Skip to main content

An anti-abortion bill in Pennsylvania would require burials or cremations — and therefore death certificates — for all “fetal remains,” which under the bill’s definition would include fertilized eggs that fail to implant in the uterus.

Business Insider noted that requiring burial automatically means the fertilized eggs would also need a death certificate because “in order to obtain a burial permit, you first have to obtain a death certificate.”

The bill, called the Pennsylvania Final Disposition of Fetal Remains Act, would impose a $50 to $300 fine or up to 30 days in prison for health care providers who fail to provide the service.

But as Business Insider reported, “women, and even their doctors, can't track when or how many fertilized eggs don't implant in the uterus because those eggs typically dissolve in utero and are shed through a woman's menstrual lining every month, making them undetectable.”

Only about half of a woman’s fertilized eggs will naturally implant in her uterus, according to University of California San Francisco Health, and those that fail to implant are dissolved in the body and expelled during a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle.

The only exception is when an ectopic pregnancy occurs, which happens when the fertilized egg implants somewhere outside of the uterus — most commonly in the fallopian tubes. In this case, the fertilized egg must be surgically removed, because it can cause serious harm to the woman, such as ruptured fallopian tubes.

Further, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a fertilized egg that fails to implant in the uterus is not even considered a pregnancy; rather, such an egg is merely a single-cell zygote that must divide to become a blastocyst, which eventually implants into the uterine lining.

“It's not until a fertilized egg has been successfully implanted in the uterus that ACOG considers it a pregnancy,” Business Insider noted. “Once the implanted and fertilized egg reaches nine weeks in the uterus, it is referred to as a fetus, according to ACOG.”

Read the full report.