More test-tube babies were born in the United States in 2012 than ever
before, and they constituted a higher percentage of total births than at any time since the technology was introduced in the 1980s, according to a report released on Monday, reports Reuters.
“The annual report was from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), an organization of medical professionals.
“SART’s 379 member clinics, which represent more than 90 percent of the infertility clinics in the country, reported that in 2012 they performed 165,172 procedures involving in vitro fertilization (IVF), in which an egg from the mother-to-be or a donor is fertilized in a lab dish. They resulted in the birth of 61,740 babies.
“That was about 2,000 more IVF babies than in 2011. With about 3.9 million babies born in the United States in 2012, the IVF newborns accounted for just over 1.5 percent of the total, more than ever before.
“The growing percentage reflects, in part, the increasing average age at which women give birth for the first time, since fertility problems become more common as people age. The average age of first-time mothers is now about 26 years; it was 21.4 years in 1970.
“Although the rising number of test-tube babies suggests that the technology has become mainstream, critics of IVF point out that the numbers, particularly the success rates, mask wide disparities. Continue reading “High-tech baby boom”
Thirty five years ago this week the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act was born. The PDA was passed in 1978 as an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
It outlawed workplace discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions and applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including both state and local governments, reports a story in Ms online.
“Essentially, the PDA was meant to promote equal opportunity and prevent discrimination in the workplace by mandating that pregnant women be treated the same as other employees in regards to hiring, firing, training, promotions, disability leave and all other aspects of employment. However, pregnancy discrimination claims have risen 35 percent over the last decade, and the PDA’s power to protect women has proven woefully limited.
“The specific wording of the PDA is such that being fired for pregnancy is a clear violation, but it becomes vague about other protections. For example, the act says that employers must provide accommodations for pregnant women the same way that they would for those with temporary disabilities. But if they don’t accommodate employees with temporary disabilities, they may not be required to offer reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. Also, many workplaces only accommodate injuries that happen on the job, and pregnancy hardly ever qualifies.
“Although the PDA meant well, it has sadly fallen short of providing pregnant women the protections they need. Because of this, many states have passed their own pregnant worker protection laws, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Alaska, Texas, Maryland and Illinois. Even city governments are stepping up, the New York City Council having recently passed a bill to provide pregnant workers with specific accommodations such as water breaks and exemptions from heavy lifting. Philadelphia City Council members have introduced a bill mirroring it. Unfortunately federal attempts have been less successful: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was introduced in Congress last May but has been stalled in a House subcommittee since July. Continue reading “Pregnancy discrimination continues”
The rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States is at a historic low, and has dropped by more than half in the last two decades, declining across nearly all racial and ethnic groups, according to a government report released on Friday, reports Reuters
“The rate for girls ages 15-19 dropped to 29.4 births per 1,000 last year from 31.3 per 1,000 in 2011. This was less than half the 61.8 births per 1,000 teenage girls recorded in 1991.
“That is an astonishing success in terms of this particular topic of debate,” said Brady Hamilton, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics who led the data collection. The Center is part of the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The numbers have steadily declined over the last two decades, except for a brief spike in 2006 and 2007, Hamilton said. Among racial and ethnic groups, the largest decline since 2007 was reported for Hispanic teenagers, for whom the rate dropped 39 percent to 46.3 births per 1,000 to 2012 from 2007. Last year, the rate of births for white, Black, Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander teenagers declined from 5 to 7 percent compared to 2011. Bill Albert, a spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said it was impossible to predict if the drop in teenage mothers will continue, so it is important for parents and policymakers not to mistake progress for absolute victory.
“Obviously they are making better decisions, having less sex and using more contraception,” he said. The Obama administration has invested in efforts aimed at lowering the rate of teenage pregnancies. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave $155 million in teenage pregnancy prevention grants to states, school districts and non-profit organizations.”
More at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/07/us-usa-health-teenbirths-idUSBRE98602K20130907?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews
Games-for-Change continues to advance the use of interactive technologies toward pro-social goals, with a post today on a new game called 9 Minutes produced by Half the Sky.
9 Minutes was designed for mobile devices for users in India and East Africa, with content addressing pregnancy. “9 Minutes plays out the adventure of pregnancy and rewards pregnant women and their spouses for keeping both mother-to-be and the baby inside her healthy and happy.” Continue reading “A pregnancy health game in India and Africa”