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Bad Medical Marketing: An Ad The FDA Should Pull

If ever a medical device company crossed a line with their marketing, this one has. Essure, which makes a sterilization device for women, is trying to scare men away from vasectomy in order to drive women to use their device.

“We made men watch footage of an actual vasectomy,” says the female voiceover — and then they proceed to show men’s reactions to watching a surgical procedure, with “That’s frickin’ gross, man” being the most memorable quote. The final tagline: “You can only wait so long for him to man up.” Yeah, and to be sure he doesn’t, they’ve created this ad.

The ad is slimy, harmful, obnoxious, and just plain stupid. A couple’s decision as to which sterilization procedure is best for them should be one informed by real information, not frat-boy marketing.

How dare they? The FDA should pull this ad — now.


Addendum: I just emailed the FDA at Feel free to copy my message below and send your own email:

To the FDA,

I find this ad for Essure both inflammatory and unethical. I am incensed at the impact this ad could have on couples’ informed choices about sterilization. I ask that you mandate that the company who makes Essure immediately pull this ad, both from the Web and from any media outlet where it’s playing.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog That Ate Manhattan*

Can Medical Clowning Improve In Vitro Success?

Following from the somewhat common sense idea that women who were less stressed during in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) had better outcomes, the journal Fertility and Sterility published a study out of Israel that claims “medical clowning” improved pregnancy rates compared to a group not exposed to a clown on the day of implantation.

From the abstract:

This experimental prospective quasi-randomized study examining the impact of a medical clowning encounter after ET after IVF found that the pregnancy rate in the intervention group was 36.4%, compared with 20.2% in the control group (adjusted odds ratio, 2.67; 95% confidence interval, 1.36–5.24). Medical clowning as an adjunct to IVF-ET may have a beneficial effect on pregnancy rates and deserves further investigation.

In the methods section, the researchers describe the study design. For the intervention group (n=110) a “professional medical clown” visited the patient immediately after the procedure for about 15 minutes and performed the same routine including “jokes, tricks, and magic” while dressed as a chef.

While the study itself only uses one routine, presumably similar effects could be experienced by a patient bringing in a personal media device and watching something they know will amuse them right after their own procedure. Hopefully, no need to bring your own clown if the office won’t provide one for you. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Oocyte Preservation (Egg Freezing): Readily Available, Yet Still Experimental

Oocyte preservation, or egg freezing as it’s popularly called, is now being offered by over half of U.S. fertility clinics, and half of those not offering it now plan to do so in the future. This according to a national survey conducted in mid 2009 and reported this week in Fertility and Sterility.

Over two-thirds of the 143 centers offering oocyte cryopreservation will do it electively, as opposed to those that offer it only to women undergoing cancer treatments that threaten their natural fertility.

Go West, But Be Prepared To Pay

Centers located in the Western part of the U.S. are more likely to offer elective egg freezing than those in the East. Not surprisingly, centers that only accept out of pocket (as opposed to insurance) payments were more likely to offer the procedure, reflecting the history of infertility advancement, which, unlike almost any other area of medicine, has largely been financed by private individual dollars. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*

Male Laptop Users: Beware Of An Overheated “Lap”

83kdkjj.jpgMale readers be advised! Using your laptop placed on your knees to read this post may cause your testicles to heat up quite significantly. However surprisingly, this is not due to the heat dissipated by many laptops, but rather due to the positioning of the legs. A study just published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility investigated ways to avoid the testicles from overheating while using a laptop computer.

Right and left scrotal temperatures were measured in 29 volunteers while working on the laptop in different positions: With closely approximated legs, with closely approximated legs with a lap pad below the laptop, and sitting with legs apart at a 70° angle with a lap pad below the laptop. After 60 minutes with closed legs, temperature increased about 2.4 degrees Celsius, using the lap pad yielded a slightly smaller increase of 2.1 degrees, while spreading the legs resulted in a modest increase of 1.4 degrees.

The authors conclude that prevention of scrotal hyperthermia in laptop users is not feasible, although we would like to disagree and suggest using a flat surface, such as a table or desk, to position your laptop in order to preserve your fertility.

Article abstract: Protection from scrotal hyperthermia in laptop computer users…

Image credit: Pitel…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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