40 years later, why is IVF still not covered by insurance? Economics, ignorance and sexism

Before I (Elissa Strauss) began the process of in-vitro fertilization, I, quite foolishly, thought of it as outsourcing. We can't make a baby ourselves, so now these wonderful doctors are going to try to make one for us. But believing that IVF is like outsourcing is like believing that one of those allegedly simple, do-it-yourself home renovation projects will really only take a couple of hours. Materials have be meticulously sourced, created and combined, and the smallest misstep can send you back to the very beginning of the process. There are regular early morning visits to the doctor's office, where blood is drawn and vaginal ultrasounds are administered -- often by perfect strangers. Th

First IVF babys 40th birthday: How a tiny girl changed science and the world

In July 1978, "You're the one that I want" from Grease was top of the pops in Australia, women were marching for equal rights in the US, and Louise Joy Brown was born in the United Kingdom. Weighing in at around 2.5 kilograms, the world's first "test tube baby" was delivered by caesarean section under torchlight — to avoid tipping off the media — in Oldham General Hospital, shortly before midnight on July 25. The Daily Mail reportedly paid around 325,000 British pounds for her first pictures — but even before The Lovely Louise was introduced to the world, she was famous. Professor Robert Edwards (L) holds Louise while her mother and Professor Patrick Steptoe look on. (Getty Images: Keystone)

Antioxidant supplements fail to improve sperm quality in infertile men

Despite many study results suggesting that antioxidants have a positive effect on abnormal sperm parameters associated with male infertility, a large US clinical trial of 174 couples has found that an antioxidant formulation taken daily by the male partner for a minimum of three months made no difference to sperm concentration, motility or morphology, nor to the rate of DNA fragmentation. Results of the study, which was performed in eight American fertility centers with the support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), were presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of ESHRE by Professor Anne Steiner from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All men in the study had been diagnose

Secondhand smoke causing thousands of still births in developing countries

Exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth, congenital malformations, low birth-weight and respiratory illnesses. However, little is known about the extent of secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy. The team from York looked at the number of pregnancies alongside smoking exposure data in 30 developing countries from 2008 to 2013. The analysis revealed that in Armenia, Indonesia, Jordan, Bangladesh and Nepal more than 50% of pregnant women reported exposure to household secondhand smoke. The authors believe this led to over 10,000 stillbirths in Indonesia alone. In Pakistan only 1% of stillbirths are attributed to women actively smoking during pregnancy

Doctors rely on more than just data for medical decision-making

Many technology companies are working on artificial intelligence systems that can analyze medical data to help diagnose or treat health problems. Such systems raise the question of whether this kind of technology can perform as well as a human doctor. A new study from MIT computer scientists suggests that human doctors provide a dimension that, as yet, artificial intelligence does not. By analyzing doctors' written notes on intensive-care-unit patients, the researchers found that the doctors' "gut feelings" about a particular patient's condition played a significant role in determining how many tests they ordered for the patient. "There's something about a doctor's experience, and their year

Babys sex may influence risk of pregnancy-related complications

The sex of a baby controls the level of small molecules known as metabolites in the pregnant mother's blood, which may explain why risks of some diseases in pregnancy vary depending whether the mother is carrying a boy or a girl, according to new research from the University of Cambridge. The findings, published today in JCI Insight, help to explain, for example, why male babies in the womb may be more vulnerable to the effects of poor growth, and why being pregnant with a girl may lead to an increased risk of severe pre-eclampsia for the mother. A team led by researchers at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, performed detailed scientific

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Dr. Jain is solely responsible for the information published on this website, which in no way represents the views and strategies of his employer. 

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