have cancer, and within a couple of days, they’re sitting in our office to talk about what options are available to them to preserve their fertility.”
Dr. Jaime Knopman explains fertility preservation options after a cancer diagnosis.
Common cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can harm a woman’s eggs, so young women hoping to have children in the future should consider options like freezing their eggs for future use or having those eggs fertilized (either by a partner’s sperm or donor sperm) and then freezing the embryos.
“…Most of the time, women that are diagnosed at an early stage have a long life ahead of them, and yeah, the next couple of years may be sort of miserable, but after that, they will have the opportunity to live a life that they always thought they wanted to live or hoped to live,” Dr. Knopman said.