April 13, 2024
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Part of the process of doing IVF is that there are more embryos created than actually used. The embryos that are frozen and thawed may not survive, may have low reproductive value, may not pass genetic testing, may not implant successfully in the uterus, and there may be pregnancy loss. Axios So it can take 3 or more embryos for one pregnancy. What is done with the extras? Typically a clinic destroys them or the customer can decide to store the embryos in a facility that will keep them frozen for a varying cost.

An Alabama court in the last few weeks decided that embryos are persons parents of an embryo that is destroyed can sue the person who destroyed it for wrongful death. One issue here is that it is absurd that an embryo is a person. The second issue is that then a customer has to decide to destroy the extras (are they then having a person murdered?) or to pay what can be quite pricey to keep them frozen (and especially when there is no guarantee that the embryos can be used for a successful implant in the future.)

Women who want to do IVF have known that the process involved destruction of embryos. So, is this their logic?

  • IVF inherently involves the destruction of fertilized embryos.
  • But I want/need IVF.
  • Therefore those embryos aren’t human life.

It’s human nature to reason this way—so human that I can barely even criticize it. It’s just a damn shame they can’t find the empathy to reason the same way when it’s someone else who’s in trouble.

The question then is, what to do with all the extra embroyos? There are a few choices. One is that the extra embryos are destroyed (Just like embryos are destroyed in abortions). Or a women can decide to freeze the eggs and/or embryos to use later, again keeping in mind that they may have attrition from the process of thawing). What does it cost? Keep in mind as you read this next part, that this is quite expensive, so not for everyone, and insurance may not even pay for it, making it out of pocket. Here’s one example from the Pacific Fertility Center of Los Angeles. For egg freezing, and note the cost of egg freezing, medications and storage per year…

Also known as Oocyte Cryopreservation, egg freezing’s costs vary depending on where you live. At the end of the day, the cost of egg freezing ranges from $6,000 and $10,000 per freezing cycle for California residents plus the cost of medications, which are billed to you directly by the pharmacy.

Medications are typically around $3,000 to $6,000, depending on how much your body needs. Storage is an additional cost of $700-$1,000 a year. If you need to go through more than one cycle most clinics offer a discount for purchasing multiple cycles upfront.

Now for embryo freezing.

The Cost of Embryo Freezing in California

Embryo freezing is the process of fertilizing eggs after retrieval and freezing them as embryos. 

At PFCLA, embryo freezing is $9,000 for one cycle, $16,500 for two cycles, and $22,000 for three cycles. These fees include: 

  • Coordination
  • In-cycle ultrasound exams
  • In-cycle blood tests
  • Egg retrieval
  • Anesthesia
  • Sperm collection and preparation
  • Embryo creation and vitrification
  • Embryo freezing 
  • One year of complimentary storage

Excluded costs around egg freezing at PFCLA include: 

  • Testing prior to treatment may be covered by your insurance. This often ranges from $500 to $1,500.
  • Fertility medications may also be covered by insurance. This costs between $3,500 and $5,000.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) at $1,500 
  • Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), is $5,000 for eight embryos, then $250 for additional embryos.
  • Embryo transfer(s) vary depending on the number of transfers purchased. For one frozen embryo transfer intended parents can expect to pay around $4,500 plus excluded costs. 

From Reprotech with Embryo Storage Costs which says other places might charge $350-$1000 per year; their prices are $440 per year plus shipping the first year ($815).

I’m pretty neutral about IVF, haven’t thought about it much one way or the other until the last couple of weeks, mostly because I am appalled a judge ruled that a dang embryo is a person, pretty much opening up the debate about children to a completely new set of issues around life. Seems to me that this ruling pretty much sets it up there the customer MUST freeze the embryos rather than, as is typical, having the clinic doing the work, destroy the extras, OR it leaves the storage place liable for a wrongful death lawsuit in case something happens like as is here -what if the electricity goes out and the embryos thaw?.

If there are women who, blithely, decided to have the embryos destroyed rather than pay for storage of the extras, and IF those embryos are *persons*, how is that any different than an abortion? Can a state that decides they support IVF also ban abortion when if, in the view of a right-to-lifer, that would be killing a *person* in either case?

Side note that I did not know until today that *snowflake* babies were called so because of the frozen embryo part. Also did not know that my taxpayer money (at least during the Bush administration, is it still the case now?) was going to, basically, sell leftover embryos as *adoptions.

You might also get the impression that Snowflakes is creating an opportunity for infertile couples to access the 100,000 to 400,000 frozen embryos out there. But that is not really the case either. If you are infertile and are trying to have a baby, your best bet is not to use a frozen embryo made by a couple who had themselves been going through infertility treatment and whose embryos were not used because they did not look healthy enough.

Despite Snowflakes’ rhetoric, most frozen embryos are not healthy enough to ever become babies. The chance they will grow to full term is about one in 10 for those frozen less than five years, and even less for those that have been frozen longer. This is why so few couples have taken Snowflakes up on its idea of “adopting” frozen embryos.

Moreover, using terms like “adoption” encourages people to believe that frozen embryos are the equivalent of children. But they are not the same. In fact, infertile couples who want children can frequently make embryos but they cannot make embryos that become fetuses or babies.

The older a woman gets, the less likely her embryos are to become babies. For women over 45, the chance of her embryo becoming a baby is almost zero. The inability to make embryos that become babies is why couples turn to donor eggs or donor sperm. Almost no one who is going to spend $10,000 per try to use IVF is going to want to try it with another infertile couple’s frozen embryo whose chances of properly developing grow less with every year it is frozen.

If this still exists with tax breaks, isn’t this actually govt supporting particular religious idealogy?

My view of abortion is that it’s no one’s business what a woman does with her reproductive health but between her and her doctor. It’s not like miscarriages don’t regularly occur (what are you gonna do-blame God for being a murderer?), not like women aren’t raped sometimes or there aren’t any pregnancies that occur due to incest, or, as we have found out quite a bit this last year, there aren’t pregnancies that aren’t viable, in which there is, for example, a fetus that would not survive outside the womb. (I almost never hear people talk about the cost of health care and how much debt a family takes on by being forced to carry a pregnancy that will not be viable, but will also be a quite expensive medical hospital procedure) I do not believe in forced birth, as if a woman is simply a 2nd class citizen carrier for any pregnancy related situation that comes along. It seems to me that women that can afford the quite expensive IVF, WHICH IS A CHOICE THEY MAKE , which they know will destroy fetuses, should also be sympathetic to women who also want to make a choice about their healthcare (or those IVF women at the least should quit being nosy parkers and tell their legislators to quit interfering in women’s reproductive wife except with their own personal families.

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