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New Jersey may be first US state to require licensing for embryo storage

2 December 2019
Appeared in BioNews 1026

New Jersey looks set to become the first US state to require licensing and inspection of facilities that store embryos being used for fertility treatment.

The bill is the first of its kind in the USA and has been passed following several cases where stored embryos have been lost due to problems at cryostorage facilities.

'Families attempting to conceive face a number of physical and emotional challenges. They put their hopes and dreams of conceiving into the embryos stored in these facilities. To have those dreams shattered due to a preventable operating failure is unimaginable,' said Pamela Lampitt, a member of the New Jersey General Assembly.

The bill was proposed following unrelated incidents in Ohio and California last year where equipment malfunctions led to the loss of thousands of eggs and embryos (see BioNews 941 and 942).

Under the proposed law, only facilities with a license granted by the New Jersey Department of Health based on recognised standards and safety protocols will be allowed to offer egg and embryo storage. Facilities will also face unannounced inspections and be required to maintain storage information and data continuously.

'This legislation will help those struggling to conceive have confidence that their embryos are being stored in a facility that is authorised, regulated and properly maintained,' said Assembly member Valerie Vainieri Huttle who supported the bill.

The New Jersey Senate passed the bill unanimously in August and it was approved in the General Assembly on Monday. The bill is now waiting to receive final approval by the Governor. 

Once passed, the new law is expected to come into effect in early 2021, allowing time for the development and implementation of the new regulatory system with guidance from federal agencies and clinicians.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Assembly Bill 4605
Nrew Jersey State Legislature |  18 October 2018
Bill to regulate embryo storage facilities receives final legislative approval
NJ Biz |  26 November 2019
NJ on Cusp of Stringent Licensing, Oversight of Embryo Storage Facilities
NJ Spotlight |  26 November 2019
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