McNamara bill would protect the safety and storage of human reproductive tissue


STATE HOUSE — Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would protect human reproductive tissue that is stored in the state’s medical facilities.

The Reproductive Tissue Safety and Storage Act of 2024 (2024-H 8025) would require any facility in Rhode Island that stores human eggs, sperm, testicular tissue, ovarian tissue and embryos to complete the accreditation checklist of the College of American Pathologists.

“The manner in which many embryos are stored in medical facilities has caused terrible heartache for families during an already emotional time in their lives,” said Representative McNamara, who introduced a similar measure last year after hearing about the ordeal one couple went through with the mismanagement and misplacement of their frozen embryos. “This bill would require each of these facilities to adhere to the strict professional protocols that have been established for this industry.”

The legislation would require a copy of the completed checklist to be filed with the Department of Health and sent to each person who has contracted with the reproductive tissue facility to have the facility provide embryology procedures.

In vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF, is a widely used method of assisted reproductive technology (ART), which has helped an estimated 6 million couples in the United States who have trouble getting or maintaining a pregnancy to start families.

Dr. Diana Anderson, a physician who became a mother through in vitro fertilization, testified last year to the House Committee on Health and Human Services about the shocking lack of regulation and communication that currently plagues the industry. “I quickly became aware that embryo creation, testing, storage and transport had minimal, if any, oversight. I believe that we have a moral imperative to protect embryos within the ART industry the same way we care for and protect our patients.”