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For Women Undergoing I.V.F. In Alabama, What Now?

Natalie Brumfield, 41, cried as she read about the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that embryos in test tubes should be considered children. A mother of seven, including two babies conceived through in vitro fertilization, Ms. Brumfield felt that one of her cherished beliefs as a Christian had been affirmed: Life, she said, begins when embryos form.

Emily Capilouto, 36, also cried because of the ruling, but her tears were prompted by despair. She had struggled for years to have a child. Now she was nearing the end of an I.V.F. cycle, when one of the embryos she and her husband had produced would be transferred to her uterus. But on Wednesday, she learned that her clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham health system was halting I.V.F. treatments in response to the ruling.

“I don’t know what this means now,” Ms. Capilouto said on Wednesday, minutes after learning that her dream of having a child would be indefinitely suspended.

Questions like hers are echoing across the country after the court’s ruling, which was handed down Feb. 16. The potential national implications remain unclear, but many women in Alabama are wondering how this new classification for embryos — one rooted in a religious belief — will affect their own journeys toward motherhood, a process that for many who seek I.V.F. is already filled with emotional and physical pain.

In interviews on Wednesday, a number of women in Alabama who recently underwent in vitro fertilization, or were in the middle of treatment, said that they felt abruptly stuck in limbo.

Some who recently had children through I.V.F. said that they were afraid to do anything with their extra embryos from the process, which are stored frozen in facilities across the state.

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