Thursday, October 22, 2009

Womb transplants - getting closer?

I just read this article on the BBC News site. They report that British Doctors claim to be closer than ever to being able to transplant a womb, so that a woman could conceive (with the help of IVF), carry one or more pregnancies, deliver by c-section and then have the womb removed. The article raises a number of questions that I found both interesting and relevant.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In the news...

I really enjoyed this article by Pamela Tsigdinos -Fertility Industry: Boon and Curse. She wrote it as a response to the article the New York Times ran on Sunday - "The Gift of Life, and Its Price" that I didn't find particularly interesting, but I have heard it drew a lot of comments that people going through infertility found offensive (I do my best to avoid reading them - I have enough stress in my life.)

Monday's New York Times ran an article about multiples & selective reduction that, once again, caused me to think that unmonitored IUI should be a crime (although one of the cases they talk about was monitored and still ended up with high order multiples).

If things are going to change, it should be based on the research that's been done on e-SET - elective single embryo transfer. Having read many journal articles about it and its advantages (I was planning to write a seminar paper about it, but came up with some ethical issues that got in the way), it's clear that guidelines could be written to avoid unnecessary premature births and pregnancies with high-order-multiples that endanger the mother.

The New York Times also has an online presentation about e-SET.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Laptops & reduced spermatogenesis

An article that came up in my news page today quoted Dr. Suzanne Kavic, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at Loyola University Health System as saying that "...the heat generated from laptops can impact sperm production and development making it difficult to conceive down the road."

Since they didn't quote any research that backed that, I went to check it out. I found this abstract from Human Reproduction where Yefim Sheynkin, Michael Jung, Peter Yoo, David Schulsinger and Eugene Komaroff tested men for scrotal hyperthermia when working on laptops.

They tested 29 volunteers and found that indeed the use of laptops raised the temperature between 2.6-2.8 degrees celsius. Based on the abstract, "scrotal hyperthermia has been identified as a risk factor for male infertility" - so they've shown that laptop computers cause scrotal hyperthermia and since that's a known risk factor for male infertility, it definitely sounds like something even young boys should be made aware of.

I see there are already patent applications and products to help solve this problem.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Cervical Cancer Vaccine Scare

As I was checking the links on my links page, to make sure there weren't any dead ones, I came across this story...

It started like this: Last week, on Sept 28, 2009 , Natalie Morton, a British 14-year-old girl died suddenly, just over an hour after having been given Cervarix, a vaccine against HPV (human papilloma virus) produced by GlaxoSmithKline (see video). 9 other girls reported feeling mildly ill. So GSK quickly recalled all the unused doses in the batch, while an autopsy and investigation began.

Obviously some chose to make the immediate link between the vaccine and her death. But then the autopsy showed that Natalie Morton, in fact, had a large malignant tumor in her heart and lungs. (Though this article claims the autopsy is just a cover-up.)

And then there's the question asked by Deborah Kotz (follow-up post) as to whether if a vaccine did indeed cause a single injury or death - does that deem it unsafe (DK's original post)? (Read the comments too, if you want to be really confused.) It makes sense to me that a vaccine would have to do more good than harm - if we consider 1.4 million girls who were vaccinated, how many of them were likely to die or suffer due to cervical cancer (if they had not been vaccinated)? I'm glad that it seems that Natalie's death was not caused by the vaccine - and I hope that somehow people will get the information needed to make the best decision for their daughters - and not be swayed by a single, terrible coincidence that linked the vaccine with death.

Truly evil - prank pregnancy test

This should be taken off of eBay...