Tag Archives | Fertility

Health Dangers of Plastics: BPA, Phthalate Exposure May Cause Fertility Problems

PlasticBottlesAnyone who saw the documentary Tapped knows that ingesting BPAs and phtalates is hazardous to your health. CNN reports on yet another study highlighting the risks, this one suggesting fertility problems:

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant or have suffered a miscarriage, some common household products may be partly to blame, new research suggests.

This week, scientists at the annual conference of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine in Boston are presenting research linking chemical compounds in our environment to fertility issues. In several different studies, researchers met with healthy couples who were trying to have a baby and tested them for BPA and phthalates.

BPA stands for Bisphenol A, a chemical used to make certain plastics and resins that are used in containers. BPA is also used in the coating of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

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Surrogate Mother Needed For World’s First Cloned Neanderthal Baby

Would you be willing to give birth to a cloned Neanderthal (soon to be a possibility)? And could you love him/her? Gawker writes:

Are you an adventurous human woman? Adventurous enough to be a surrogate mother for the first Neanderthal baby to be born in 30,000 years? Harvard geneticist George Church recently [said] he’s close to developing the necessary technology to clone a Neanderthal, at which point all he’d need is an “adventurous human woman” to act as a surrogate mother.

What would that entail? Neanderthal birth was simpler than human birth, because Neanderthal infants didn’t have to rotate to get to the birth canal, but otherwise the processes were very similar. Once the baby’s out, you’re in good shape — Neanderthal babies are thought to have grown much more quickly than their human counterparts.

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Fertility Method For Creating Three-Parent Baby May Become Legal

The old conservative canard that “it takes one man and one woman can make a baby” grows ever more out-of-date. The Telegraph reports:

Members of the public are being asked whether families with a genetic risk of incurable conditions like muscular dystrophy should be allowed to use the DNA of a third party to create healthy children. Although the resulting babies would inherit a small fraction of their DNA from the donor and not their mother or father, the procedure would spare all future generations from a host of rare and debilitating conditions.

The technique is currently forbidden as a treatment, but a public consultation launched today will help inform a decision by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, on whether the clinical benefits outweigh any ethical concerns. Should Mr. Hunt decide to give the treatment the green light the technique could be written into law as early as next year, making Britain the first country in the world to allow human trials.

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Indonesia’s Plant-Based Birth Control Pill for Men

GandarusaWhile the U.S. progress lags, Indonesia readies a male contraception pill. Patrick Winn writes on Global Post:

On the remote Indonesian island of Papua, tribesmen have long noticed the curious effect of a shrub called “gandarusa.”

If you chew its leaves often enough, men say, your wife won’t get pregnant. Indonesian scientists, who have transferred this folk method from the jungle to the lab, claim they can extract the shrub’s active ingredient and mass produce it as an over-the-counter pill.

If they’re right, they will accomplish what Western pharmaceutical giants have researched but failed to deliver for decades: a birth control pill for men.

“With luck, it could be released late this year, but it will probably be sold in stores early next year,” said Sugiri Syarief, the head of Indonesia’s state-run National Family Planning Coordination Board. Researchers began analyzing gandarusa in 1988, Sugiri said. Animal and human trials began in the 1990s and the plant’s effective compound was patented in 2007.

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Household Chemicals Lead To Decreased Fertility

Chemical structure of PBDEs

Chemical structure of PBDEs

In a study published today, a decreased likelihood of pregnancy is linked to flame-retardant chemicals in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics and more. Californians may have higher exposures compared with residents of other states. Shari Roan reports for the Los Angeles Times:

Flame-retardant chemicals found in many household consumer products may reduce fertility in women, researchers reported today. Their study joins several other papers published in the last two years suggesting that the chemicals, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, affect human health.

PBDEs have been used as flame retardants for four decades and are found in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics, carpets and plastics. The chemicals are being phased out nationwide, and certain PBDEs have been banned for use in California. But they are still found in products made before 2004. Californians may have higher exposures compared with residents of other states because of the state’s strict flammability laws, according to the study authors, from UC Berkeley.

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