NEW! Eggsploitation Documentary Tells Students of Egg Donation Risks
NEW! Hope for Infertility: ‘Infertile’ Couple Gives Birth Thanks to Cutting Edge Natural Treatment
NEW! Assembling the Global Baby
Scientists Admit IVF Has High Rate of Abnormalities
Commentary: IVF 'Could Double Risk of Cerebral Palsy'
NaPro Technology Can Help Some Couples Who Balk at In Vitro Fertilization
IVF-Conceived Children Have "Moderately" Higher Risk of Cancer: Swedish Study
'Eggsploitation' Documentary Reveals Secrets of Infertility Industry
The Incredible, Profitable Egg
New Study Confirms Overwhelming Death Rate of IVF Human Embryos…
Eggsploitation Documentary Tells Students of Egg Donation Risks
Advances in medical technology frequently come with ethical problems and scientific concerns and issues and egg donation, for women, is no different.
Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture has been one of the leading advocates for women in terms of highlighting the problems they face with egg donations, which provide scientists for eggs frequently used in cloning and embryonic stem cell research.
Rebecca Hagelin of the Washington Times today profiles Lahl and her documentary Eggspolitation, which is making its way across college campuses, reaching the women who feel economic pressure to sell their eggs but may not realize the medical dangers to them inherent in the procedure.:
Jennifer Lahl is a kind, deeply caring woman. A health care worker for 25 years, she has seen medical care at its best — when it gives fresh hope and renewed health to suffering patients.
These days, Ms. Lahl is a passionate advocate on behalf of young women who’ve experienced medical care at its worst. In the upside-down world of assisted reproduction, too many fertility specialists have dashed the hopes and compromised the health of previously healthy young women — egg donors.
Next month, Ms. Lahl’s award-winning documentary, “Eggsploitation,” will play on college campuses, warning young women about the dangers of egg donation. The film follows several young women who underwent egg donation as a way to pay tuition or dig themselves out of debt — they also welcomed the emotional payoff of helping an infertile couple have a child.
But for these women, donating their eggs triggered serious complications resulting in infertility, disability, and lingering health problems. One woman nearly died.
As infertility climbs, so does assisted reproduction. Most of us know families whose children were created with help from fertility specialists or who owe their existence to egg donors. And nothing I say here intends to minimize the pain of infertility. But the fact remains that young women — my own daughter’s peer group — are being exploited as egg donors.
Our young women need to know the truth.
Wesley J. Smith, the bioethics expert who helped persuade President George W. Bush to not fund new embryonic stem cell research that destroys human lives, also weighs in on the new documentary and egg donation.
The movie deals with the dangers of egg donation, and is now being shown at film festivals. Jennifer Lahl, the CBC’s head and driving force behind its production, has been promoting the movie. Some media are taking notice.
Human eggs are probably–ounce for ounce–the most valuable commodity on the planet, grasped for by the infertile and bioscientists for use in cloning. Where great money can be made, industries easily follow. And that can threaten young women with being turned into commodities.
Eggsploitation is non partisan, by which I mean, it unites Left and Right in joint concern for the health of young women–and the destitute overseas–too easily targeted for harvesting. I am very pleased that Jennifer’s movie is making waves. It should.
[10 Jan 2011, Ertelt, Washington, DC, LifeNews.com, http://www.lifenews.com/2011/01/10/eggsploitation-documentary-tells-students-of-egg-donation-risks/
Hope for Infertility: ‘Infertile’ Couple Gives Birth Thanks to Cutting Edge Natural Treatment
Infertility has approached epidemic levels in Western countries. In 2002, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that 7.3 million women suffered from infertility in the country, about 12% of the reproductive-age population. Many of these millions are sped along to IVF doctors; robbed of the joys of natural procreation, they are often slated to endure years of heartache as they strive unsuccessfully for a child.
Pierre and Heidi Desrochers of Ottawa were one of those couples. Married in 2005, the young pair learned in October 2007 that Heidi suffered from advanced endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, and possible polycystic ovarian disease. They were told their chances of conceiving and bearing a child were slim.
The couple was referred in December 2007 to the Ottawa Fertility Centre, which specializes in assisted reproductive technologies. The doctor told them IVF was their only option.
“It was really difficult for us to believe that a conclusion could be drawn just after one surgery, without conducting any other tests,” said Heidi. “We still didn’t understand the cause of my infertility.”
Convicted against IVF by their Catholic faith, they were unsure where to go. “We didn’t have any other option at that point,” she said. “We basically felt abandoned by our doctors, and we were really grieving not being able to have a child. It was a deep emotional pain.”
In the midst of their struggle, the Desrochers were introduced to the new reproductive science NaProTechnology. A natural, fertility-care approach to women’s health, the method was developed by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers of the Creighton University School of Medicine based on thirty years of research into the woman’s fertility cycle.
The Desrochers began consulting with a NaPro doctor at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Family Centre in Toronto, and were sent down to Nebraska for surgery with Dr. Hilgers, who has pioneered specialized micr
osurgical techniques to heal women’s reproductive systems.
Only one month after the surgery, Pierre and Heidi conceived their “miracle baby” Daniel Raymond Joseph Desrochers, who was born August 11, 2009.
“I was overjoyed and so grateful to God for this tremendous blessing and gift. I was also very surprised that it happened so quickly after my surgery,” said Heidi. “NaPro does take some effort and patience and it is not always easy, but in the end, it was worth it!”
NaProTechnology – Successful, Natural, Cost-Effective, Ethical
Though widely ignored in medical circles, NaPro has been hailed as a cost effective and morally acceptable solution that has consistently shown better outcomes for mother and child than assisted reproduction. There are fewer miscarriages, and no increased rate of multiple pregnancies.
A 2004 study by Dr. Hilgers’ Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Nebraska found NaPro up to 81% effective at achieving pregnancy, depending on the condition, whereas success rates for IVF have ranged from 21-27%.
Besides infertility, the method has been effective in treating miscarriage, irregular cycles, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome, postpartum depression and many other women’s health conditions.
Dr. Julia Cataudella, a medical consultant and NaPro specialist at the Marguerite Bourgeoys Centre, told LifeSiteNews that the idea behind NaPro is to identify and treat the underlying problems with the woman’s physiology.
“Infertility is seen as a symptom of disease. It’s an end sign that something’s not right,” she explained. “So if you can identify what it is that’s not right, and correct it, then conception can occur naturally because you know the fertile times and you’ve optimized the conditions of fertility – cervical mucus production might need to be enhanced for example.”
Dr. Cataudella said NaPro relies on knowing the phases of the woman’s cycle, not only in general, but also the cycle of the individual woman. “That cycle reflects the communication between the ovaries and the brain, so it’s quite delicate and complex, and it can only be done through fertility awareness,” she said.
The woman charts her cycle using the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System, a standardized assessment using biomarkers such as cervical mucus and menstrual bleeding. Besides pinpointing the woman’s fertile periods with precision, the chart allows her and her medical practitioner to observe her body’s rhythm and identify abnormalities that need to be treated.
According to Dr. Cataudella, the treatment is often administered at specific points in the cycle – at the time of fertility, or just after ovulation, for example. This timing is often crucial to the treatment’s effectiveness.
The Struggle to Get the Word Out
Despite NaPro’s common-sense approach and documented benefits, most doctors who have heard of it remain skeptical, and its proponents have struggled to get their findings published.
“People are definitely pushed toward the [assisted reproductive technologies] instead of looking at the root cause,” said Desrochers. But she thinks doctors also opt for that approach simply because they don’t fully understand the woman’s cycle, knowledge of which she believes the medical profession lost when oral contraceptives were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s. She said the problem was exacerbated in the 1970s when assisted reproductive technologies took off.
“Back in 2007 when I was seeing that gynaecologist, her first solution for me was the oral contraceptive pill,” explained Desrochers. While it would have helped with the pain from her endometriosis, she said, “it simply masks the pain [and] the underlying issue. … It’s a band-aid solution, because it overrides the menstrual cycle instead of treating the problem.”
“[NaPro is] not often taken very seriously, because it’s not very technological,” said Dr. Cataudella. “You’re not intervening with pipettes and microscopes to cause the fertilization.” She also said there appears to be “a moral boundary” for doctors who believe in contraceptives like the pill.
The Dangers and Failures of IVF
The major pioneer of IVF, Dr. Robert Edwards, was honoured with a Nobel Prize this fall, for bringing “joy to infertile people all over the world.” Yet the evidence and experience of NaPro suggests the advent of IVF has resulted in unnecessary physical harm and emotional heart ache for countless infertile couples and their families.
Dr. Cataudella pointed out that the failure to diagnose the underlying causes of infertility results in major health problems in women. Beyond simply the inability to bear children, infertility is a symptom of diseases – such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian disease, anovulation, and tubal occlusion – that can lead to long-term disability, a lower quality of life, and even premature death. Women who are infertile can suffer pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, and cholesterol problems, and are at increased risk for heart attack and diabetes, as well as ovarian and breast cancer.
The failure to diagnose underlying causes is also one of the reasons why there are so many failed attempts at IVF, said Desrochers. “Sometimes the uterine environment is hostile, the baby can’t even implant in it because there might be something that they haven’t diagnosed,” she said.
Dr. Cataudella agreed, saying that the approach is always the same with IVF. “It doesn’t matter what the problem is. Every person gets the same treatment,” she said. “‘Let’s just do the conception for you, and hope that it takes.’ Ultimately the results aren’t that great.”
IVF has also been shown to endanger children. Desrochers said that when she and Pierre went into the Ottawa Fertility Centre, the doctor tried to appeal to their Catholic sensibilities by claiming that the facility would use all of the couple’s embryos in the IVF process.
But, as she later learned, the claim was false because a high percentage of the embryos are lost simply through the process of freezing and thawing. Not only that, but in many cases where multiple embryos implant in their mother, the undesired babies are “culled,” “selectively reduced,” or in layman’s terms, killed.
A growing body of evidence is revealing a much higher level of birth defects in babies born through IVF, including heart valve defects, cleft lip and palate, and digestive system abnormalities. In 2010, a French study – the largest yet on the subject – found that assisted reproductive technologies double the baby’s risk of deformity.
Besides the physical dangers, there’s also the simple fact that IVF children are conceived in a lab, denied the right to be conceived naturally. “IVF is definitely not an option for us,” said Desrochers. “IVF replaces the physical expression of love between husband and wife, and children are treated as commodities.”
“Pierre and I feel that the child is not an object over which we have a right, or own, but the child is a gift, and life is sacred from the moment of conception,” she added.
Restored Health for the Future
Because the focus is on promotin
g the woman’s health, NaPro aims to restore fertility in the long-term, meaning there is a much better chance of conceiving naturally into the future.
Pierre and Heidi are hoping and praying that Daniel will have a sibling soon. They’ve been told that Heidi’s endometriosis could return, and a test recently found that one of her fallopian tubes was blocked again. They conceived Daniel so quickly that they hadn’t completed the process, so now they are working with a NaPro doctor to balance Heidi’s hormones.
Heidi has been trying to share her experience in the hopes of helping other couples who struggle with infertility – in a recent letter to the Ottawa Citizen, for example, and an article in the Winter 2010 newsletter of the Companions of the Cross, a Canadian community of priests based in Ottawa.
“[NaPro is] morally acceptable, maintains the integrity of the human person, and respects the dignity of women and of marriage,” said Desrochers.
Learn more about NaProTechnology — http://www.naprotechnology.com/
100 Polish Scientists Condemn In Vitro Fertilization — http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2010/jan/10011103
Landmark Study Demonstrates Natural IVF Alternative Effective in Helping Infertile Couples Conceive — http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/1981/feb/8102309
Fertility Treatment is Hugely Successful but Largely Ignored by Medicine — http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/1980/31/8031707
[17 Jan 2011, Patrick Craine, OTTAWA, Ontario, LifeSiteNews.com, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/hope-for-infertile-couples?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=fbc72ec5e4-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines03_17_2011&utm_medium=email ; PharmFacts E-News Update, 18 Jan 2011]
Assembling the Global Baby
In a hospital room on the Greek island of Crete with views of a sapphire sea lapping at ancient fortress walls, a Bulgarian woman plans to deliver a baby whose biological mother is an anonymous European egg donor, whose father is Italian, and whose birth is being orchestrated from Los Angeles. She won't be keeping the child.
The parents-to-be, an infertile Italian woman and her husband (who provided the sperm)—will take custody of the baby this summer, on the day of birth. The man bringing together this disparate group is Rudy Rupak, chief executive of PlanetHospital.com LLC, a California company. Mr. Rupak is a pioneer in a controversial field at the crossroads of reproductive technology and international adoption. Prospective parents put off by the rigor of traditional adoptions are bypassing that system by producing babies of their own—often using an egg donor from one country, a sperm donor from another, and a surrogate who will deliver in a third country to make what some industry participants call "a world baby."
The process can bring profound dilemmas. In some cases, clinics end up creating more fetuses than a couple needs, forcing a decision over whether to abort one or more pregnancies. Babies carried to term occasionally find themselves temporarily unable to get a passport. Some of his own clients have faced the abortion decision, Mr. Rupak says. "Sometimes they find the money" to pay for more children than they expected, he says. After all, they went to such lengths. And if they decide otherwise, Mr. Rupak says, "We don't judge."
Critics say the business is strewn with pitfalls. "The potential for abuse on many levels is big," says Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, discussing the industry in general terms. "You're straddling all these [international] boundaries to buy the ingredients and the equipment." Mr. Caplan calls it the "wild, wild west of medicine."
Unlike traditional adoption, there is relatively little vetting of would-be parents either by agencies like PlanetHospital, regulators or clinics. There are also fewer restrictions, such as strict age limits, on who can participate. Mr. Rupak says individual clinics use their own standards to make some of these decisions. He sometimes advises his clients to get a lawyer to be sure they're in compliance with the laws of their home country.
"Our ethics are agnostic," Mr. Rupak says. "How do you prevent a pedophile from having a baby? If they're a pedophile then I will leave that to the U.S. government to decide, not me." PlanetHospital recently launched a website touting "surrogaycy" aimed at gay couples. "In some states you cannot marry, let alone adopt; but not a law in the land can take away a child that is biologically yours," the site says.
[January 14, 2011, CMDA News & Views, Excerpt from Assembling the Global Baby, Wall Street Journal. November 23, 2010, http://www.cmda.org/wcm/CMDA/ResourcesServices2/e_Newsletters1/News_and_Views/This_Week_s_News_Vie.aspx]
Birth | Largely unregulated sperm banks and fertility clinics are producing thousands of donor-conceived children who long to know more about their fathers | Alisa Harris
Alana's first birth certificate said Hutcheson—the last name of a man who shared no biological link to her. Her second birth certificate said Stewart—the last name of the man her mother married after divorcing the first. Neither birth certificate mentions her biological father—the man who donated the sperm to create her. Alana changed her name from Stewart to Sveta, a Polish-sounding name she adopted after she learned her donor dad was Polish, and then changed it back to Stewart to re-identify with the only family she knows. But it still gnaws at her that her birth certificate doesn't acknowledge her biological dad, and she'll never know his name.
Stewart's name changes reflect her search for identity and a way to connect to the father she only knows as "Donor." Her experience is echoed in the title of a recent study—"My Daddy's Name is Donor"—that contains troubling findings about the way some donor offspring view their identity and experience family relationships. An estimated 30,000-60,000 children are born each year through sperm donation—the product of a $3.3 billion fertility industry that does not have to keep strict records of births, reveal donor names, or regulate the number of children one sperm donor creates. For Stewart and other donorconceived children, never knowing their fathers has created a crisis of identity.
The study, released by the Commission on Parenthood's Future, took a representative sample of 485 donor offspring, comparing it with groups of adopted and biological children. It found that donor-conceived children are more likely to express feelings of sadness about their conception and experience family break-up, depression, delinquency, and substance abuse. Forty-five percent of donor-conceived children say that the circumstances of their conception bother them. Sixty-five percent say that their donor is part of who they are. Nearly half feel sad when they see friends with biological parents and more than half say it hurts when others talk about their genealogical background.
The study also found that family breakdown is more common in the families of donor offspring. Overall, 44 percent of donor offspring experience "family transitions" (like divorce) before the age of 16, compared to 22 percent of adopted children and 35 percent of those raised by biological parents.
Stewart said her own experience illustrates the family knots that donor conception can create. She thinks the circumstances of her conception—her mother having a child with another man's sperm—made her mother's first husband see Stewart as "a symbol of what one man could do that he couldn't do." He favored Stewart's adopted sister—the daughter who had a biological link to neither parent—over Stewart, the child who had a biological link to his wife but not to him. When he and Stewart's mom divorced, he only asked for custody of Stewart's sister.
"I don't really consider anyone my father," Stewart said—a situation that she says created insecurity and lack of trust. She excelled at school until early adolescence, when questions of her identity began to beset her. Then she plummeted from the top of her class to the bottom and started a string of destructive relationships. She went through a man-hating phase and says her lack of a secure male father figure has made her wrestle with the idea of a paternal God.
She has spent her adult life searching for a way to connect with her donor dad and learn more of who she is in the process. She says of her donor dad, "I view him as kind of like a ghost and a fantastical figure, like how some people speak of children that they want. . . . A person who doesn't really exist but who is so very important to me." The United States leaves sperm donation largely unregulated, so sperm banks and fertility clinics decide what they will ask donors to reveal. Stewart only knows that her donor dad has blue eyes and blond hair. He lived in L.A. He was a doctor and a scuba instructor. He was 5-foot-9 and played the flute. He was Polish.
When she found he was Polish, she traveled to Poland to connect to that part of her heritage but was disappointed to find that it seemed so foreign: "Nothing echoed to me except for my physical appearance with the people." The little girls had eyes and hair like hers, and the same crook in their noses, she remembered: "Everything else was distant."
Wendy Kramer, co-founder of the Donor Sibling Registry, notes that "My Daddy's Name is Donor" is not peer-reviewed and said some of the findings are not consistent with what she knows from interacting with donor-conceived people each day. She founded the Donor Sibling Registry, a site that connects donor siblings, with her donor-conceived son Ryan when he became curious about his identity. It's true, she says, that donor-conceived offspring wonder where they came from and are curious about their unknown siblings. Ryan would say, "I look in the mirror and I can see where half of me comes from. . . . There's this invisible one-half of me."
But despite that invisible half, he still considers himself a complete person. Kramer was surprised by the revelation that donor-conceived children have higher rates of depression. She said parents should inform their donor-conceived children about their conception early: If a child learns about his donor conception later rather than earlier, it can create feelings of distrust and shame about his origins.
"My Daddy's Name is Donor" seems to confirm this: Forty-four percent of donor-conceived children said that donor conception is fine for children as long as parents tell children the truth early; 36 percent said that learning about donor conception can be hard, but telling the truth early makes it easier. Only 11 percent said that it's hard for children even when parents tell the truth. Kramer said the donor community should listen to those who struggle with their origins, even if they're a minority: "These are voices to be heard, but I don't think they're the only voices."
Stewart, like 61 percent of the donor-conceived children in Marquardt's study, doesn't oppose sperm donation; she just opposes unregulated donation that leaves children with no knowledge of half of their heritage. Donation should be an altruistic act instead of a lucrative one, she says, and parents and donors should develop relationships with each other.
Stewart used to tell people her dad was dead because if she told the truth they made jokes or turned awkward and silent. Now, to help them understand, she is writing a screenplay about her story. She fantasizes that her donor dad will see it, recognize himself in her, find her, and finally tell her his name.
[Issue: "On the rails" October 09, 2010, Derek Henthorn/4B/getty images, http://www.worldmag.com/articles/17154 ]
Scientists Admit IVF Has High Rate of Abnormalities
Scientists announcing their success at achieving a new genetic defect-screening technique have at the same time admitted that many of the two-thirds of IVF embryos that fail to survive do so because of genetic abnormalities.
Luca Gianaroli, chairman of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), and Cristina Magli, an embryologist from Bologna, Italy, announced their success in a study of a genetic testing procedure called "comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) by microarray," after two women gave birth to healthy children following screening of the embryos using the technique.
However, Gianaroli said in a statement that, “We have learnt from more than 30 years of IVF that many of the embryos we transfer (into the womb) have chromosome abnormalities,” and went on to explain that two out of every three embryos implanted into a woman’s womb during the IVF procedure fail to develop into a pregnancy, often because of genetic abnormalities.
“The whole world of IVF has been trying to find an effective way of screening for these abnormalities for more than a decade,” Gianaroli said. “Now we have a new technology … and our hopes are that this will finally provide a reliable means of assessing the chromosomal status of the embryos we transfer.”
The admission by the scientists of the high rate of genetic defects inherent in the IVF procedure aligns with the high rate of over-all health problems suffered by IVF children compared to naturally conceived children.
Congenital malformation rates as high as 11% have been reported by some studies of IVF children.
A recent French study found that over 4% of children born through assisted reproductive technology had some form of congenital deformity, compared to the rate of between 2% and 3% for children conceived naturally.
A large-scale study by the National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health in Helsinki, Finland, found an overall increase in poor health among IVF children, including recurring specific abnormalities such as heart diseases, cerebral palsy, and malformations of the uro-genital system.
A summary of the research published by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology is available here —
"First babies born in the world's first study to assess comprehensive genetic screening before IVF
Births in Italy and Germany from eggs tested by CGH"
"We have learnt from more than 30 years of IVF that many of the embryos we transfer have chromosome abnormalities," explains ESHRE's chairman Luca Gianaroli.
"Indeed, it's still the case that two out of every three embryos we transfer fail to implant as a pregnancy, many of them because of these abnormalities…"
French Study: Assisted Reproductive Technology Doubles Risk of Deformity
IVF Children Suffer More Over-All Health Problems Than Naturally-Conceived Children
IVF Technique May Pass on Genetic Defects to Children
[18 Oct 2010, Thaddeus M. Baklinski, BONN, Germany, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/oct/10101803.html ]
Commentary: IVF 'Could Double Risk of Cerebral Palsy'
IVF could double the risk of cerebral palsy, according to a study of more than 90,000 children.
Several studies have shown that rates of the neurological condition, which can result in speech problems, muscular stiffness and curvature of the spine, are higher in couples who have undergone in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
But this is the first to suggest that the process of IVF itself could increase the risk, rather than it being a consequence of the parents' impaired fertility.
Researchers at the University of Aarhus in Denmark found that babies born by IVF were more than twice as likely to have cerebral palsy as those conceived naturally.
The result held up even after adjusting for factors like the age of the mother, if she smoked, and whether the baby was premature or a twin.
Dr Jin Lieang Zhu, an epidemiologist, and his team concluded that IVF was probably the underlying cause by looking at how rates of cerebral palsy changed depending on how long it took the mother to conceive naturally. This is considered a good measure of underlying fertility.
They found no statistically significant difference in rates between those whose mothers took less than two months to conceive, and those who took more than a year.
However, there was a much bigger difference between those who took over a year to conceive and those who only got pregnant thanks to IVF.
Even though this difference was not statistically significant, probably due to the small number of cases of cerebral palsy, the researchers concluded that IVF "confers a risk of cerebral palsy".
Dr Zhu stressed that the overall risk of having a child with cerebral palsy was still low.
About one in 176 children born via IVF in the study had the condition, compared to the British average of about one in 400.
He also said modern IVF techniques, such as only transferring one embryo to the womb, could eliminate the heightened risk altogether.
The study is published today in the journal Human Reproduction.
[Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent, Published: 03 Nov 2010]
NaPro Technology Can Help Some Couples Who Balk at In Vitro Fertilization
When Karen Gaul turned 30, she finally had the house and the steady job she wanted before she pursued the next dream—a baby. For the next three years, Gaul visited a fertility clinic, sought out a reproductive endocrinologist, tried an ovulation drug, and injected hormones into her stomach twice a day for a week every month. When doctors said that in vitro fertilization (IVF) was the only option left, Gaul and her husband said they opposed the procedure and left.
One in seven couples seek medical intervention to help them conceive and thousands turn to invasive options like IVF, a treatment that costs on average $12,400 per four-week cycle. IVF doctors create embryos only to destroy the imperfect ones and freeze the leftovers. Gaul said the doctors became offended when she expressed objections: "They honestly believe that they're just working with things, like working with skin or working with bread."
Gaul was searching for an alternative when another [person] directed her to the Gianna Center for Women, a New York City–based clinic that uses a natural approach to diagnose the cause of infertility—something Gaul said her other doctors never did.
Dr. Anne Mielnik, founder of the Gianna Center, uses NaPro Technology. She shows a chart where women note their body's signs of fertility each day. They use red dots during their period, green dots on other days, and baby stickers on the days when they're fertile. After four months of charting, Mielnik searches the charts for abnormalities, makes a diagnosis, and decides on a treatment plan. A woman with a progesterone or estrogen deficiency might take hormones and another woman might simply take more Vitamin B6. After Gaul's investigation phase, she discovered that she suffered from endometriosis, a sometimes symptomless condition that can cause infertility, and she had surgery.
In 2008, the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine published a peer-reviewed study that found NaPro Technology produced 52.8 live births per 100 couples, a rate comparable to more invasive treatments like IVF. Treatment can take up to two years…
Gaul, who has been at Gianna since November, said her charts show that her health has improved. It gives her hope that she won't have to choose between following her convictions or having a child. In the rest of the fertility industry, she said, "Women don't feel like they have a choice." [http://www.worldmag.com/articles/17154]
IVF-Conceived Children Have Higher Risk of Cancer: Swedish Study
Children conceived with IVF appear to have an elevated risk of cancer according to a large population-based study conducted in Sweden [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2009-3225v1].
Fifty-three cases of cancer were found among the 26,692 IVF-conceived children studied – a number that is significantly higher than the 38 that would be expected given the rate of cancer in the Swedish population. This translates into a 42% increased risk of cancer.
IVF-conceived children were also 87% more likely than the general population to have received a diagnosis of cancer by the age of three.
Researchers speculated that the increased risk might be mediated through other factors associated with IVF treatments, such as higher rates of preterm births and neonatal asphyxia.
Of the 53 cases of cancer in children born after IVF, 18 had hematologic cancer, 17 had eye or central nervous system tumors, 12 had other solid cancers, and 6 had Langerhans cells histiocytosis.
The increased risk fell to 34% greater than the total population after excluding infants with Langerhans cells histiocytosis, which is not strictly a cancer but a cancer-like condition.
The over-all risk increase rose to 52%, however, after excluding children whose mothers were born outside of Sweden or whose fathers or mothers were non-Swedish.
Increased rates of over-all health problems have previously been found in IVF-conceived children.
They have also been found to be at greater risk for genetic brain disorders and birth defects.
[Cancer Risk in Children and Young Adults Conceived by In Vitro Fertilization, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2009-3225v1 , Published online July 19, 2010, PEDIATRICS (doi:10.1542/peds.2009-3225) ; 26 July 2010, James Tillman, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jul/10072703.html , 27 July 2010]
Cancer Risk in Children and Young Adults Conceiv
ed by In Vitro Fertilization
Objectives Studies conducted so far have found no statistically significant increased risk for cancer among children who are born after in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Methods — We followed 26692 children who were born after IVF during the years 1982–2005 by using the Swedish Cancer Register and compared the number of children who had cancer and were born after IVF with children who were not conceived by IVF. Adjustment was made for year of birth.
Results — Maternal age, parity, smoking, subfertility, previous miscarriages, BMI, and multiple births did not significantly affect cancer risk in offspring. High birth weight, premature delivery, and the presence of respiratory diagnoses and low Apgar score were risk factors for cancer. We identified 53 cases of cancer in children who were born after IVF against 38 expected cases: 18 of them with hematologic cancer (15 of them acute lymphoblastic leukemia), 17 with eye or central nervous system tumors, and 12 with other solid cancers. There were 6 cases of Langerhans histiocytosis against 1.0 expected. The total cancer risk estimate was 1.42 (95% confidence interval: 1.09–1.87). [http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2009-3225v1]
Conclusions — We found a moderately increased risk for cancer in children who were conceived by IVF. Putative intermediary factors could be preterm birth and neonatal asphyxia.
Members of Congress, Staff to See Documentary on Infertility Industry Exploitation
Members of Congress and their staff will be able to attend a documentary screening tomorrow of a film that blows the whistle on the deceptive practices of the infertility industry. Eggsploitation talks about how the industry exploits young women for their eggs and presents them with medical risks.
"Profiling the harrowing testimonies of three egg donors, Eggsploitation reveals the shocking truths, hidden dangers and severe health risks associated with egg donation," the Center for Bioethics and Culture told LifeNews.com today.
"The infertility industry today is a booming, multi-billion-dollar-per-year business; yet no regulation exists to protect vulnerable women from coercive marketing ploys and large monetary incentives to get their eggs," the group said of its film.
Wendy Kramer the director and co-founder of Donor Sibling Registry has endorsed the documentary.
"This powerful, important and informative documentary gives viewers true insight into the egg donation industry and helps us to better understand the desperate need for regulation and oversight. All prospective egg donors (and recipients) as well as all practitioners and agency employees in the egg donation industry should be required to watch this film," she said.
Judy Norsigian, the director of Our Bodies Ourselves, has joined her.
"It is a scandal that the infertility industry has gone so many years without collecting adequate safety data on the risks of multiple egg extraction . . . policy makers need to insist that we finally conduct the research that should have been done years ago," she said.
Film Writer and Executive Producer, Jennifer Lahl, will be present for discussion of the film after the viewing.
The documentary will premier at the Capitol Hill Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in Room HVC 201. The exclusive film screening is sponsored by pro-life Sen. Tom Coburn, a doctor from Oklahoma.
Related web sites:
Eggsploitation – Eggsploitation.com
CBC Network – http://www.cbc-network.org
[September 8, 2010, Ertelt, Washington, DC, LifeNews.com, http://www.lifenews.com/bio3168.html ]
'Eggsploitation' Documentary Reveals Secrets of Infertility Industry
A new documentary, "Eggsploitation," just released by The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network (CBCN) reveals shocking information about the infertility industry.
The documentary exposes what the makers of the film label the "deceptive advertising, large monetary incentives and appeals to altruism" that are used by the infertility industry to entice college women to engage in human egg donation, a practice that the CBCN claims exploits them and puts them at "considerable" health risk.
While the documentary is available now, its official debut will be August 9, 2010, at The Little Theatre in Rochester, N.Y.
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America's (CWA) Beverly LaHaye Institute, applauded CBCN for exposing the infertility industry's blatant exploitation of women. "Today's college coeds are told that the procedure is safe, when the reality is decidedly unsafe. No young woman should be used in procedures that jeopardize her own fertility – indeed her own life – in order to line the pockets of those who promote the infertility industry's human egg trade," she said.
The Eggsploitation documentary spotlights three women who went through the egg donation process – including high doses of fertility drugs and egg retrieval surgery. The young women's stories, according to CBCN, are a "wake-up call" for those who are unaware of the complications that can result from the "highly unregulated, multi-billion-dollar" infertility industry.
All three of the women in the documentary nearly died from the "complications associated with their egg donation." One suffered a stroke that left her brain damaged; another developed breast cancer, and the other developed a health problem associated with ovarian hyper-stimulation.
Crouse said, "The human egg donation industry is shameless in claiming safety for the procedure as they solicit young college women through appeals to their vanity, claiming that the girls' attractiveness, IQ, or genetic traits warrant a high payment for participation in what they call a 'humanitarian' act. CWA appeals to the public to protect the nation's young women from such exploitation."
[WASHINGTON, July 28, 2010, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jul/10072806.html ; For further information, visit www.eggsploitation.com]
The Incredible, Profitable Egg
To the infertility industry, eggs spell enormous profit. The natural monthly rhythm of a woman's cycle is far too inefficient to satisfy the industry's voracious appetite.
Consequently, egg donors are in hot demand. Infertility programs and their egg brokers place ads targeting young, healthy, college-aged women, characteristically altruistic, and short of cash, promising up to $50,000 in exchange for a carton of fresh eggs. A few weeks is all it takes.
The risks are played down and the benefits seem obvious.
[http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=106983 , EWTN; ALL Pro-Life Today, 11 Oct 2010]
New Study Confirms Overwhelming Death Rate of IVF Human Embryos
A report by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) on a study of IVF "efficiency" states that just 7
.5 percent of all artificially fertilized embryos will go on to become live-born children.
“It should surprise no one that the vast majority of sperm and eggs never get together to even begin the fertilization process,” said Dr. Robert W. Rebar, Executive Director of the ASRM, in a press release.
“But, it is very important to understand that even once joined together for fertilization, an overwhelming majority of fertilized eggs do not become viable embryos, and only a small percentage of embryos thought to be viable produce a child. While this data come the IVF lab, natural conception is also very inefficient.”
The study was conducted at the Shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland in order to "quantify the fate of the eggs retrieved in the IVF process," and will be presented at the annual ASRM conference in Denver this week.
Researchers reviewed all the in vitro fertilization cycles conducted at Shady Grove between 2004 and 2008.
In 14,324 IVF cycles, clinicians retrieved 192,991 eggs. Initially, 110,939 of the eggs were successfully fertilized. However, only 44,282 continued to develop into "viable embryos."
Usual IVF practice is to implant just one or two living embryos into the womb per IVF cycle, with the others being frozen.
"Using the most optimistic set of assumptions that all the frozen embryos will eventually be used," the ASRM report says, "this will result in 8,366 babies. Thus, only 7.5% of all the fertilized eggs will go on to become live-born children."
In reality the frozen human embryos are more likely to be used in research or abandoned, rather than be allowed to continue growing in their mother's womb.
When British physiologist Dr. Robert Edwards, a pioneer of in vitro fertilization whose work led to the birth of Louise Brown, the “first” IVF baby in 1978, was awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology/medicine earlier this month, Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, the recently appointed head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, pointed out that the award ignores the moral and ethical questions raised by artificial methods of reproduction, and disregards the destruction of countless human beings.
Without Edwards’ work, de Paula said, there would be no market for selling ova, or “freezers full of embryos waiting to be transferred to a uterus, or more likely, to be used for investigation or to die forgotten and abandoned by everyone.”
“In the best of cases they are transferred into a uterus but most probably they will end up abandoned or dead, which is a problem for which the new Nobel prize winner is responsible.”
An aspect of IVF not mentioned in the ASRM report is the necessity of "selective reduction," or the abortion of one or more of the children growing in the womb in cases where two or more embryos are implanted.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of twins has jumped 65 percent in the past two decades.
A record 138,961 twin births – 32.2 per 1,000 live births – were recorded in 2007, according to the CDC's statistics.
In addition, there were 5,968 triplet births, 369 quadruplets and 91 quintuplets or higher.
However, most multiple pregnancies resulting from IVF are "selectively reduced" by abortion.
David Picella, a Family Nurse Practitioner with specialty training as a medical consultant and teacher of the Creighton Model Fertility Care system, wrote in an article titled "10 Reasons to Choose NaProTechnology Over InVitro Fertilization" that "One of the most objectionable things about IVF is that it can result in a situation where a woman is forced to deal with a dangerously high multiple pregnancy rate.
"Pregnancy risk increases dramatically with the number of babies in the womb. Frequently, women are compelled to selectively ‘reduce’ (i.e., kill) additional babies in the womb due to unacceptably high pregnancy risk."
The complete article by David Picella is available through the Human Life International website — http://hliamerica.org/news-commentary/10-reasons-to-choose-naprotechnology-over-invitro-fertilization/
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
1209 Montgomery Highway
Birmingham, Alabama 35216-2809
Telephone: (205) 978-5000
Fax: (205) 978-5005
Email: [email protected]
Landmark Study Demonstrates Natural IVF Alternative Effective in Helping Infertile Couples Conceive
Study Finds Common Infertility Treatments Are Unlikely To Improve Fertility
[T. M. Baklinski, DENVER, Colorado, October 26, 2010, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/oct/10102604.html ]
10 Reasons to Choose NaProTechnology Over In Vitro Fertilization