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Tuberville joins Sen. Cassidy and colleagues requesting more oversight of IVF clinics

Last week, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) joined U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-Louisiana), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kansas), and Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma) in requesting that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conduct an audit of safety standards at fertility clinics to ensure human embryos are protected in their care.

Congress is considering legislation related to in vitro fertilization (IVF). As part of this review, the senators are seeking a thorough examination of what caused the tragedy at the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Alabama, as well as failures at other clinics across the country, that all resulted in destroyed human embryos and devastated parents. The senators are also requesting information about how the federal government collects and publishes data on fertility clinics, so mothers using IVF have accessible information about pregnancy success rates and other quality information when selecting a fertility clinic. With this information, policymakers can work to ensure that these tragic losses do not happen again.

"Mothers in this situation make a substantial emotional, financial, and personal investment, and rightly expect that fertility clinics will protect and respect human life-and keep treasured embryos safe," wrote the senators.

"Women expect transparency with access to accurate pregnancy success rates and the certification status of the fertility clinics they are considering," they continued. "It is unclear, however, whether CDC is implementing the law in such a manner as to maximally benefit the mothers it purportedly seeks to empower."

Under federal law, a clinic performing IVF and other Assisted Reproductive Technology must report annually on success rates and whether it has applied for, or received, certification. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does publish an annual report on this data, the most recent report lacks information on whether certified clinics had adequate safety standards for embryos. It also lacks information on warning letters sent by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to certified clinics whose laboratories had "significant deviations" from federal requirements.

Senators are concerned that 39 out of 453 ART clinics reported no accreditation, and 33 clinics still in operation did not comply with reporting requirements in 2021, the most recent year for which data is even available.

Senator Tuberville has pushed back against the Biden administration's effort to gain political points by falsely claiming that the state's abortion law has put IVF clinics in danger in Alabama.

The state Legislatures has passed bipartisan legislation protecting fertility clinics and in vitro fertilization treatments.

Tommy Tuberville was elected to the United States Senate in 2020. He is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans' Affairs, and HELP Committees.

 

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