An embryo that could be my second child is in Alabama. A court just put that in jeopardy.

Each night when I tuck my nearly 5-year-old girl into bed, I tell her she is pure magic.

Her sweet nature, her big feelings, her brilliant problem-solving skills and her impeccable timing were no accident. She was fearfully and wonderfully made in Alabama using in vitro fertilization (IVF). Due to my husband’s military service, forcing us to live separately throughout our prime fertility years, we became one of the countless couples in our social groups who struggled to conceive.

Although we have since moved to Virginia, the embryo that could be my second child is still in Alabama, where the state Supreme Court has just ruled 7-2 that frozen embryos are considered children under the law and that their destruction could amount to wrongful death.

We have been unsure about when or how we wanted to grow our family again, but this astounding court decision may have drastically limited our options moving forward. By conferring personhood status on our last frozen embryo, these seven judges have made us wonder if we can be charged with murder if we try to implant it but the pregnancy does not succeed.

We are not alone – this ruling has delivered a gut punch to the 1 in 6 adults globally struggling with infertility.

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We did not choose IVF on a whim. In fact, I agonized over the decision because I feel called so strongly to the missions of foster parenting and adoption. What you find out when you cannot conceive “normally” is that there are no good options. My husband’s deployment schedule made fostering requirements nearly impossible for us. Adoption could have cost twice as much with no guarantee of success, either.

Ultimately, what I wanted most was for my father to meet his grandchild before he died of colon cancer. Three years of surgeries and other treatments made clear that IVF was our most promising option. Because of carefully monitored and conservative stimulation protocols from an incredible medical team, our IVF cycle created three embryos.

One of those was successfully implanted in my uterus, and grew into my amazing daughter.

IVF was expensive. It was physically and emotionally scarring. It raised moral questions for us about the effort to create a life. But it was our choice. And an extremely carefully considered choice, having the benefit of decades of scientific data, and the wisdom and talents of a medical team we trust implicitly.

This court decision equating frozen embryos with living children could make IVF even more inaccessible to other would-be parents. This dangerous precedent could lead to lawsuits and legislation throughout the country that effectively bar others from utilizing a medical procedure that helped us meet our daughter.

In the United States, 2 of every 100 babies are born through IVF. This process, available for four decades here, has assisted in bringing to life countless cherished children. The IVF process aims to create multiple embryos, in the hopes that at least one will be genetically viable.

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Given the time, physical challenges and significant expense involved in using IVF to achieve a pregnancy, having multiple embryos is a lucky outcome – we felt very fortunate to have had our three.

By criminalizing their destruction, these judges may have barricaded this path to having a baby at all – an ironic outcome for people allegedly motivated by a concern for life.

What happens now for embryos in Alabama? Families don't have answers.

Beyond the direct threat to the process of IVF, these justices have raised many more questions to which they provide no clear guidance.

What happens to my frozen embryo in Alabama now? What if the doctor, who I would follow to the moon if she told me there was a baby waiting for me, decides it’s no longer safe for her to offer reproductive medicine in the state?

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Make no mistake – Alabama’s highest court has effectively handcuffed one of the most brilliant fertility doctors in the country with a decision that will make it near impossible for her to help other families as she has mine.

Further, if we decide to implant our last embryo and the pregnancy fails, will she face criminal charges? Will we?

In 2022, we tried to implant another embryo, but the pregnancy was not successful. In trying to create a life, is the Alabama Supreme Court now saying that we killed a child?

With the birth of our daughter, my husband and I have felt, for the first time in the 20 years we’ve known each other, that we are truly living. To see the wonder of the world through a child’s eyes is an experience that cannot be adequately expressed in words. We very much hope to see her in the role of big sister someday. Alabama’s elected justices taking away this opportunity for her and others is unthinkable.

We call on lawmakers across the country – those who really put families first – to safeguard IVF for all of us.

Brittany Stuart is a journalist, wife and mother. She lives in Virginia, after moving from Alabama four years ago.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: My last embryo in Alabama has 'personhood.' Will IVF be possible?