Why this Virginia mother is so concerned about the future of IVF: 'Where does it stop?'

'There's nobody in the world that knows more acutely than IVF patients that an embryo is not a baby. And there's nobody in the world that wishes embryos were babies more than IVF patients.'
Alison Hicks IVF
Posted at 7:31 PM, Jun 16, 2024

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A Henrico mother is expressing her concerns over the future of in vitro fertilization (IVF) after Senate Republicans struck down a piece of legislation meant to protect it, and other fertility treatments, nationwide.

Alison Hicks, who has a background in public health and owns Baby Dust Doula Services, said she tried every treatment imaginable before considering IVF.

Alison Hicks IVF
Alison Hicks and Family

"As difficult as it is, we were so hopeful that we would finally have an answer, we would finally have an ending, and we were one of the lucky ones who did," Hicks said.

IVF treatment brought her a daughter.

In her work as a doula, she said she has seen other mothers struggling with constant testing and doctor appointments from IVF.

Alison Hicks IVF
Alison Hicks

"I'm the one holding their hands through the heartbreak and tears, and I'm the one helping them through the 'What if this doesn't work?' moments," Hicks explained.

With IVF treatment, eggs and sperm are fertilized in a laboratory. Once a viable embryo or multiple embryos form, they are placed in the uterus.

Alison Hicks IVF

IVF may need to be done several times to increase the chances of pregnancy, according to Yale Medicine.

"We fight for the chance, just the chance, to have a baby and to grow our family, sometimes you can make it embryos and you have a couple in a doctor's office, frozen," Hicks said. "That doesn't guarantee you anything. That doesn't mean you'll walk away with a baby, and that's what's so heartbreaking and horrific for so many people."

Alison Hicks IVF

In February, Alabama's Supreme Court ruled embryos created through IVF should be considered children, which put some IVF treatments on pause. During treatment, extra embryos or nonviable embryos are often discarded in the process.

"It's not just, you made a baby in a petri dish and now you're pregnant," Hicks said. "There's a thousand steps along that process. And saying at the end of all of that, that embryos are considered people is absolutely absurd," Hicks said. "There's nobody in the world that knows more acutely than IVF patients that an embryo is not a baby. And there's nobody in the world that wishes embryos were babies more than IVF patients."

Alison Hicks IVF

This month, Sen. Tim Kaine and several other Democrats introduced the "Right to IVF Act." It was blocked by Senate Republicans.

A day after it was blocked, Sen. Mark Warner visited with Planned Parenthood advocates.

"Even in the most conservative states in the country, when voters have been asked should we allow women the right to choose, should they have reproductive health freedom? Voters say yes," Warner said.

Alison Hicks IVF
Sen. Mark Warner

The Family Foundation, a pro-family public policy organization said in a statement to CBS6: “With 93% of all IVF human embryos destroyed through the process, decaying in test tubes, or terminated through medical research, hasty legislation is unwise and potentially dangerous. While this technology is one option for families struggling with infertility, it is fraught with ethical challenges. As the SBC did in its resolution, careful consideration of the dignity of human life must be built into all policies.”

Southern Baptists

National News

Southern Baptists urge caution on IVF by couples and government

AP via Scripps News
7:57 PM, Jun 16, 2024

Hicks said without IVF as an option, families will have fewer choices.

“This is going to affect more than just IVF patients," Hicks said. "This also will affect pregnant people no matter how your child was conceived. There’s the question is someone going to be persecuted for riding a bike while pregnant or something else that’s considered dangerous. Where does it stop? How far does it keep going?”

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