Aggregated News

liquid nitrogen tank, a gloved hand pulls out a rack of samples

Matylda Sęk | CC-BY-SA-3.0

The first American test tube baby was born here in Virginia forty years ago, but the state is lagging when it comes to regulating fertility clinics. Naomi Cahn, who teaches family law at UVA, says would-be parents trust these places to protect their health and their future.

“You might get your eggs or embryos frozen for a variety of reasons. One is if you’re about to undergo cancer treatment or some other treatment that’s going to affect your fertility," she says. "People who are undergoing in-vitro fertilization may create extra embryos for use if the first cycle is unsuccessful or for purposes of having additional children.”

Unfortunately, she says, some clinics have had catastrophic equipment failures where temperatures rose in freezers, and thousands of eggs or embryos were lost.

“From what we know, such mishaps are relatively rare," Cahn says, "but we need more regulation to find out just how often those mishaps are and to prevent future ones from occurring.”

Virginia is one of 14 states with assisted reproduction rates higher than the national average... see more