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What the Alabama Supreme Court Ruling That Embryos Are Children Means for Tennessee

TRM patients: What you need to know about the Alabama court ruling

We know patients are very anxious about the Alabama Supreme Court ruling. Our understanding from the Tennessee legislature is that there are NOT any currently planned bills aiming to do what the Alabama court did.

For now, we are not aware of any planned changes that affect in vitro fertilization (IVF) access in Tennessee. We will stay up to date on any changes in Tennessee law related to embryos and will be sure to alert and educate patients if any changes do occur.

Continue reading to learn more about new Tennessee legislature that could protect IVF, more about the Alabama ruling and most importantly, what YOU can do to help us protect the rights of all Americans to build a family.

IVF protections currently being considered in the Tennessee legislature

Legal scales indicating questioning the Alabama court ruling that embryos are children | Tennessee Reproductive Medicine | ChattanoogaTennessee House Bill 2227, introduced on Jan. 26, 2024, aims to clarify that abortion regulations do not apply to embryos from fertility treatments. The bill would safeguard the right to dispose of embryos resulting from fertility treatments should fertility patients so desire, among other reproductive protections like clarifying that the use of contraceptives is not considered abortion.

View TN House Bill 2227


This is to further confirm the attorney general’s 2022 opinion that Tennessee’s strict abortion ban does not apply to the disposal of fertilized human embryos that haven’t been transferred to a uterus:

AP news: Disposing embryos outside uterus not against Tenn. law

The Tennessean: abortion ban would not apply to unused IVF embryos, AG says

About the Alabama court ruling that says embryos are children

The first in the United States to make a ruling like this, Alabama’s new supreme court decision holds that frozen embryos are children and are covered under the Alabama Wrongful Death of a Minor law. This means if anyone destroys an embryo – including through discarding unused embryos once patients are done building their families – that person would be held liable for the embryo’s “death.”

Florida is currently considering legislation that is very similar to the Alabama court ruling.

CNN article: In unprecedented decision, Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled frozen embryos are children

American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) condemns the AL decision

As a leader in the field of reproductive medicine, ASRM issued a statement denouncing the Alabama court for this decision, saying,

“In its medically and scientifically unfounded decision, the court held that a fertilized frozen egg in a fertility clinic freezer should be treated as the legal equivalent of an existent child or a fetus gestating in a womb… science and everyday common sense tell us they are not.” 

Read the ASRM statement

IVF in Alabama has halted for some patients

The Alabama Supreme Court decision that unimplanted embryos are considered the same as children has resulted in IVF care stopping in many clinics in Alabama. Americans are fearful of the far-reaching impact of state and national governments putting themselves in the middle of doctor/patient relationships involving people who desperately want to have children.

CBS article: Alabama patient says embryo ruling has “derailed a lot of hope” as hospital halts IVF treatments

What you can do: Help us protect the rights of all Americans to build a family!

NOW is the time for patients, friends and family members of ANYONE who wants to keep life-changing fertility technology accessible to speak up and reach out to elected officials. Voice your concerns that you do NOT want the Tennessee legislature or courts (or those in any other state) to follow Alabama’s course.

It takes five minutes to call and/or send an email to voice your opinion – but it can take a lifetime to undo dangerous laws if they are passed.

Our voices matter: Just days after the uproar following the Alabama court decision, Alabama lawmakers are now considering another bill to protect IVF treatment.

NPR: Alabama Gov. says she wants to protect IVF treatment after court ruling

Contact your U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative

Ask them to SUPPORT the Access to Family Building Act (S.3612/ H.R.7056), which would protect IVF across the country.

Write an email asking them to:

  1. Support IVF access in your state.
  2. NOT to pass legislation that gives embryos personhood rights, threatening access to IVF treatment.
  3. Keep state government out of family building patient/doctor discussions and actions.

Find more easy ways to advocate for yourself as an infertility patient at