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photo of an IVF clinic featuring medical equipment and an examination table

A sperm donor fathers more than 150 children. A cryobank misleads prospective parents about a donor’s stellar credentials and spotless health record. A cancer survivor’s eggs are stored in a glorified meat locker that malfunctions, ruining her chance at biological motherhood. A doctor implants a dozen embryos in a woman, inviting life-threatening complications. A clinic puts a couple’s embryos into the wrong woman—and the biological parents have no recourse.

All of these things have happened in America. There’s no reason they won’t happen again.

When the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in February that frozen embryos are children, effectively banning in vitro fertilization, it produced an uproar. In response, the state legislature quickly granted IVF clinics sweeping immunity, regardless of what egregious errors they may make. This is the way the debate over assisted reproduction has typically played out in the United States: A vocal minority asserts that embryos are people and calls for total bans of reproductive technology; meanwhile, the industry goes unregulated, leaving prospective parents with few safeguards and even fewer options when things go wrong...