Reproduction Newsbytes

Menstuff® has compiled newsbytes on reproduction, safe sex and contraception issues.

When are we going to wake up?
We've got the highest teen pregnancy rate
in the world.

Related Issues: Talking With Kids About Tough Issues, Teen Pregnancy, Reproductive Health
Resources, Fatherhood Aptitude Test to check if you're ready to be a Dad.

How Much Sex?

"I'm going into my third month of trying to have a baby. The first month I had sex every day, the second I had sex every other day. Is something wrong with me? How often should I have sex?"

Slowing the Biological Clock

A chemical that helps men overcome erectile dysfunction could help fight the effects of aging on the ovaries, at least in mice. Find out what this potentially fertility-enhancing drug is.

Alito Wanted to Overturn Roe vs Wade

Back when he was a Reagan administration lawyer, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito strategized about how to overturn Roe v. Wade. In a newly released 1985 memo, Alito advocated a government position that didn't "tacitly concede Roe's legitimacy" and considered the abortion issue "live and open." Stare decisis, stare deschmisis:

Taking Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Aspirin During Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Miscarriage

By sure your spouce knows. Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or aspirin during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of miscarriage, say researchers at the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute in Oakland, California.

Hundreds Of IVF Babies Celebrate

When Louise Brown cut a big, frosted cake at a huge lawn party Saturday, she was celebrating far more than her own 25th birthday. Brown, the world's first test-tube baby, marked the anniversary of in vitro fertilization, a technique that revolutionized treatment for the infertile and has brought about the conception of more than 1 million children.

The Shape Of Children's Heads

There has been an increase in the last several years in the number of children with flattened heads, according to a clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) entitled, "Prevention and Management of Positional Skull Deformities in Infants." Read the story and comments from a Harvard physician.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics,

Sperm-Saving Has Little Value

Little good is gained when couples abstain from sex.

Genetic test blunders risk needless abortions

"Many pregnant women in the US have had risky and unnecessary fetal tests following genetic screening of themselves and their partners. And some may have terminated healthy pregnancies after muddles or irregularities in genetic tests on their fetuses."

Michigan bill legally defines birth

According to a Michigan bill approved by a state Senate panel, "a person is considered legally born when any part of a fetus is expelled from a woman's body." If enacted, the measure would be the 1st nationwide to use the concept of when a person is born to deal with partial-birth abortion.

In Vitro Fertilization

Fact sheet on this method of assisted fertilization from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Britain IVF Mix-Up Raises Concerns

Experts called for an investigation of Britain's in-vitro fertilization program after reports that a white couple who underwent the procedure had black twins.

Once-Invisible Sperm Donors Get To Meet The Family

Though most of the country's 150 sperm banks offer only anonymous donors, increasing numbers are coming up with ways, sometimes highly creative, to assure that children born with donated sperm can meet the men who fathered them. Other sperm banks are at least considering the option.

Fertility Declines Earlier

New research has provided the most precise insight yet into when biological clocks start ticking loudly - and it's sooner than once thought: age 27 for women and 35 for men.

Vitamin C Transporter Gene Discovery In Mice

In what could provide new clues to the causes underlying the serious complications associated with premature birth, scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) have discovered a possible link between reduced vitamin C availability during pregnancy, and the devastating respiratory failure and massive cerebral bleeding that can occur immediately following premature birth.

OB-GYNs Warn High Insurance Costs Could Provoke Health Care Crisis

Doctors specializing in obstetrics and gynecology warn that skyrocketing insurance premiums, driven by a leap in jury awards, threaten their ability to care for women and newborns.

Boys Cause More Problems During Labour

Women are more likely to encounter complications during labour and delivery when they are having a boy.
Source: British Medical Journal,

Over-The-Counter Test Gauges Male Fertility

Finally, there's an over-the-counter fertility test for men. FertilMARQ evaluates the number of sperm a man is producing.

Gulf War Chemical Cocktail May Jeopardize Reproduction

A combination of chemicals given to protect Gulf War soldiers against deadly diseases and nerve gas might have inadvertently damaged their testes and sperm production, according to animal experiments at Duke University Medical Center.

Dos and Don'ts of Pregnancy

Every pregnant woman struggles to keep up with the latest, ever-changing list of what you can and can't eat, drink, and do when you're expecting. From seafood to soda to dying your hair and sleeping on your side, we've asked experts to help us sort fact from fiction.

Don't Turn To Assisted Reproduction Too Quickly

There was heartening news Wednesday for would-be parents worried because they had difficulty conceiving. A new study being presented to Europe's leading reproductive medicine conference shows that most healthy couples concerned because the woman was not pregnant after a year of trying will conceive during the second year.

No Amount of Alcohol Safe for Expectant Moms

Study finds even moderate drinking during pregnancy is risky.

Women After 50 Can Have a Safe Pregnancy

As technology improves, the barrier to pregnancy keeps getting pushed back. Just because a postmenopausal woman's body can no longer produce eggs to get pregnant naturally doesn't mean she can't have a safe, successful pregnancy. According to new research, she can!

The Biological Time Clock

Technology can create life in a petri dish, allow postmenopausal women to experience birth and give parents the ability to select the sex of their child. All amazing feats, yet science still can't do one thing: It can't make a woman's eggs young again.

Reports Probe Safety Of Water Births

Delivering babies underwater in so-called water births could result in occasional near-drownings and deaths, reports suggest in the August issue of Pediatrics

Planned Parenthood Protects Medical Privacy of Patients in Iowa

The women of Storm Lake, Iowa, can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their medical records are secure and that they won’t be interrogated by law enforcement for seeking health care.

October is National Family Sexuality Education Month

Your children’s best, most accurate source of information about sexuality is you — their parent. What they want and need is support to make healthy decisions as they make their way into adulthood. Continue:

Is Everything Up To Date in Kansas City?

Apparently not. Kansas fertility clinic ends services to single women. Medical ethics are put aside for religious preference. Now, single women and lesbian couples seeking to get pregnant with help from modern science have fewer options in the Kansas City area. Citing conflicts with its religious views, Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Overland Park recently stopped offering assisted reproduction services to single women.

The hospital joins the growing ranks of private fertility clinics in Kansas and Missouri that for varying ethical and legal reasons have excluded single women from their practice.

Some local health care officials and fertility experts are worried that a disturbing trend is developing, one that threatens women's reproductive choices.

"I find it frustrating for women that they don't have choices," said Valerie Montgomery Rice, a physician who is head of the fertility clinic at University of Kansas Hospital. "I respect everyone's policies, but I have some issues with that."

About 15 percent of U.S. women of childbearing age have received infertility services, according to a 1999 national report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Comparable statistics were unavailable for Kansas and Missouri.

While private physicians perform some reproductive services, such as artificial insemination, only fertility clinics are equipped to carry out the more sophisticated assisted reproductive technology procedures. Such procedures involve the handling of eggs and sperm, as with in vitro fertilization.

Shawnee Mission's program and Reproductive Resource Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park serve only heterosexual married couples. No clinic in Kansas other than the University of Kansas Hospital serves single women.

Shawnee Mission officials turned down interview requests. In a statement, Chief Executive Officer Sam Turner said he changed the fertility clinic's policy to align with the Seventh-day Adventist Church's stance on assisted reproduction. The hospital is affiliated with the church.

The church's position: "The ideal is for children to have the benefits of an intact family with a mother and father. For this reason, reproductive services should only be provided within the bounds of the fidelity and permanence of marriage."

Shawnee Mission's clinic is the second Kansas clinic in as many years to opt out of treating single women.

The Center for Reproductive Medicine in Wichita stopped providing similar services to single women in December 2000. Officials there would only say that the physician in charge of the program decided to alter the policy.

At other Kansas and Missouri clinics, various officials said the decision to exclude single women was based on the ethical and legal questions spawned by the technology. (Editor: What "ethical" question?)

That so many Kansas and Missouri clinics do not serve single women disturbs Rice. "Should the decision be made for women that they shouldn't become a single mom? Or that a single parent should not be considered an intact household?" she said. "I think the question has to be raised as to who should make these judgments." (Editor: We wonder if a fetus is allowed to come to term if the couple separates or divorces first. Or, if the mother is allowed to come to term and then the child in removed and placed in a household of a married couple. Far fetched? If you can get out, just don't go back to Kansas, Dorothy."

A Guide to the Reproductive System

A lot of teens are confused about how the reproductive system works - what is that part really called? And what does it do? Do guys or girls have it? Read this article for the facts.

Men's Reproductive Health Care Gets New Emphasis

When it comes to family planning and sexual health, men have been largely left out of the health care system, according to a recently released report.

Anti-Abortion Group's Bid Fails

The High Court in London rejected a bid by an anti-abortion group to prevent pharmacies from selling the "morning-after" pill without a doctor's prescription.

Couples Who Smoke Are More Likely To Produce Baby Girls

Couples are more likely to have a female baby than a male if either of the partners smoked heavily while they tried to conceive.

Women Are Having More Children

Women in the United States are having more children than at any time in almost 30 years, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) birth statistics released in February 2002. At the same time, births to teens continue to decline.

U.S. births hit 30-year high, but teenage fertility rate drops to all-time low

American women, encouraged by a decadelong economic boom, are having more children than at any other time in the past three decades - 2.13 on average in a lifetime, the government said yesterday.

For the first time since 1971, women are producing enough children to offset deaths in the United States, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) said.

The center reported 4,058,814 births in 2000, the latest year for which figures were available - up 2.5 percent from 1999. It was the first time since 1993 - when the number of women in their childbearing years was higher - that births topped 4 million.

The report showed increases in the fertility rate in 2000 among women of all age groups except teenagers. Births to 15- to 19-year-olds dropped to an all-time low.

Researchers said the roaring economy of the 1990s was probably a major factor, helping potential parents feel more comfortable about supporting a family.

"When people's prospects are better off than what they were accustomed to, they are more likely to have children. Things in 1999 and 2000 were pretty good," said Brady Hamilton, an NCHS statistician.

Teen births

The strong economy also likely played a role in the lower teen birth rate.

"They could see they should be spending time improving their education and occupational skills, and postponing marriage and childbearing," NCHS demographer Stephanie Ventura said.

The economic downturn in 2001 could return the nation's fertility rate to around 2 births per woman, roughly where it has been since 1989.

It will take several years to tell whether the jump in 2000 was a temporary blip on the fertility-rate screen or the start of a return to the 1940s and '50s, when big families were the rule and the average fertility rate was 3.5 children per woman, Hamilton said.

The national birth total breaks down to an average of 2.13 children for every woman through her childbearing years of 15 to 49. The government uses 2.1 as the figure necessary for a population to fully replace itself.

Births to 15- to 19-year-olds dropped to 48.5 for every 1,000 women, a record low and down from 49.6 in 1999. Over the decade, teen births dropped 22 percent.

"The credit goes to the teens themselves," said Sarah Brown, director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. "There are only two ways these rates can go down: less sex and more contraception. There's evidence that these teens are doing both."

The report also found that smoking among pregnant women declined for most age groups, down to 12.2 percent in 2000. That rate has fallen steadily since 1989. The report found 12 percent of babies born to smokers had low birth weights, compared with just 7 percent of babies born to nonsmokers.

Twin births up

The rate of twins rose slightly, extending a two-decadelong trend.

"Older moms are more likely to have multiple births," said Joyce Martin, an NCHS epidemiologist. "And you have the added whammy of fertility-enhancing therapy, both the drugs and the techniques."

But sets of triplets and higher-order births are on the decline, the report found. Health officials hope that decline means women might be heeding their warnings about fertility procedures, which often produce multiple births that put the children at risk.

Overall, the fertility rate of 2.1 places the United States at the high end of developed nations. The rate is 1.8 in Australia, 1.7 in Britain and 1.2 in Spain.

Source: Erin McClam, The Associated Press.

Ask the Experts

Q: Is 13 years old too young to get pregnant?
A: Go here

Candies Gets Involved

This two page ad ran in the September, 01 issue of FHM magazine. It reads "Be Productive Not Reproductive. If you have unprotected sex, you have an 85% chance of getting someone pregnant within one year. Willa Ford for The Candie's Foundation. For more information go to

What to do when a condom tears

Damage control for a very bad break It's a horrifying moment: The condom in which you've just entrusted your future has busted a leak. Here's the crisis plan to help avoid sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

1. Wash immediately. Share the news and hit the shower. "Wash yourself with soap and water," says James Trussell, Ph.D, expert on emergency contraception at Princeton University. No studies have shown that soap destroys STDs, "but it won't do any harm, and it might do some good."

2. Be and show concern. Gently ask her to (a) inspect herself for condom bits, (b) refrain from douching, as that can push in microbes, and (c) use emergency contraception pills. If taken fewer than 72 hours after intercourse, they can prevent pregnancy. She can get them from her doctor or call Planned Parenthood at 1-800-230-PLAN. Visit for more information.

3. Talk about history. Before you even consider having sex with a girl, you should talk about history -- not "War of 1812" kind of history, but how many sexual partners she has been with. If she is infected, and the condom breaks, your risk for getting a sexually transmitted disease ranges from 50 percent for gonorrhea to 0.2 percent for HIV.

Should your condom break, have another chat with her about previous sex partners and diseases. "If you're concerned about STDs, see your doctor and get tested within a few days," says Jonathan Zenilman, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University STD Research Group.

If you know you were exposed to HIV, ask your doctor about a combination anti-HIV drug treatment. This measure is expensive, controversial and unproven, but it may be your only recourse.

4. Troubleshoot. Did you use an expired condom or an oil-based lubricant? Maybe you nicked the condom with a fingernail while putting it on. Whatever the cause, eliminate it.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that men who experienced a condom break or slip were twice as likely to do so again. Be sure you know how to put one on!

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Pregnant women, during the time they are with child, must tell the child they're carrying everything they see when they're walking through the woods. - Rigoberta Menchu

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