Spectrum by Rachel Boyd 

Congresswoman Deborah Ross, along with Stein and several members of the IVF community, gathered for what they said is a frightening moment for IVF in the wake of a recent ruling in Alabama where embryos created through IVF are now considered children. Since that decision, many IVF centers in Alabama have shut down or stopped the freezing of embryos due to the practice of discarding any that are not used.

“To be able to take away the opportunity to have a family. I just cannot imagine,” Lauren Garrett, a mother of two girls born through IVF frozen embryo transfer, said. “Without the science and the option to be able to do IVF, we wouldn't have those kids and our dreams of becoming parents wouldn't be.”

Garrett was an IVF nurse at Carolina Conceptions fertility clinic before she ever became a patient herself. 

“One of my greatest joys is I walk into a room and I see a woman sitting there that is just so scared, so nervous, has no idea what to expect, and I can get down on her level, and I can say, ‘Look, I've been through it. I have kids of my own. I have a success story,’” Garrett said. 

In vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF, offers a solution when a woman has trouble getting pregnant by creating a fertilized embryo in a laboratory setting. According to Columbia University Fertility Center eight million babies have been born in the U.S. because of IVF.

Garrett and her husband still have embryos that are frozen at Carolina Conceptions, and she said they will remain that way assuming the practice stays legal. Frozen embryos are often used when a fresh transfer is not possible due to time or other health restrictions. 

“We are comfortable knowing that we do have a potential to grow our family,” Garrett said. “We are not 100% decided that our family is complete. We've worked so hard to get to where we are and we want to be able to have that option.”

North Carolina does not currently have a fetal personhood law like Alabama did and the issue of protecting IVF has bipartisan support in the state. House Speaker Tim Moore said there is no plan to take up a bill that would make IVF illegal. 

“I feel comfortable in the state of North Carolina that we are doing the right thing right now,” Garrett said.