In the wake of the United States Supreme Court's ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, some reproductive rights groups are expressing concern that new state restrictions could affect a range of reproductive healthcare services, including in vitro fertilization.

IVF is a medical process in which multiple eggs are fertilized by sperm outside of the body before either being implanted in a woman's uterus or frozen for future use. The procedure is commonly used by patients who have infertility problems, those concerned about passing on hereditary genetic diseases, and for LGBTQ+ couples looking to conceive.

Doctors typically implant up to three embryos in a patient's uterus to increase the chances of pregnancy. Remaining embryos can be frozen for the patient’s future use, with storage fees of up to $800 per year. Patients are also given the option to destroy the embryos, donate them for medical research, or give them to another patient.

“You could in some states donate [extra fertilized eggs] to research,” medical ethicist Art Caplan told Boston Public Radio. “I don't think they're going to allow that in the states that don't permit abortion. I don't know what's gonna happen to them. I think they're gonna wind up frozen for eternity or something like that, because no one will be willing to throw them away. No one will be willing to donate them for research.”

“I'll go further: some states are gonna say, ‘You know what? If you make the embryos, you have got to put them all in or you [have to] find somebody willing to take them — adopt them, if you will.”

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recently released a report looking at 13 so-called “trigger laws” for threats to infertility care and found that there is no immediate threat to patients and healthcare providers. Legal experts, however, are concerned about proposed state legislation that would define life as beginning at conception and grant embryos legal rights, which could subject patients and doctors to legal action if they do not implant fertilized eggs made for IVF. Legislators in four states — Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolinaand West Virginia — have all introduced bills that would give embryos the same legal rights as a person from the moment of conception. Vermont legislators proposed a similar bill that would establish fetal personhood at 24 weeks.

“In states where they say life begins at conception, they're not going to allow you to destroy [embryos such as] diseased embryos, some of which are even incompatible with life,” Caplan said. “So, again, we find ourselves in this bananas situation where somebody says, ‘You have to implant an embryo that we know is going to turn into a fetus that can't live.’”