Parents Paint the Petri Dish Pink

Fertility technology is allowing parents to determine the sex of a child before it’s conceived and, in the United States, couples are mostly trying to have daughters in an act of family balancing. Ethicists say the practice is on slippery ground.

Men Can Mend Maternal Care; Bush Stifled Top MD

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersIn commemoration of World Population Day on July 11, the United Nations Population Fund has called on men around the world to become partners in maternal health care.”Experience shows that men’s involvement and participation can make all the difference. By discouraging early marriage, promoting girls’ education, fostering equitable relationships and supporting women’s reproductive health and rights, progress is made,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the Population Fund’s executive director. “It is time for all men as fathers, brothers, husbands, community and religious leaders, and government officials to become partners in maternal health.”About 525,600 women die annually from pregnancy and childbirth complications. Every minute, a woman loses her life. And for every woman who dies, 20 experience serious complications such as obstetric fistula, a debilitating childbirth injury that affects more than 2 million women around the world.The U.N. will work with governments and other partners to guarantee that every woman has access to three reproductive health services saving women’s lives: voluntary family planning, skilled attendance at birth and emergency obstetric care if complications arise during delivery.

Breast Cancer Drops; Women Lack Birthing Care

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersBreast cancer rates in the United States dropped by 7 percent from 2002 to 2003, possibly as a result of millions of women who discontinued hormone replacement therapy, the Associated Press reported Dec. 15. The analysis was reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.Breast cancer cases dropped most among women 50 and older, the age group taking hormones. In 2003, there were only 124 cases per 100,000 women, the biggest decline in the breast cancer rate since the 1970s. That year, nearly 200,000 cases of breast cancer had been expected, but about 14,000 fewer women actually were diagnosed with the disease.The decline in the number of women taking hormone replacement therapy came just after publication of the Women’s Health Initiative trial in 2002, which revealed that health risks among recipients were elevated, especially for breast cancer and stroke.”This is big news,” said Dr. Jay Brooks of the Ochsner Health System, in Baton Rouge, La.

Inability to Conceive Knocks Life Off Course

The emotional turbulence of infertility is making Jennifer Friedlin dread the sight of smiling babies. Slowly, however, she is finding comfort in the stories of other couples who have navigated the same difficult and confusing chapter of life.