Major embryo shipping company stops business in Alabama

Cryoport, a major embryo shipping company, said Friday it was “pausing” its business in Alabama while it evaluates the state Supreme Court’s decision that declared frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization to be boys.

“Until the company has more clarity about the decision and what it means for Cryoport, the clinics and expectant parents, it will suspend all activity in Alabama until further notice,” reads an email received by an Alabama fertility clinic and shared with The New York Times. .

The email said Cryoport “could not assist” with a scheduled shipment and would instead offer a refund.

The Alabama court ruling has already significantly limited fertility treatment for patients in that state. Three clinics have suspended care while they evaluate what the ruling means for their patients and their own legal liability. The case involved several couples whose frozen embryos were accidentally destroyed at a Mobile clinic. It found that clinics could be held liable for wrongful death lawsuits, bringing new severity to accidents that are not uncommon in fertility treatments.

Cryoport’s decision will make it more difficult for current IVF patients to move embryos out of state to continue treatments.

Embryo shipping is common in modern fertility treatments, as patients sometimes move and need to change clinics or move embryos they don’t plan to use anytime soon to a long-term storage facility.

Other companies also ship embryos, and one announced Friday that it will continue working in Alabama. IVF CRYO, which announces it has shipped more than 1 million reproductive health samples, he said on his website that it would continue to ship embryos to and from that state “regardless of the increased legal complexity and risk our business now assumes.”

Other embryo transport companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Cryoport also responded to a request for comment. On its website, it describes itself as the “most trusted supplier” of temperature-controlled shipping and advertises having shipped more than 600,000 packages for over 10 years working in the in vitro fertilization business. In 2022, he generated almost 10 million dollars in revenue of their work in reproductive health.

The court ruling and swift reaction have been unbearable for the state’s reproductive health providers as well as patients.

“Those conversations have been some of the most difficult of my career,” said Dr. Mamie McLean, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Alabama Fertility Center, who stopped treatment earlier this week. “These are patients with whom I have made decisions about care plans and families who will not have another child because of this decision.”

While his clinic does not currently recommend that patients move their frozen embryos out of state, he said he had received many calls from patients asking about the option.

“Not only can they not receive treatment in Alabama, but now they cannot receive treatment anywhere else. “They are trapped,” Dr. McLean said. “It means this decision has implications outside the walls of my state.”

Barbara Collura, president of infertility advocacy group Resolve, said Cryoport’s decision was disturbing but not unexpected.

“It’s a surprising turn of events, but it doesn’t surprise me at all when you’re talking about shipping embryos,” he said. “If I ran one of those companies, I would do the same thing. It’s too risky right now.”