Profession

Bills seek to regulate in vitro fertilization

Politicians in three states propose legislation to increase scrutiny of fertility clinics.

By Kevin B. O’Reilly — Posted March 23, 2009

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

State legislators have reacted to the furor over the January births of octuplets conceived through in vitro fertilization by drafting bills to more closely regulate artificial reproductive technology.

The most aggressive bill, filed by Georgia Sen. Ralph Hudgens, would restrict to two the number of embryos a doctor could transfer during any IVF cycle in women younger than 40. The measure limits women 40 or older to three embryos. Octuplet mother Nadya Suleman, 33, told NBC's Today that her physician transferred six embryos and two split.

The Georgia bill's limits are stricter than those in the American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidelines, which say it is OK for up to five embryos to be transferred in women age 40 or older. For women younger than 40, the ASRM says one to three embryos may be transferred, depending on age and other factors.

The bill in Georgia "seeks to substitute the judgment of politicians for that of physicians and their patients," ASRM President R. Dale McClure, MD, said in a statement.

After a March 4 committee hearing, the bill was referred to a subcommittee for review.

The American Medical Association has referred comments on the octuplets controversy and IVF regulation to ASRM, which is represented in the AMA's House of Delegates.

Fertility specialists were more receptive to a Missouri bill, proposed by Rep. Robert Schaaf, MD. The proposal says doctors should not exceed the ASRM's embryo-transfer guidelines, which allow physicians flexibility based on circumstances such as a physician's experience with new techniques and the quality of the embryos. Dr. Schaaf said he is not worried his bill would give physicians too much wiggle room when deciding how many embryos to transfer.

In his statement, Dr. McClure said the Missouri approach "makes a great deal of sense, and we urge other states to adopt it."

Meanwhile, California Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod proposed a bill to empower the state's medical board to investigate, accredit and set standards for physician-owned fertility clinics.

Under state law, doctor-owned clinics cannot be regulated by the state's health department, a McLeod aide said. There had been no action on the bill through mid-March.

Back to top


External links

"Guidelines on number of embryos transferred," the Practice Committee of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Fertility and Sterility, November 2008 (link)

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn