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April 15, 2014

Sperm RNA Carries Marks of Trauma

(Nature) – Trauma is insidious. It not only increases a person’s risk for psychiatric disorders, but can also spill over into the next generation. People who were traumatized during the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia tended to have children with depression and anxiety, for example, and children of Australian veterans of the Vietnam War have higher rates of suicide than the general population.

Pregnant Women Who Took Antidepressants Linked to Higher Autism Risk in Boys

(UPI) – Boys, whose mothers took antidepressants such as Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft while pregnant, were almost three times more likely to have autism spectrum disorder.  Rebecca A. Harrington and Li-Ching Lee of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Rosa M. Crum of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Dr. Andrew W. Zimmerman of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Irva Hertz-Picciotto of the University of California, Davis, said the study involved a total of 966 mother-child pairs.

Consumers Considering Different Health Plans Find Little Info about Abortion Coverage

(Washington Post) – When it comes to coverage of abortion services in plans sold on the health insurance marketplaces, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are in agreement on one thing: Coverage details need to be clearer. A recent analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health research and policy organization that supports abortion rights, found that people in some states would be hard-pressed to find any information about whether the plans they were interested in covered abortion services.

Fertility Tourism: Couples Desperate for a Baby Heading Overseas

(The New Zealand Herald) – As a result of the 2002 law, lower costs, increasing medical infrastructure and the availability of surrogates, the country has emerged as a hotspot for this type of fertility tourism. International surrogacy, also legal in the United States, Thailand, the Ukraine and at least one state in Mexico, is a growing trend for couples and singles, both gay and straight, seeking ways to overcome the hurdles biological, technological, financial, and legal of having children.

April 14, 2014

IVF Patient Pregnant with Another Couple’s Twins in Embryo Mix-Up

(News.com.au) – A WOMAN who underwent fertility treatment at a clinic in Rome became pregnant with the twins of another couple after their embryos were mixed up. Italy’s health ministry says it’s launching an investigation into the error, which was only discovered when the woman was three-months-pregnant.

Payment Bid to Boost IVF Cycle

(Sydney Morning Herald) – Women who donate their eggs so others can have children would be paid for their trouble, under changes to the IVF code of ethics being considered by Australia’s chief medical advisory and research authority. As part of its review of the ethical guidelines for the practice of assisted reproductive technology in Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council has sought public comment on whether women should be ”compensated for the reproductive effort and risks associated with donating their eggs”.

April 11, 2014

A New Edition of Developing World Bioethics is Available

Developing World Bioethics (Volume 14, No. 1, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Bioethics and Forensic Psychiatry” by Debora Diniz
  • “Impact of Three Years Training on Operations Capacities of Research Ethics Committees in Nigeria” by Morenike Oluwatoyin Folayan, et al.
  • “On Abortion: Exploring Psychological Meaning and Attitudes in a Sample of Mexican Gynecologists” by Ma. Luisa Marván, Asunción Álvarez del Río and Zaira Campos
  • “Ethical Issues in Field Trials of Genetically Modified Disease-Resistant Mosquitoes” by David B. Resnik
  • “The Ethics of Engaged Presence: A Framework for Health Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Development Work” by Matthew R. Hunt, et al.

A New Edition of Journal of Medical Ethics is Available

Journal of Medical Ethics (Volume 40, No. 4, April 2014) is now available online by subscription only.

Articles include:

  • “Freedom and moral enhancement” by Michael J Selgelid
  • “The duty to be Well-informed: The case of depression” by Charlotte Blease
  • “Approaches to suffering at the end of life: the use of sedation in the USA and Netherlands” by Judith AC Rietjens, et al.
  • “Moral concerns with sedation at the end of life” by Charles Douglas
  • “Genetic modifications for personal enhancement: a defence” by Timothy F Murphy
  • “Voluntary moral enhancement and the survival-at-any-cost bias” by  Vojin Rakić
  • “Embryonic viability, parental care and the pro-life thesis: a defence of Bovens” by Jonathan Surovell
  • “Differentiating between human and non-human interspecies embryos” by Calum MacKellar

European Union Debates Initiative on Embryo Protection

(New York Times) – A packed hearing on a petition calling for the protection of human embryos led to a rare outbreak of raucous exchanges in the European Parliament on Thursday — a sign that the battles over abortion and stem cell research that divide nations like Spain and the United States are making a serious incursion into European Union affairs.

April 10, 2014

Italian Court Overturns Divisive Ban on Donor Eggs, Sperm

(Reuters) – Italy’s constitutional court overturned a ban on using donor sperm and eggs in fertility treatments on Wednesday, knocking down part of a divisive set of restrictions on assisted reproduction. The court said in a statement the ban breached the constitution, without going into further detail, and lawyers in the case said the ruling was effective immediately.

April 9, 2014

Pro-Life Citizen’s Initiative Worries E.U. Scientists

(Science) – A group of European pro-life organizations is mobilizing against embryonic stem cell research in a way that the European Commission cannot ignore. One of Us, a so-called European citizens’ initiative, has collected 1.7 million signatures from all 28 E.U. member states for a proposal that would block funding for research in which embryos are destroyed; under E.U. rules, the European Commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation.

April 8, 2014

Surrogacy Mishaps Shift Medical Tourism Focus Toward Education

(Medical Tourism Magazine) – The Bay Area Reporter said Planet Hospital closed its surrogacy services in December 2013. Following the sudden halt to services, an estimated 30 sets of intended parents are out of money and scrambling to secure a place in the “mothering by proxy” process and move forward with planning their families, Catherine Moscarello, former director of client services for Planet Hospital’s services in Cancun, Mexico, told The Reporter.

April 7, 2014

Genetic Testing to Predict Menopause

(The Sydney Morning Herald) – A genetic test to predict the start of menopause is likely to be available within five years, allowing women to make more informed decisions about their health and fertility, a leading expert says. Professor of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecology at University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, Bart Fauser, said given menopause could begin at very different ages, including before 40 years for about one in 100 women, a test to more precisely predict the timing would be extremely useful, especially for women wanting children.

Minister Orders Investigation into Abortion of Girls

(The Telegraph) – A new survey of birth ratios in Britain has been ordered by the Government, amid fears that sex-selective abortions are taking place in Britain. Earl Howe, a health minister, said the Government wants to “monitor the situation” and “remain vigilant” following evidence that some doctors in the UK are carrying out selective abortions.

Surrogate Parenthood for Money Is a Form of Human Trafficking

(Forbes) – Currently, New York State, Louisiana, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia are considering legislation that would legalize commercial surrogacy.  Last week, the New York Times featured a video segment on Baby M which asks the question: Have we solved the question of surrogacy? A look into these current legislative battles and the patchwork of varied state legislation on surrogacy around the country makes it clear that we have not.

April 3, 2014

Surrogacy Birth Bill Passed by Louisiana House: Snapshot

(The Times-Picayune) – At-a-Glance: The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill 79-14 to establish enforceable, legal surrogacy birth contracts between married couples and the women who carry their children in Louisiana. The bill: Rep. Joe Lopinto, R-Metairie, has sponsored the legislation which puts regulations in place for a couple and woman who enter into a surrogacy birth relationship. Surrogacy allows a couple to have a child that is biologically their own, but carried to term by a third party.

April 2, 2014

Biologist Claims Controversial Stem-Cell Method Works

(Nature) – A Hong Kong developmental biologist says he has succeeded in reproducing a method of reprogramming cells to an embryonic like state by applying mechanical stress. The surprising new development, which the author describes as a “megatwist”, took place on 1 April, the same day that the Japanese researcher who invented the method was found guilty of scientific misconduct. The new claim, however, has been greeted with scepticism.

April 1, 2014

Big Increase in Mothers over 50 Raises Health Fears

(The Telegraph) – The number of women giving birth over the age of fifty has more than doubled in the past five years, with three children being born to a woman in their fifties every week. The huge leap raises health fears as older women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies while their offspring are more susceptible to genetic defects. The NHS is also being put under increased pressure as older mothers and their babies require a higher level of medical care, according to midwives.

Supreme Court Declines to Hear New Contraception Cases

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up preliminary appeals brought by Roman Catholic groups that want an exemption from part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law requiring employers to provide insurance that covers contraception. The cases were brought by a series of Roman Catholic-affiliated nonprofit groups based in Washington, D.C., including Catholic University.

March 31, 2014

What Psychosocial Factors Can Help IVF Patients?

(Science Codex) – The whole ‘infertility journey’ is an emotional rollercoaster and whilst IVF treatment might be successful for some, not knowing if you will be in the 25 per cent who become pregnant demands some serious coping skills. After reviewing research that explored which psychosocial factors are associated with the emotional adjustment of IVF patients, researchers have highlighted which key psychosocial factors could help identify patients at high risk of stress.

Genetic Screening to Enhance IQ Should Be Embraced

(The Conversation) – There could be a way of predicting – and preventing – which children will go on to have low intelligence, according to the findings of a study researchers at Cardiff University presented on Monday. They discovered that children with two copies of a common gene (Thr92Ala), together with low levels of thyroid hormone are four times more likely to have a low IQ. This combination occurs in about 4% of the UK population.

 

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