Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The debate about public assistance for IVF

ABC News online has a short article about the jump in babies born in Australia through assisted reproduction. There has been a 40% increase in 2006 compared to 2002. That's moderately interesting. But the more interesting part is the debate in the comments section of that article. Much of it revolves around whether or not public funds should be used to pay for IVF treatments. If you step back and look at the overall picture it once again looks like those who support public assistance are the ones who have used it and would not have otherwise been able to get treatment, whereas those against it are taxpayers who don't and won't use it. There is always this split in opinion between those who say pay your own way and those who want the government (which means taxpayers) to pay. Which side do you come down on?

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Another cell phone study re male fertility

Another study has just been published that warns men about possible adverse effects of cell phones on their fertility. The online version of Journal of Fertility and Sterility reports that men who keep their cell phones in their pockets or clip them to their belts while in use may be compromising their sperm count. The study involved actually exposing sperm to a cell phone in talk mode for one hour. That does seem to be much more empirical than the anecdotal results that come from surveys. The researches reported that there was a 7% decrease in sperm motility and 11% decrease in viability after the exposure.

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Stolen embryos

There have been stories before about custody battles over frozen embryos but this is the first I've heard of the possible theft of embryos. It wasn't a burglary or armed robbery. This allegedly involved forgery by the former girlfriend of the donor male's signature in order to obtain frozen embryos so she could have them implanted. She became pregnant and had a son. The man only learned of it after the child was already 18 months old and the British Child Support Agency contacted him and demanded payments.