In wake of octuplet birth, lawmkers consider embryo implantation limits

Responding to public dismay over the birth of eight babies to a woman undergoing fertility treatment, lawmakers in two states have filed bills that would limit the number of embryos that can be implanted by fertility clinics.

Since California's Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets in January, debate has been underway as to whether her fertility doctor was out of line to implant her with six embryos, particularly given her six other children, lack of a job and single status.

Implanting that many fertilized embryos in Suleman goes against the standards set for this procedure by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. However, at present fertility clinics aren't obligated to follow such standards, and according to recent research by the CDC, only 20 percent of clinics do.

Now, a bill pending in Missouri would seek to enact the ASRM guidelines as law, which include a recommended numbers of embryos that should be implanted in a woman based on her age and prognosis for a successful pregnancy. Typically, that means a limit of two to three embryos for younger women, though those older than 40 could be implanted with up to five.

Meanwhile, a Georgia bill would allow no more than two embryos to be implanted at a single time in any woman younger than 40, and limits the number to three embryos for women over 40.

To learn more about these bills:
- read this Associated Press piece