Over Easy - "Elite education may impoverish and indebt young women and do little to get them a job, but at least it makes their eggs valuable."
Reproductive Medical Associates of New York, a fertility clinic associated with Mount Sinai Hospital, maintains separate websites for egg donors and egg buyers. The home page of the donors’ site features a large stock photograph of a young woman holding schoolbooks. Behind crossed arms the pretty brunette model is clutching what looks like but is not a copy of Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism, along with a white three-ring binder. She wears a zippered velor jacket in the same shade of blue as the graphic that emerges from behind her head in an oversize font: Become an Egg Donor[more inside]
Everyone knows that female fertility begins a rapid decline at thirty-five. Or does it? In the Atlantic, Jean Twenge dismantles the data and reaches a startling conclusion: many oft-cited statistics on female fertility are based on data from pre-twentieth century populations, whereas studies on contemporary populations yield very different results. Might the mid- to late-thirties be the ideal time to have a baby? Twenge suggests we consider forty as the new cut-off for pregnancy.
Using a 3-D petri dish, Researchers at Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island have built a completely functional artificial human ovary that will allow doctors to harvest immature human egg cells (oocytes) and grow them into mature, ready-to-be-fertilized human eggs outside the body. (In vitro) The advance could eventually help preserve fertility for women facing chemotherapy or other medical treatments that may be destructive to ovarian folliculogenesis. Press Release. Article link. (paywall) [more inside]
The ethics of infertility: After taking fertility drug Clomid, Ryan and Brianna Morrison conceived sextuplets. Their religious beliefs steered them away from undergoing a selective reduction procedure in favor of bringing all six fetuses to term. Four of their newborns have died; the remaining two are in critical condition. This mother of multiples says that while she's grateful that insurance and Medicaid covered her million-dollar hospital bill, her "quest to have a family resulted in a significant drain on society's resources."
A Special Kind of Poverty This great article appeared in yesterday's Washington Post Sunday Magazine. Its subject: the trials and tribulations of the poor seeking treatment for their infertility. I don't think I have to list the whole raft of issues this subject raises. As touching as it is thought-provoking.
a newly released u.n. population study suggests that because the birth rates in wealthy countries is low and declining, the worker-retired ratio will not be able to support current social programs. "The report found that Japan would need 10 million immigrants every year for the next 50 years to maintain the current working-age to retirement-age ratio. Without migration, figures show it would be necessary to raise the retirement age to 77 to maintain the ratio."