Skip to content
Breaking News Alert This Week In Lawfare Land: 'Deadly Force'

Republicans Press CDC Over The Unethical, Unchecked ‘Wild West’ Fertility Industry

Image CreditFDRLST/Canva

Three congressional Republicans want to know where the Centers for Disease Control stands on the “‘Wild West’ of assisted reproductive technology.”

Reps. Josh Brecheen of Oklahoma, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, and Matt Rosendale of Montana released a letter to CDC Director Mandy Cohen on Tuesday demanding answers about her agency’s knowledge and recommendations regarding the “destruction of precious life in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) industry.”

Citing the “government’s role in securing the natural right to life” noted in the Declaration of Independence, the Republicans worried that Big Fertility “has long operated under the radar of lawmakers in the United States.”

“While other Western countries prohibit clinics from practicing eugenics or carelessly destroying human life, the U.S. does not even require clinics to be transparent about their participation in these activities,” they wrote.

The CDC’s latest artificial reproductive technology (IVF) data suggests Americans undergo hundreds of thousands of IVF cycles each year. Since standard practice in American IVF requires harvesting and fertilizing multiple ova to increase chances of successful lab conception, hundreds of thousands of IVF cycles suggests millions of embryos are created and either destroyed or abandoned in freezers each year as well.

As the congressmen point out in their letter, fertility facilities are not required to share how many embryos they are responsible for manufacturing, freezing, or discarding each year. Nor is the domestic Big Fertility market under any obligation to disclose to anyone “statistics on their application of genetic screening, which more than 70% of fertility clinics utilize for sex-selection.”

“Advancing technology raises further concerns that clinics will use genetic screening to choose the ‘best’ embryos based on traits like eye or hair color, complexion, or potential height. In the U.S., this technology is already used to select or discard embryos based on eye color,” the representatives warned.

By May 29, the congressmen would like the CDC to provide specific answers about the number of embryos that are manufactured, cryogenically stored, and discarded each year and the average length of time embryos are frozen. They also want data on how many embryos undergo screening for physical traits and whether those results dictated the embryos’ fates.

Additionally, the Republicans asked the CDC to share its IVF recommendations including the number of embryos created, how non-implanted embryos are treated and destroyed, and genetic screening.

They concluded by questioning whether the CDC has “any moral or ethical concerns” about ART practices like the ones listed above. According to them, the rapidly expanding U.S. practice of legalized eugenics should not continue unchecked.

“Congress cannot allow clinics to continue concealing these activities, which carry significant moral and ethical implications, from the public,” the Republicans concluded.

This is not the first time members of Congress have raised eyebrows about the free pass U.S. lawmakers have given the fertility industry. Rosendale and Brecheen were part of a small coalition of House Republicans who publicly opposed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ plan to use taxpayer dollars to fund IVF for single and same-sex veterans. They attributed their “very strong objections” to the fertility industry’s longstanding immoral and unethical practices.

Even corporate media, which has eagerly sided against protecting life in its most vulnerable form, has begun to question whether Big Fertility could use less immunity and more oversight. “Most IVF errors go unreported in the lightly regulated fertility industry,” one Washington Post headline blared.

Another headline in Vox lamented that ART such as egg freezing, which is often pitched to young women as a way to preserve and prolong their fertility, is not the success it is made out to be by many in pop culture and media.

Access Commentsx