How The Pro-Life Movement Can Positively Influence Laws Surrounding Fertility Treatments

A recent decision by the Alabama Supreme Court essentially states that embryos must be considered children under the letter of the law.

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Pro-life activists have long believed that fetuses are deserving of human rights because of the scientific belief that human life begins at conception. Contrary to what some may think, this goal is not out of reach. States are working to enshrine fetal rights into law, recognizing fetuses as human beings who should be given the same rights as people who have already been born. 

As of March 15, 23 pieces of legislation had been introduced in 13 states that would create fetal personhood and outlaw abortion, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. With fetal personhood as the end goal for many in the pro-life movement, how these laws would impact the fertility treatment of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is now a main point of discussion. 

A recent decision by the Alabama Supreme Court essentially states that embryos must be considered children under the letter of the law. It ruled that embryos fall under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act, which creates a way for parents to receive punitive damages over the death of a child. It found that embryos qualify as “unborn children” and stated that the Act “applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.” The decision called into question whether or not the IVF industry will be able to continue its treatments under pro-life legislation. The pro-life movement and the practice of IVF can co-exist, but their bond would be stronger if the procedures surrounding IVF were altered because of new laws protecting unborn life.

Although fetal rights will inevitably have a major impact on the IVF industry, this does not mean that supporters of IVF should shy away from such rights being enshrined into law. Many pro-life advocates, as well as conservative Christians, view IVF as an essential means to starting a family. A Facebook group called “Christian IVF Support” has 2,000 members and conservative women have begun to speak out in favor of IVF practices. 

Hannah Nelson, a Christian mother who received IVF treatment in order to give birth to her son, responded to a post by conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey in late February. “There is an ethical and Christian way to do IVF,” she wrote, according to The Washington Post. “I am curious why you’re against that means of creating a family.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told me about natural cycle IVF, a process that takes one egg at a time from a woman during her menstrual cycle. The egg is fertilized outside of the body, and transferred back into the woman, similar to traditional IVF, but without the use of drugs or multiple embryos. 

“There is natural cycle IVF which I believe only extracts a limited number of eggs and implants every embryo into the mother,” Hawkins explained over text. “I think many who are pro-life would be okay with [natural cycle IVF] as you aren’t ‘screening out’ humans or freezing them.”

There is also the process of “Minimal Stimulation IVF,” or “Mini IVF,” which incorporates less medication to produce fewer eggs, resulting in fewer embryos. This could be another option for people who have concerns over the vast number of unused embryos that are frozen through the traditional IVF process, possibly to never be implanted and given a chance.


Without cohesive regulation, the IVF industry as a business is not pro-life. One doesn’t have to look far to find pro-life parents who have gone through the IVF process and were forced to seek alternative clinics or received pushback when they wanted to implant all of their embryos.

The IVF industry does not promote pro-life practices in part due to clinics’ desires to have high success rates and make money. The procedure of in-vitro fertilization, however, can be completed in a way that gives value to the lives of unborn children. Laws that protect the unborn at all stages of life — whether in utero or prior to being implanted — will change the IVF industry for the better.

Legislators in the United States need only glance across the pond for a model on how to better protect human life created through fertility treatments. European countries have stricter laws on IVF and other fertility procedures. According to fertility treatment group IVI, as of January 2022, 20 of the states in the European Union permit donation of sperm and only 17 allow egg donation. The process of freezing one’s eggs or sperm is allowed in all countries in Europe if it is done because of medical reasons that could negatively impact a person’s ability to have children. In many other countries, however, it is not allowed for social reasons. The only states that permit “fertility preservation” for social purposes include Germany, Spain, Switzerland, as well as the United Kingdom. 

Even the United Kingdom, which allows access to IVF, has restrictions. The law does not permit parents to pick which embryo they would prefer based on the child’s sex unless it is for a medical reason. In the United States, this is widely accepted, even though several states ban sex selection for abortion, even when some of them allow the procedure. According to the Guttmacher Institute, as of August 2023, eleven states prohibit abortion because of the sex of the baby.

No one conceived through fertility treatments — or parents who utilized these procedures — should be judged or ostracized. As Kristan Hawkins pointed out in our conversation, “those who were conceived via IVF are valuable persons who we are glad are here.”

The pro-life movement does not need to exist apart from IVF, but it can and should positively influence laws surrounding fertility treatments so that humans at all stages of life are given the rights they deserve.

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The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire. 

Disclosure: The author formerly worked with Students for Life of America.

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