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Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Blog

Update on Arizona Legislature-Second Potentially Damaging Bill to the Practice of Reproductive Medicine in Arizona

Summary of Senate Bill 1361 (SB 1361), introduced in the Arizona Senate, February 2012

In SB 1361, the Government would legislate unprecedented new requirements for informed consent for anyone who needs in vitro fertilization (IVF) at a fertility clinic in Arizona. It would also authorize Governmental tracking, reporting, and publication on the Internet about every detail of a woman’s IVF cycle, including surveillance, tracking, and publicizing of the private decisions couples make about what to do with their embryos.
This anti-family legislation works against the interests of infertility patients. Infertility patients – American couples who are trying to have wanted children, which is usually considered a positive thing — are instead being singled out for non-consensual, intrusive governmental scrutiny regarding their private procreation. If passed, this bill would make Arizona the only state to take this personal and private medical information about people trying to have children and post it on the Internet for the public to scrutinize and judge.
SB 1361 contains pages of intrusive new requirements but the most concerning and offensive is the Governmental tracking of couples’ embryos. This is Big Government at its worst because this private information simply is not the Governments business. The goal here is not to help patients with embryo disposition decisions, but rather to further the political goals of some elected officials. For example, if an elected official believes that discarding an embryo is akin to murder or is opposed to medical research such as embryonic stem cell research, then this data could be used to further their agenda: to make the case that the procedures used to create the embryos in the first place (IVF) must be further regulated or even outlawed. This would mean IVF – a treatment that has helped hundreds of thousands of American couples have babies — would be under severe government regulation, or worse, banned in Arizona.
SB 1361 hurts infertility patients. Their own personal medical information will be used against them in a campaign to take away the medical treatment they need. We urge those who oppose this result to oppose SB 1361. Moreover, its anti-family effects would not be confined to Arizona, since patients’ medical information will be posted on a Arizona Governmental website and publicized to the world.
Other objections. In addition tracking couples’ embryos, the bill also mandates over 80 in-depth disclosures that will have to be made before a patient can give “informed” consent to do an IVF cycle. These are by far the most burdensome specific consent requirements we have ever seen for assisted reproductive treatments (ART) in the U.S. They are designed not to improve patient safety but rather to burden this field of medicine and drive up treatment costs. They may also drive infertility doctors out of Arizona, for the bill threatens fines, loss of license, and even prison for doctors who may trip up on the impossibly complex matrix of disclosure and reporting requirements listed in the bill.

Conclusion. SB 1361 puts the government practically in the examining room when infertility patients seek medical treatment to have a family. Every detail of their private medical care is to be collected, analyzed, and then publicized, but not for their benefit – for the political agenda of others.

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Posted in IVF - In Vitro Fertilization