Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending December 10, 2017.


Win Pregistry’s December giveaway: an Evenflo Vive Travel System. Simply click on the link and follow the easy steps. Good luck!

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Uterus Transplant

Women with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome are born without a functioning uterus. But one such woman has just given birth to a heathy baby, thanks to a uterus transplant. The procedure had been performed in Sweden, but this one – at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas – was the first in the US. The donations can come from dead or living women; this one came from a woman who decided she was done having children. The recipient must rely on IVF to get pregnant. Read this moving story here.

This is important for you because it’s a touching, uplifting, altruistic story – perfect for this time of year.

Healthier Teflon

A chemical used to make nonstick pans was banned by the EPA in 2003 because it was linked to low-weight babies; since the ban, the rate of babies born underweight has dropped. Read more here.

This is important for you because President Trump is dismantling the EPA and other government agencies that use science to protect us – lobby to advocate for your baby’s future health.

Investing in Infertility

Private Equity firms are investing in fertility clinics nationwide, aimed not only at older women or those who know they might have fertility issues but also young women who are first exploring their options. Some doctors are concerned that they are preying on women’s fears and promoting unnecessary medical interventions. Read more here.

This is important for you because you should make sure to find a doctor you trust, to make sure you get only the care that you need.

“Genetically Biased Fertilization,” aka Very Picky Eggs 

The classic view of fertilization is that the egg sits around while myriad sperm race towards it until one wins. But a geneticist in Seattle is challenging that view; he has evidence that mating choice occurs at the molecular level, with the egg influencing which sperm molecule it joins with. He does not yet know how, exactly, this happens. Read about this fascinating idea here.

This is important for you because the idea of the egg cell choosing the sperm, rather than just passively and patiently waiting for the fastest sperm, has such nice symbolic feminist value!

Clinical trials for all?

Pregnant women often have a really hard time finding out which medications are safe for them – often because it is not known. Congress is coming to their aid, convening a task force to study and try to fix the problem. Including pregnant women in drug studies is obviously vital, but just as obviously very fraught. Read about this important issue here.

This is important for you because even if you don’t require medication this time around, you may next time, or when you’re nursing, or know someone who does…

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was Paternity Leave – What Does the Law Say? Despite public opinion favoring paid leave for new fathers, currently only three states offer it: California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. New York will join the list on in January 2018. Read more here.

Diana Gitig
Dr. Diana Gitig has a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University, and has been writing about issues in biology – from molecular biology to cancer to immunology to neuroscience to nutrition to agriculture - for the past fifteen years. She has three teenaged children.

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