IVF company facing lawsuits registers to lobby Washington

Last updated on March 1, 2024

An IVF company facing lawsuits for destroying embryos has registered to lobby Washington for the first time, the latest example of a reproductive health company going on the offensive after the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

The filing for the IVF company, CooperSurgical, comes after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled last month that frozen embryos were legally considered children, prompting new calls for federal protections for fertility treatments. The decision, which led some Alabama clinics to pause their in vitro fertilization treatments, has sparked a national firestorm over IVF, with Democrats attacking Republicans on the issue and the GOP scrambling to stake out positions on it as the election approaches.

CooperSurgical hired the Washington firm Thorn Run Partners, which registered to lobby on “Fertility” and “Maternal Health” effective Friday.

Lawmakers in Alabama’s Republican-controlled legislature voted this week to protect IVF treatments. But conservatives quickly blocked the first attempt to enact a federal policy in the Senate.

The case in Alabama centered around the destruction of embryos, which the court ruled was criminal under the state’s Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. CooperSurgical faces lawsuits in multiple states on a similar issue, with families seeking unspecified damages over claims that the company caused the loss of their embryos.

When asked about the decision to lobby, Adeena Fried, a spokesperson for CooperSurgical, said the company wanted to see that IVF remain accessible nationwide.

“We want to make sure the best products and technologies are allowed to be used in Alabama, and across the nation, to support families and bring children into the world,” she said. “To date, many clinics in Alabama are closed, and any legislation across the nation must support all aspects of the fertility industry.”

Another company focused on reproductive health care called GenBioPro, the generic maker of the abortion pill mifepristone, similarly entered Washington after its product came under siege. A lobbying firm registered to represent the company in 2022, and the following year, GenBioPro sued the FDA to keep offering the drug.

The Connecticut-based CooperSurgical enlisted three veteran Hill aides to lobby on its behalf, including Jessie Brairton, a former staffer to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) who formerly lobbied for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. The other two lobbyists are Andrew Rosenberg, a former aide to Sen. Ed Kennedy (D-Ma.) who co-founded the firm, and Jacky Usyk, a longtime Democratic Senate aide.

CooperSurgical has not previously registered to lobby, according to federal disclosures.

Thorn Run Partners did not immediately return a request for comment.