Don Reed
3 min readMar 1, 2024

By Don C. Reed

The Alabama Supreme Court recently declared that blastocysts (fertilized human eggs) were children. This decision may criminalize the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedure.

For many years virtually all conservative Republicans said: “ life begins at conception”. that a human being was formed, the instant when sperm meets egg. (1)

Example: right now, one hundred twenty-five House Representatives (including Mike Johnson, current Speaker of the House) are co-sponsors for a bill stating that life’s legal rights begin at conception. (2)

If this is accepted, then the In Vitro Fertilization procedure, according to Republican law, is wrongful death. Why? The process involves making a dozen or so sperm-egg combinations (blastocysts)and keeping them alive in a dish of salt water. The strongest two or three will be implanted in the woman’s womb.

But what do you do with blastocysts “left over”, that you do not use in the IVF procedure?? If these are, as the Republicans say, “young humans”, then there is no legal way to dispose of them. If you throw them away, it would be manslaughter.

Implant them all, as did the Octo-mom, Nadya Suleyman? (3) She had eight children that way. I submit that this is not a serious answer to the problem; most people do not wish to have eight (or ten or twelve) children all at once.

How big a problem? “It is estimated there are over one million frozen eggs and sperm in the United States today….”

It is time for common sense to prevail.

Fertilized eggs are not children, any more than an acorn is an oak.

If I see an acorn on my concrete driveway, I do not think, “Oh look, a mighty oak tree!” It is an acorn, that’s all, and as long as it remains on the driveway, it will be nothing else. If you plant it in good soil, and nurture it under proper growing conditions, then maybe it will eventually become a tree — but on dry concrete?

Similarly, without implantation in the womb, it is biologically impossible to make a child. Until the surgeon implants it, the blastocyst is a fertilized egg; a dot in a dish of salt water, and so it will remain.

No implantation, no baby; this is not rocket science.

Until now, the blastocysts were considered the property of the people who made them. They could be stored, donated or discarded. This allowed the IVF procedure to offer hope to childless couples.

If the Alabama law stands, backed almost exclusively by Republicans, the IVF procedure is done: criminalized.

To save IVF, therefore, we should establish in law that an unimplanted blastocyst is not a child: any more than an unplanted acorn is an oak tree — both are potential: what might be.

Note: a floor vote of Congress is required here: up or down, Otherwise, Republicans who have opposed IVF for years will be able to pretend otherwise. Senator Tammy Duckworth has a perfectly good bill which makes the choice clear: yes or no for IVF. It was blocked by Republicans. (5)

Former President Donald Trump says he supports IVF — but what about the man says he wants to be chair of the Republican party, Michael Whatley?

“Whatley has been the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party since 2019. Under his leadership, the North Carolina Republican Party has consistently opposed scientific procedures that involve discarding human embryos, saying such actions violate “the sanctity of all human life.” (6)

So what’s next, Republican Congresspersons? Will you allow an up-or -down floor vote on In Vitro Fertilization?

A real vote, not just “a nonbinding resolution.” That is just empty talk,

If you will not allow the vote, we can only go by your party’s record on the issue, which is overwhelmingly negative.









Don Reed

For 23 years, Don C. Reed has supported medical research, ever since his son Roman Reed was paralyzed in a college football accident.