Recently in 11: Reproductive Tech (Nov 17) Category

Media limits Zestra ads...double standard?

"Arousal oil for women hits static on airwaves"

Networks and websites put limits on ads for Zestra, even though they run Viagra and other male-product commercials.

By CAROLYNE ZINKO, San Francisco Chronicle


The Pregnant Man is a Hoax.

Hey guys, I'm posting this in response to the video that the Reproductive Technologies Group showed us about the pregnant man, Mr. Lee Mingwei. I was interested in his story and decided to check out more information about him. When I went to the website of RYT Dwayne Medical Center and started reading the stories on the website, I started getting really suspicious about the credibility of this institution. I further searched about Mr. Lee Mingwei and found that the entire story of his pregancy was made up. This article explains the entire story.

Also, when you search the RYT Dwayne Medical Center on Google, a note under the link reads: [Contains fictitious material.] The actual Center does not exist and does not perform the procedures that they say they do.

Just thought that I would let everyone know!

Plastic Surgery: Media or Mentality?

This week, we pretty much did an overview of all of our presentations. We got around to talking about the cosmetics business and the fashion business, and I immediately began to think about the music industries around the world. I'm an avid listener of both American music as well as Korean music. The two countries may be divided by a large ocean, but the ideals are the same. Pop stars from both countries face major scrutiny if they receive any sort of cosmetic change up, whether it be plastic surgery or the copious amounts of makeup that both male and female stars wear. Here's a few stories to show the comparisons:

Plastic surgery controversy:
Korean media
American media

Stars using copious amounts of makeup:
Korean media
American media

It's amazing to see how much it can be controversial when such procedures and products are supposed to be supportive of increasing the idea of beauty and appeal for both sexes. I really think it's interesting that the media would zero in on ideas such as make up usage and how unisex it's become, becoming a fashion statement in both areas. I want to ask everyone what they believe these products really do for people though. The Korean media article about makeup really talk about how heavy eyeliner is becoming a major trend in male idol stars, depicting a fierce, manly image, whereas the American media really focus on how make up on males is definitely a negative aspect. Do you think it's important for stars in Hollywood to maintain a specific image?

The real heart of these controversies is the question of beauty and image. Across cultures, it's a similar cry. So what really makes up an image? Is it the advertisements? Is it comparing oneself to those idol stars who make money every time they endorse a certain product? Or is it the idea of finding someone who will care, even if it means using some potentially deadly products?

Nadya Suleman (a.k.a. Octomom)


This week, during the discussion of reproductive technologies, the issue was brought up as to how these technologies should be regulated in regards to pregnancy inducing procedures such as In Vitro Fertilization. Since we didn't stay on the subject to long I wanted to take another look at the subject. Now personally, I think anyone should be allowed to reproduce at least once, and according to these technologies help thousands of couples a year. But what about individuals who want to have children, should they be allowed to use these technologies even though they don't have the traditional family structure. My answer to this would be, if they can afford it, and if so then sparingly. Personally I think it is unnecessary to use this technology to have eight children in one like Nadya Suleman (a.k.a Octomom), who has 14 children total. I believe this is unethical, dangerous, and far too much work for a single parent to handle both emotionally and financially. However, this is an extreme case and I do believe there is value in these technologies. So now, my questions to the readers are when do you believe this technology is acceptable to be use, for what outcome, what regulations should, or even could, be placed on these technologies, and when should these technologies not be used?



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The first recent news event that I think about when I hear of infertility treatments and other recent reproductive technologies is Octomom. I'm sure almost everyone has heard of this woman. Her name is Nadia Suleman and her story became known around the world when she gave birth to octuplets back in 2009 after using in-vitro fertilization treatments. She used this same procedure to get pregnant with the 6 children she had before the octuplets. There has been a lot of discussion about her situation and most of it is negative. She obviously cannot care for all of her children on her own and requires public assistance because she is unemployed. Her family is trying everything they can to make money for her because recently her house has faced foreclosure. There are some very ethical issues that arise in looking at her case and most of the blame for her problems is put on her fertility doctor. Investigators found out that the doctor had actually implanted 12 fertilized embryos into Nadia before she became pregnant with the octuplets, which is an extremely high number compared to the three or four embryos that are normally implanted. His actions resulted in a very risky and unhealthy pregnancy for Nadia. Recently I found this article, talking about the testimony in the very much talked about trial involving the fertility doctor. The state licensing agency has accused Dr. Michael Kamrava of negligence in the case of Nadia and two other women and is seeking to revoke his license. Besides the fact that he had implanted too many embryos compared to the standard for in-vitro fertilization, they also believe he should have referred Nadia to a psychiatrist for an evaluation before continuing with any of the fertility treatments. Some doctors are supporting him and saying that his actions were what was needed since she was an infertile single mom with a desire for a large family. Well a large family is certainly what she received and now she is unemployed and living on welfare with the risk of her house being foreclosed. So my questions for you are: What are your thoughts on Octomom? Do you think it's entirely the doctor's fault that Nadia is in the situation she is now? How big of a role does in-vitro fertilization play in this whole case? If reproductive technologies did not exist, would similar situations be prevented? What other ethical issues are prevalent in the whole Octomom story?

Check This Out.

Even though it's my week to comment, I couldn't resist posting this link for all to see.


To put it lightly, the entire presentation was ridiculous--not because she possesses a religious background or cites it as a reason for her pro-life stance on abortion--but for the inane connections she made to abortion.

For example, she shared with us the time her daughter came into her house wearing a pink ribbon in support of breast cancer. She told her daughter to remove the pin or leave because, evidently, the Susan G. Komen Foundation supports Planned Parenthood.

When posed with the question, "what are your feelings on animal abortion?", to her credit, she gave a heartfelt reply, but ended her sentiment with, "well...I suppose we have to find *some* way to control the cat and dog population." How very speciesist of her.

Thoughts? Does anyone find any reason in her arguments I may have overlooked?

Couple wants you to decide: should they abort?

I've been running into this story all over the Internet for the past few days. A Minneapolis couple is asking for people to vote on whether or not they get an abortion. You can visit their site here.

The couple claim that they want to leave it up to the public to make this important decision so that people can have a real opportunity to make a difference through voting. It's hard to feel like casting a vote makes much of a difference, they imply, so they're offering up the fate of their pregnancy as a concrete example of what a simple vote can do. They post ultrasound pictures and the woman writes updates on how she's feeling, how doctor visits went, etc. The couple encourages voters to think of their pregnancy as their own, weigh the positives and negatives, and make a decision. Voting closes two days before the last date that abortion would be a legal option.

This would be a problematic and controversial issue even if everything they claim was true, but the whole thing is increasingly being seen as an anti-choice stunt. The Arnolds have self-identified as pro-choice, but it's difficult to understand this as anything but an anti-choice tactic. Would anyone really put such an important, personal decision in the hands of strangers just to prove a point about democracy? It seems unlikely. Furthermore, Slate reports that the pair are Glenn Beck fans, who is staunchly anti-choice. Pete Arnold is also said to be a conservative blogger, which further puts their story into doubt.

While this story about one couple's dubious decision to let the public make a choice for them isn't exactly a Big Deal, it is an interesting thing to follow and it's indicative of the passionate debate over abortion in this country. Arguably no other reproductive technology divides people more strongly and definitely. I'd be interested to see what everyone thinks of this; I'm kind of at the eye-rolling stage at this point. I'll leave you with a quote from the Slate article (linked above) that suggests anti-choice antics:

"Putting what you do with your body up to a vote is the anti-choice view. Treating women's bodies like they're public property is the anti-choice view. True, most anti-choicers think a woman's rights should be voted on in order to force childbirth, and they're making this more open-ended, but the underlying sentiment--that women's bodies are public property, that their choices should be determined by strangers--is what the pro-choice movement rejects."

Reproductive technologies and multiple births

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After the reproductive technologies presentation I did a little research. I found an article that discusses assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and their risks. Assisted reproductive technologies are fertility treatments were both eggs and sperm are handled in the laboratory. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology. In the article she discusses how women who undergo IVF are much more likely to deliver multiple-birth infants than women who conceive without it. The problem with these multiple births is that it raises health risks for both the woman and her infant. For women, the health risks can be a higher probability for the need of a cesarean section, maternal hypertension, preeclampsia, hemorrhage, and death. For the infant, the health risks include a higher chance that they will require neonatal intensive care, and experience higher rates of low birth weight, preterm birth, and cognitive and physical impairments. Should these reproductive technologies be used if there are these health risks present? There is another reproductive technology that can be used single embryo transfer (SET) which has far less health risks because only one embryo is being transferred so it is far less likely for the woman to have multiple births. Surprisingly SET isn't used that much due to current federal policies like The Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act of 1992 which creates incentives for physicians to use multiple embryos to obtain better success rates. Do you think that the emphasis should be on better health for the infant and mother or on higher success rates?

Mission to Abort.


On Wednesday in class someone mentioned a law that requires/encourage women to have an ultrasound before they can ultimately make a decision to have an abortion. This New York Times Article describes a new law implemented in Oklahoma that mandates that women who are seeking an abortion to be given an ultrasound image in addition to a very detailed description of the fetus/embryo. I think that this is a very ridiculous use of reproductive technology because its primary purpose in this instance is to manipulate women/ guilt them by humanizing the fetus and influence them into making a decision that those who implemented the law believe is ethical. By doing so I think they are attempting to strip away a woman's right to make the choice that is best for them. Ironically enough as the article says that most women who see the image produced by their ultrasound say that the picture only reinforced their decision. Also, it shows the dichotomy between technology and humanity. Technology typically removes the human factor in a lot of applications to make them more economical/ efficient. But in this instance they utilize technology to attempt to humanize a fetus or an embryo when they don't really have any identifiable human features.

This video from the onion is a great hyperbole for these new laws and their intended effects by exaggerating the sort of manipulation that is used by mandating sonograms. For instance in the video they discuss the "provision that requires nurses to follow women around with a giant boom box that plays the sound of children's innocent laughter over and over again". This is a very blunt but similar idea to the ultrasound laws because it shows how certain ethical viewpoints are forced onto certain people to coerce them to accept ideas that are contradictory to their own on that ethical issue. Should sonograms be mandated before a woman can undergo an abortion? Where do we draw the line for accessible reproductive technology such as abortions, should we have to name the baby, paint a nursery for it and listen to the sound of children's innocent laughter before we can really make a decision?

African Market for Female Condoms?

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The article

Female condoms haven't really caught on in the US--- or in any country for that matter. Often, the male condom has served as a less embarrassing and more natural feeling alternative. However, male condoms generally put contraceptive power and choice into the hands of those who wear them, men. This has proven to be a problem in Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is ever-present. Many women have to choose between keeping their partners happy and keeping themselves protected. The traditional female condom design was uncomfortable and awkward, leaving this contraceptive method rarely utilized. However, researchers have developed a new design that feels natural, and in many cases, men can hardly detect its presence. In Africa, this is an especially important technology, allowing women to protect themselves from the threat of AIDs without needing permission from their partner.

Beyond Africa, female condoms could play an important role in changing women's reproductive freedom. Men often are "in charge of" supplying condoms and women in taking the pill. This often allows women control over the choice to procreate, while the risk for sexually transmitted diseases still looms. A more desirable female condom may allow women take a more active role in preventing STD transmission.

Here are some questions I have:
1. Is there a market for female condoms in Western countries?
2. Even if there isn't a market, do female condoms signify an important step toward female autonomy in reproduction?
3. If female condoms do become more popular, will they affect the desirability of male condoms at all?

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