As most national media outlets have reported, the Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled that frozen embryos are children according to the laws of the state. The case involves embryos that were destroyed while in a cryogenic storage facility, resulting in a lawsuit under Alabama’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

The key question at stake, as the Court’s ruling says, “is whether the Act contains an unwritten exception to that rule for extrauterine children—that is, unborn children who are located outside of a biological uterus at the time they are killed.” The Court’s answer is a simple no: Alabama’s “Wrongful Death of a Minor Act applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.”

This case raises numerous questions about the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF), the moral status of human embryos, the cryopreservation of embryos, the status of embryos as a matter of law, and more.

These are questions that The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity has been addressing throughout our history. Indeed, our fifth summer conference, in 1998, was titled “The Reproduction Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Reproductive Technologies, Sexuality, and the Family,” and out of that gathering, we published a book with the same title.

Below are resources from our website that speak to these and other questions surrounding reproductive technologies like IVF and the issues that arise from them.

CBHD Resources

Gilbert Meilaender, “Children: Blessing or Project?” Intersections.

This article focuses on the ways in which changes in reproductive technologies affect how we think about children, parents, and parenthood, even if we do not make use of these technologies. The varying perspectives on frozen embryos is one example of changing technology and changing views.

Brent Waters, “An Introduction to Reproductive Technologies,” Intersections.

This article provides an overview of reproductive technologies and briefly highlights a few ethical issues and concerns.

Paige Comstock Cunningham, “Baby-Making: The Fractured Fulfillment of Huxley's Brave New World, Parts I & II,” Dignitas.

Presented in two parts, this is a comprehensive overview of the ethics of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including IVF and the resulting cryopreservation of embryos.

Bryan Just, “What to Do with the Unchosen Frozen: Potential Blessings & Pitfalls of Embryo Adoption,” CBHD via Salvo.

What can Christians do in response to the fact that so many embryos are currently in cryopreservation?

Matthew Eppinette, "Tiny, Vulnerable Lives," via World.

What should we do with hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos?

Megan Best, “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,” CBHD.

In this presentation, Best provides an overview of her book on ethics at the beginning of human life.

Matthew Eppinette, "To Evangelicals: IVF Bioethical Questions to Grapple with," via Christian Post.

Should Christians make use of IVF?

Further Reading from CBHD