Should we crowdfund families? The cost of some adoptions or fertility treatments have people turning to Crowdfunding. Growing your family has never been more public. [more inside]
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]
Approximately 176 million women and girls worldwide suffer from endometriosis; 8.5 million in North America alone. Associated costs of the disease are estimated to be a staggering $22 billion annually. The pain can be debilitating and infertility is a common outcome. Yet after decades of research, the jury is still out on what causes it, and many doctors still don't even know when they should be looking for it. Now, a group of researchers at MIT have taken a new approach, one with a characteristic engineering slant.
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.
Let's Talk About Reproductive Norm Enforcement, Baby. An anonymous philoso-blogger recounts, in an honest, intelligent, compelling, and occasionally poignant way, the process of undergoing medically necessary surgery that would cause infertility. If you care about the reproductive expectations with which women are saddled by contemporary society, you should read this. You should also read this if you care about bioethics, medical decorum, feminism, women in academia, the ethical behavior of philosophers, or, you know, justice. If you care about those last four things, you should have been reading Feminist Philosophers already.
"The fact is that the Pill, while giving women control of their bodies for the first time in history, allowed them to forget about the biological realities of being female until it was, in some cases, too late." New York magazine explores the connection between the Pill and the infertility industry. The XX Factor blog takes issue with the article, calling it "sexist" and "condescending."
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]
A D.C. couple wants children, but not now, and are worried about infertility creeping up on them as they get deeper into their thirties. They came up with a novel solution -- donating frozen embryos to their future selves. The procedure is not uncommon for couples with fertility problems; will it become a popular insurance option for young couples who just aren't ready for kids? They might want to think about what to do if they have more embryos than they want. Or what happens if they get divorced.
First came love, then came marriage, then came a ridiculously long and complicated endeavor to get pregnant after a diagnosis of oligoastenoteratozoospermia requiring in vitro fertilization to conceive. This birthed the blog that attacked infertility with humor and snark. And, when she finally got pregnant, then came four unbelievable days of labor and a spectacular failure of pretty much everyone who was supposed to help. Don't worry, it all worked out just fine.
Resolve.org is a site devoted to providing support, both emotional and practical, to people struggling with infertility issues. The immediately apparent benefits to visiting would be their informational documents and errata, but of at least equal value are the bulletin boards where you can talk with other people dealing with infertility, whether it's for the sake of venting, chatting or just to have someplace you can go where you don't have to hear the words "well, adoption isn't so bad..."
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."
Beware ... step away from the laptop. Laptop computers may damage male fertility. Dr. Yefim Sheynkin of the State University of New York (Stony Brook) reports in the journal Human Reproduction. "Laptops, which reach high internal operating temperatures, can heat up the scrotum which could affect the quality and quantity of men’s sperm." "...Sheynkin, director of male infertility and microsurgery at the university. 'Don't get me wrong -- the laptop computer is very useful and helpful. But we need to be cautious.' "
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.
Embryos can be donated on the slippery sloped side of town. Though proposed by pro-choice, pro-stem-cell-research Arlen Specter, the Bush administration is pushing for a pubilc awareness program that promotes donating unused embryos to infertile couples. Of course, Bush's insistence on using the term "embryo adoption-" a term never used by any clinic in the program, but strangely used by a Christian anti-abortion/pro-adoption agency, coupled with the knowledge that Bush has jumped at virtually anything that remotely could lead to redefining the status of a fetus, leads to the inevitable question: does Bush really care about getting more infertile couples to have children, or is this a(nother) subversive attempt to Federally promote the idea that a cell cluster is the same as a newborn infant?
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."