NPR is running a typical media hype story on oocyte preservation (egg freezing), featuring the standard happy family photo with their â€śmiracleâ€ť baby born after thawing and fertilizing a cryopreserved egg.
Itâ€™s a heartwarming story and a pretty photo, but far from a complete picture of what women need to know about this still experimental fertility preserving procedure. Nowhere does the article tell women the actual success rates of occyte cryo-preservation.
So before you run out to freeze your eggs, know this â€“ the chance of having a pregnancy after egg freezing is less than a 50/50 shot â€“ at most about 39%, according to the latest data.Â Â Thatâ€™s about the same odds youâ€™d have if you just wait till 40 to try to get pregnant on your own. In addition, while somewhere between 1 and 2 thousand infants have been born using the technology, we do not yet have data on their long term outcomes. Read more »
Everyone knows about “Octomom” and her octuplets born after in-vitro fertilization (IVF).Â That was an extreme case, but multiple births resulting from unregulated artificial reproductive technologies have skyrocketed over the last decade.Â The increased rate of twins, triplets and even higher multiples are due to in-vitro treatments and those women and infants are at much higher risk of pregnancy complications, premature birth and long term health problems.
New research,Â published in theJournal of Pediatrics, looked at admissions at just one hospital in Montreal, Quebec and found multiple embryo transfers was responsible for a significant proportion of admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).Â These infants were born severely preterm.Â Six babies died and 5 developed severe intraventricular hemorrhage or bronchopulmonary dysplasia.Â The researchers extrapolated their data to the entire country of Canada and said that a universal single-embryo transfer policy would have prevented 840 NICU admissions, 40 deaths and 42,488 days in the NICU.Â The cost was $40 million annually. Read more »
An article on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker comments on German media coverage of the “Is there male menopause?” question. An excerpt:
One study, but very different types of headlines: “‘Male Menopause’ discovered” and “Men have no Menopause.” Both types of headlines are based on one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which analyzed 3219 European males between 40 and 79. Blood samples provided testosterone levels and questionnaires (!) asked about the “general, sexual, physical, and psychological health.”
What the scientists found was nothing more and nothing less than a correlation between a low testosterone level and three clinical symptoms (“decreased frequency of morning erection, decreased frequency of sexual thoughts, and erectile dysfunction”). So, one could call it an age-related testosterone deficiency, affecting only a minority (about 2%) of elderly men.
But one shouldn’t name it “andropause” or “male menopause” — and the scientists themselves did NOT use the term in the whole article — because this term immediately suggests a relation to menopause, which is a completely different and natural developmental phenomenon for every woman above the age of 50.Read more »
I’d like to welcome Dr. Jon LaPook, medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, to the Better Health team of bloggers. Jon will be contributing video interviews on engaging consumer health topics on a weekly basis. This first contribution is a video interview with male fertility expert Dr. Harry Fisch, combined with some entertaining “man on the street” discussions in Columbus Circle, NYC. Let me know what you think!
I wanted to let you know about a wonderful new online resource for pregnancy education here at Revolution Health. I helped to develop the Advanced Answers Pregnancy Center along with a team of experts from Columbia University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It is a comprehensive, multi-media educational tool to help women (especiallly high risk moms-to-be) learn about their pregnancy and birthing options.
I’m very proud of Dr. Mary D’Alton’s team for their outstanding work on this unique center. Where else on the Internet can you find cutting edge, consumer-friendlyÂ pregnancy information written by the top minds in maternal health? I guess you could say that I feel as if I’m the proud new mom of a pregnancy education center!
I also want to tell you about another exciting tool that I helped to build: the momScore. This is the first heatlhcare quality index targeted specifically for women. With the help of an interactive map of the United States, women can compare how their home statesÂ stack up against others onÂ women’s health issues.Â How mom-friendly is your state?Â View the momScore tool to find out.
Thanks for checking out my two new “babies” – knowledge is power, so go get some!
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