News & Commentary
Shannon Roberts | Mar 28 2017
With infertility more common than ever and birth rates around the world at a record low, a crucial first step for couples trying to get pregnant is to clearly understand exactly when they are fertile. Yet that is something just 13 per cent of women surveyed were able to identify according to a new study just published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology which surveyed over 1000 New Zealand women. That was despite a third of the women reporting that they monitored their ovulation.
The authors concluded that fertility knowledge needs to be better addressed among women intending to conceive. Professor Wayne Gillett, a researcher at the university’s Dunedin School of Medicine and medical director at Fertility Associates Dunedin commented:
“When a couple are trying to have a baby, problems like age, endometriosis and male problems are always touted – but no one ever considers knowledge, and that’s one of the things we often see,”
Gillett said there was one enduring myth that the best time in the menstrual cycle to conceive was during, or even after, ovulation, when the reality is that the fertile window is pre-ovulation. He expressed concern that even health professionals are not well-educated about a woman’s fertile window.
An article discussing infertility published in the New Zealand media this month comically writes “at high school we’re taught that if you so much as look at a girl strangely, she’ll get pregnant.” Sadly many indeed carry this idea into adulthood after years of only being told how not to get pregnant. However, given that interest in natural family planning continues to grow, it is hopeful that fertility knowledge will be better circulated, including the knowledge that fertility begins to reduce in a woman’s late twenties and more drastically after the age of 35.
One in six couples in Australia use IVF, and one in every 25 Australian children are now born as a result of IVF. In Denmark one in 15 children are IVF babies. Yet it is questionable whether people are first given good advice about the other more simple and inexpensive options available to them – including accurate knowledge about their exact fertile window which is normally only 6 days long if not shorter. To some, IVF services are a business and there is little incentive to first offer easier, cheaper options to couples.
John Aitken, Newcastle University laureate professor, Director of the University of Newcastle’s large 50-staff Priority Research Centre for Reproductive Science, and the 2012 NSW Scientist of the Year, recently commented:
“We should guard against recklessly marching into a future where we use too much assisted conception in order to compensate for our loss of fertility … It’s an inexorable upward trend. We are taking recourse to IVF in increasing numbers and the thing we have to remember as a society is that the more you use assisted conception in one generation, the more you’re going to need it in the next.”
March 23, 2017 (LiveActionNews) — In a village in the Philippines in 2014, a little girl was born without limbs. At six months old she was placed in an orphanage for children with special needs, where she waited for a family to adopt her.
In October of 2014, when she was nine months old, the Stewart family saw a picture of the little girl and decided to adopt her. It would take months of paperwork and a trip to the Philippines, but a year later, Adrianne and Jason Stewart were bringing little Maria home to join their family of five, including two biological daughters and an adopted son.
“When we found our daughter we did not think we were qualified or prepared enough to parent a child like her, a child born without arms and legs, but we knew that we could love her and that loving her was what mattered most,” Adrianne Stewart wrote in a post for Love What Matters.
At about two years old at the time of her adoption, CNN reports Maria was unable to hold up her head and her parents knew they had a lot of work ahead of them. She now receives speech and occupational therapy and attends preschool in an inclusive classroom.
“She has given us far more than we will ever give her,” Maria’s mother wrote on Facebook. “She is so full of joy and light, and is an inspiration to all who meet her. We put limits on her abilities and then we see her doing exactly what we thought she was not capable of.”
Since sharing their story in hopes of inspiring other families to adopt, the Stewarts have received a lot of positive notes. However, they have also heard from mothers who have chosen abortion when their preborn children were diagnosed with conditions similar to Maria’s. These women express to the Stewarts their abortion regret. Adrianne Stewart hopes that Maria will help other expectant mothers choose life when faced with similar prenatal diagnoses.
Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.
Let’s say you are 33 years old and got married a year ago. In the past ten years, you have been using a variety of hormonal birth control methods. Now you and your husband are looking forward to starting a family. You get off the pill, hopeful and a bit anxious as you know time is working against you. You try for eight months and nothing happens.
You start getting concerned, and you talk your doctor into putting you on Clomid, a drug to stimulate ovulation. This drug actually lowers your chances of conceiving, unbeknownst to you. A few months later, you get your first appointment at a fertility clinic where you discuss Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), bracing yourself for several months of treatment and thousands of dollars in medical bills.
But could all that anxiety, doctor visits and interventions be completely unnecessary?
The pill may not cause long-term infertility after discontinuation, but it can delay fertility by up to a year. The delay is caused by the pill’s impact on the production of cervical fluid, an essential component of conception. The delay can be critical as women tend to start their family much later in life now than in earlier decades, and may lead them to engaging into unnecessary fertility treatment.
It takes three to get pregnant
We were all taught in high school biology or sex-ed that it took and a sperm and an egg (an ovule) to make pregnancy happen. What is often left out of this equation is the cervical fluid, aka cervical mucus.
In order for the sperm to survive more than a few hours in the vagina, and then have the energy reserves to travel through the uterus all the way to the fallopian tubes and maybe wait for the egg to arrive, it needs good quality fertile cervical fluid.
Cervical fluid is secreted by the cervix; it changes in aspect and properties as ovulation approaches. At the time of ovulation, it becomes stretchy, almost like raw egg whites, and allows the sperm to go through the cervix into the uterus. Before and after ovulation, the fluid is thick and blocks access to the uterus, a wonderful mechanism to protect the womb from infection. It also naturally prevents fertilization during a major part of the cycle.
Without sufficient, good quality mucus, no baby.
The way hormonal contraceptives work to stop pregnancy
Hormonal contraceptives, as generally documented in scientific literature, don’t work merely by suppressing ovulation. Another mechanism is the effect on the production of mucus, thickening it consistently throughout the cycle, providing a barrier in case ovulation still takes place (which does happen).
How does it work? The cervix normally follows the marching orders of hormones. With the use of contraceptives, the synthetic hormones take over the natural ones and run the cervix in a non-natural way to produce consistently this type of non-fertile mucus.
So far so good. What’s wrong with a secondary barrier to make sure pregnancy doesn’t happen when that’s the reason why the woman is on the pill in the first place?
Here is how things get more complicated.
The impact of the pill on the production of cervical fluid
Professor Erik Odeblad is one of the first scientists to use MRI technology for a medical purpose. A Swedish physician, professor and researcher born in 1922, he spent most of his life studying and explaining the secretion of cervical fluid: the various types of fluids at different stages in a woman’s cycle and in her life, and their role and composition.
One of his discoveries was to show that there are different types of mucus[i], which he called G, L, S. Each has different roles and is secreted from different cervical crypts (the pockets lining the cervix) at different times. For instance, right after puberty, a young woman has an abundance of S crypts, and as she ages, the number decreases and are replaced by L crypts. S mucus is the type of mucus that is essential to fertilization: it allows passage and then transports and nourishes sperm.
What Dr. Odeblad found was that “for each year the Pill is taken, the cervix ages by an extra year.” He explains that: “If a woman takes the Pill for 10-15 years and then ceases taking it in order to achieve pregnancy, she may encounter some difficulties.”
In simple terms, a 20-year-old woman who stays on the pill for 10 years can end up with the cervix of a 40 year-old with 20% of S crypts instead of 40-50%. It can take a long time after a woman stops the pill for her cervix, and especially the S crypts, to function again. Her cervix may never recover some of those lost capacities.
To make matters worse, if she gets on Clomid, thinking it will increase her chance of pregnancy, it will do the opposite: a known side effect of this drug is to reduce the production of cervical fluid. A thorough evaluation of both her ovulation and of her mucus production is needed.
Why it matters more today
Woman are waiting longer to start their families now that in the past. In 1970, most women had their first pregnancy in their early 20s. The average age of first child birth was 22. Today, it has risen to 26.4 years old. More women are delaying their first pregnancy past age 30. The percentage of first birth to women over 30 went from just one in ten in 1970 to almost one in three in 2014[ii].
If these women have been on the pill, as many have been, it’s no surprise that they would experience more difficulties getting pregnant. As the cervix may take up to a year to retrieve a functioning production of mucus, many couples may be directed to drastic medical procedures, such as IVF, a costly and emotionally difficult process. If they waited or found other ways to improve the production of their cervical mucus, they could resolve their problem. Some good news: a pregnancy will rejuvenate the cervix by 2 to 3 years.
Here is the scoop: as a result of being on the pill for an extended time, a woman may not be able to conceive for up to a year, leading her to think she’s infertile, when she’s not! Her fertility is certainly impaired, but medication to stimulate ovulation will actually aggravate the problem.
We find here yet another great reason why young women who are hoping to get pregnant one day should avoid hormonal birth control all together and use a Fertility Awareness Based Method. Not only will these methods preserve their fertility, but when the couple is ready to achieve a pregnancy, the knowledge gained through training in a FABM will help them reach that goal more quickly and easily.
Other readings on this topic:
[i] The Discovery of Different Types of Cervical Mucus and the Billings Ovulation Method, Erik Obledad, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Medical Biophysics, University of Umeå, Sweden, Bulletin of the Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia, 27 Alexandra Parade, North Fitzroy, Victoria 3068, Australia, Volume 21, Number 3, pages 3-35, September 1994.
[ii] First Births to Older Mothers, 1970-86 – NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1349777/pdf/amjph00238-0089.pdf and First Births to Older Women Continue to Rise , NCHS Data Brief No. 152, May 2014 by T.J. Mathews, M.S.; and Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db152.htm
Today, March 21, is World Down Syndrome Day. Why? Because it is the 21st day of the 3rd month. The numbers represent the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
Unhapply, about 90% of women who learn that they will give birth to a child with Down syndrome have an abortion. This barbarity is not just the mother’s fault. They receive so little encouragement — even from their doctor – and they are under intense pressure just to make the problem disappear. Society takes a very dim view of disability.
Mary Le Rumeur writes from France about two young women with Down’s who have made a splash in the media as a model and as a weathergirl.
Two beautiful young girls – one in France and the other from Australia – are showing the world a new face of Down Syndrome.
Mélanie had a dream; she wanted to present the weather report on television. So last month, 21-year-old Mélanie Ségard posted a message on FaceBook: “If I get 100,000 likes, I can be the weather girl.”
Within 10 days Mélanie had 200,000 likes, and several television channels contacted her. The choice was made to accept the spot offered by France 2 on its main evening news programme.
Mélanie spent four days at the TV channel’s studios in Paris, under the tuition of former weather girl Catherine Laborde. She had to learn her text by heart because she can not read or write. The current weather girl Anaïs Baydemir took her under her wing and they worked as a team.
On March 14 the final preparations were made with Melanie choosing her clothes and make-up. Finally, at 8.35 pm, she was on screen, wearing a little black skirt, pretty pink top, chic earrings and a confident smile. Mélanie was telling the whole of France that Spring weather was arriving: “ Thursday, cloudy in the north, sunny near Marseille…. ”
And to finish, “Happy feastday tomorrow to all the Louises.” Anaïs and Mélanie hugged each other, a big happy smile on both faces.
This project was initiated to mark Down Syndrome Day, March 21. (The 21st of the third month represents the extra chromosome at the 21st pair that causes trisomy 21.) An association of families with DS children was looking for a way to overcome the “ invisibility ”of their children, especially on television. And they were very proud of Mélanie’s exploits.
“ Mélanie was natural and spontaneous. Her presentation was happy and confident. Mélanie gave the message that if society helps these young people, they can achieve many things, ” said the president of the association, Luc Gateau. “ We hope that schools will become more inclusive of children with handicaps, and the next generation will be more familiar with different handicaps and able to interact more easily. ”
Mélanie’s weather report gave France 2 a record audience of over 5 million and it was also watched more than 3 million times on internet. On Twitter, 12,000 people sent Melanie a message of congratulations.
Madeline Stuart, Facebook
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Madeline Stuart was launching her own fashion label – in the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, no less ! Since 2015 Madeline has made a special place for herself in the fashion world, modelling in New York, Birmingham, Dubai, Paris, Los Angeles, Melbourne, and China.
“ Exuberance ” is the word for this 20-year-old Australian who watched a fashion parade one day in her home town of Brisbane, and said to her mother, “ Mum, me, model.” Her mother Rosanne took up the challenge, first helping her daughter to lose 20 kilos, by dancing and going to the gym. Maddie’s new silhouette inspired people around the world.
Then in September 2015 Madeline was on the catwalk for the first time, during the New York Fashion Week. You can see the video of her first parade, in a stunning black dress, on her website. Colours and zazzy patterns are the trademark of Madeline’s casual but chic ready-to-wear collection. Her label: “ 21 Reasons Why ”.
Madeline and her team assume with pride all her 21 chromosomes, and showcase a young woman who takes life full on, with her arms open wide, a toss of her long shiny hair, and a smile to reach your heart. In 2016 Madeline was nominated for the Pride of Australia and Young Australian of the Year.
In 2015 a United States group called Changing the Face of Beauty set out to find 15 retailers to commit to using models with disabilities in their advertisements – and wound up getting commitments from more than 100 companies. With television and fashion weeks coming to the party, the face of beauty is certainly changing.
Mary O’Neill Le Remeur writes from Angers in France.
– See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/melanie-and-madeline-changing-the-face-of-beauty/19526#sthash.32pllWF4.dpuf
March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A picture of a 26-week-old preemie reaching out to touch a nurse’s hand affirms the humanity of the most fragile human beings.
The Daily Mail published the photo, found on a website for medical staff called Figure 1. It shows a tiny baby girl, born at 26 weeks’ gestation and weighing less than one pound, “seeking the comfort of human touch.”
The baby girl’s whole hand was only 3/4 of an inch.
“I was changing her nappy and she just held onto my hand,” the nurse explained online. “I had to stop and just let her. Human touch is so important.”
Scientists believe skin-to-skin contact is crucial to a child’s physical and psychological development.
Birmingham City University’s head of psychology, Professor Craig Jackson, explained that babies need skin-to-skin contact. They crave the type of relational and physical closeness they experienced in the womb.
A mother’s skin contact with her baby is known to stimulate the production of breast milk. Such contact also releases oxytocin, known to create interpersonal bonding.
The Daily Mail reported on a 20-year Bogota, Columbia, study of 250 babies on the effects of skin-to-skin contact. The results were published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The study tested “Kangaroo Mother Care” for low-weight newborns, which replaced the cautious incubator approach for the most fragile human beings with “strapping the baby upright to the mother’s chest in skin-to-skin contact” and exclusively breast feeding.
The study found that babies who were given close skin-to-skin contact were calmer, less hyperactive, less aggressive, more faithful to school attendance, more sociable, slept better, and grew more brain matter.
A major review of 21 studies and more than 3,000 babies concluded that the maternal skin-to-skin contact “was preferable to conventional neonatal care.” Fathers making skin contact led to positive results as well.
The nurse reported that the fragile little girl in the picture is now a “happy, healthy, 14-pound nine-month-old.”
“Premature babies are the definition of a miracle,” she said. “I have the best job ever.”
Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News opined, “If ever a picture was worth a thousand words, this is it.”
Scientists are Creating the First “Three-Parent” Babies in Britain Turning Children Into Spare Parts
A Newcastle fertility clinic has been given a license by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to carry out the controversial “three-parent baby” technique.
It is the first time such a license has been granted in the UK. The next step in the two-stage licensing process will be to consider the application relating to an individual patient.
Children as commodities
Dr Anthony McCarthy of SPUC and author of Cloning and Stem Cell Research explains the news, saying:
“This depressing but entirely foreseeable development puts into practice a technique known as ‘pro-nuclear transfer’. This technique involves the gutting and destruction of two embryos to create a third ‘combined’ embryo – a clone of one of the first two who will have no genetic parents in the ordinary sense. Early human beings are treated by scientists as mere commodities, and the would-be parents, with their encouragement, are more concerned with ensuring ‘quality’ in any child born than with reverence for the gift of human life.
Embryos used for spare parts
“As so often with such developments, safety concerns, which bodies such as the HFEA claim to be paramount, are set aside. Actual interference in the germ-line, which could affect countless future generations, is now permitted in this country, where so many other countries sensibly restrict it.
“The granting of this license entrenches the idea that eggs can be bought from women who will be cut off from the children to whom they also will have some genetic link. It worsens the situation for embryos, who are merely valued as sources of spare parts for ‘improved’ embryos ‘designed’ for would-be parents – who are in fact the full genetic parents of the embryo who is cloned and destroyed. And of course, such procedures do not even attempt to treat the mitochondrial problems some dishonestly claim they do.”
LifeNews Note: Courtesy of SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is a leading pro-life organization in the United Kingdom.
LIMA, Peru, March 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews)—The pro-life movement in Peru has produced a video of startling vitality and youthful exuberance to promote what may be the world’s largest annual March for Life.
Staged as a flash mob in a spacious public square in downtown Lima, the video begins with a teenage girl doing a solo song and dance with “en la marcha por la vida” as its chorus. Soon the square is filled with hundreds of young men and women joining her in both the song and dance, with both closeups filmed at ground level and long shots taken from a drone. The video is followed by a second one that teaches the song’s four verses and accompanying movements.
The flash mob matches this year’s theme: “La Calle Es Nuestra: Defienda La Vida (The Street is Ours: Defend Life).” Not only are Peruvians the most pro-life population identified in a world survey conducted earlier this year by Ipsos, their yearly Marcha Por La Vida may be the world’s largest. It drew 500,000 in 2015 and 750,000 last year. The biggest U.S. march, in 2013, attracted 650,000.
Abortion is illegal in Peru except to save the life of the mother. An effort two years ago to extend decriminalization to abortions of unborn children conceived in rape failed.
This is the second in a series of videos. The first is available here.
March 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Campaign Life Coalition’s awareness campaign against Canada’s newest abortion drug, RU-486 or Mifegymiso, included a video posted on International Women’s Day warning women about the hypocrisy of radical feminists who put abortion access above women’s health.
So far, eight videos have been produced in the #Ru486RuCrazy campaign and are being released every few days. Marie-Claire Bissonnette, youth coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, says more are in the works.
For more videos, check out Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube @CLCYouthProLife.
By: Carolyn Moynihan
I don’t like to harp on about Bill and Melinda Gates, but, honestly, is propaganda for contraception the best they could do for International Women’s Day?
In my mail this morning (March 8, US time) was a newsletter headed “Talking contraceptives with mom and grandma”. You know, like, “Having scones and jam with mom and grandma,” or “Taking a walk in the park with mom and grandma.” As nice and feminine as that. Except that it isn’t nice and feminine.
Contraception is about sterilising yourself in different ways: overdosing on hormones or having a metal or plastic device poked inside you, for instance; practices designed to make your body like a man’s, unable to conceive, except for the times they fail and either destroy a new human life or present you with an unwanted pregnancy.
Now that would be something to discuss with grandma: “Dear Gran, if my contraception failed do you think I should go to Family Planning and get an abortion?” That’s if you wnt to completely spoil her day.
There’s a video with four grandmother-mom-daughter groups, but none of them had an abortion, although it would have been legal for a few of the younger women who had unplanned pregnancies. It makes you wonder why American women had to turn out in their hundreds of thousands in January to claim their abortion rights.
And the grandmothers are the only ones to talk about marriage and children in the same breath. Their daughters planned and used IUDs and things – and had the odd lapse (“my son was a big oops”). But for the youngest generation (still having unplanned babies occasionally) it’s all about education, careers, “being anything I want”, and, ideally, achieving all sorts of milestones, including home ownership, before children enter the picture. Being “in control” is big.
True, the stories start with an English grandma saying how wonderful it is to be a mother, “a privilege”, but the poor things really had no choice. And neither, according to Bill and Melinda, do 225 million women in developing countries who “want to time and space their pregnancies, but they don’t have access to modern contraceptives.”
(Really? That many? Did they ask them all?)
“Let’s work to give every woman the chance to lead a healthy and prosperous life,” say the Gateses. “When women can plan their futures, everyone benefits.”
No-one could disagree with that. But why, if contraception is the key to health, wealth and happiness – and goodness knows, it’s been around for 50 years –are there so many women in countries saturated with cheap, often free, “modern contraceptives” who are struggling in poverty to bring up kids on their own?
Has Melinda warned the women she talks to in Africa and India that this is what can happen? And does she tell them straight off that the backstop is abortion, advocated and/or provided by organisations that the Gates Foundation partners with through the Family Planning 2020 coalition?
That network, which up until now, at least, includes US and UK government aid organisations, also had something to advertise on IWD. It’s their own riff on international human rights agreements, although some of those “agreements” only exist in the reports of UN committees and not in international treaties.
Family Planning 2020: Rights and Empowerment Principles For Family Planning is an elaboration of the familiar “sexual and reproductive health” agenda. “Abortion rights” are implicit in projects like FP2020, which have an official aura about them, but are often boldly stated by groups like Planned Parenthood, which sponsored the Washington Women’s March.
Western governments are shelling out enormous amounts of money for this reproductive health crusade. Yesterday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that it would be boosted by $650 million from his government – this, hot on the heels of a $20 million commitment to an international abortion fund.
As I’ve said before, Bill and Melinda do some great things – they also sent out yesterday a feature, Alive Under 5, highlighting the 50 percent drop in childhood mortality since 1990, which they have assisted. It’s a shame to spoil these achievements with a patronising and compromising role in the war on population.
If you want to understand why just one-in-five Americans self-identify as a feminist, look no further than today’s “Day Without A Woman” event.
The organizers already told about half of America’s women to get lost when they explicitly stated the preceding January’s Women’s March’s “platform is pro-choice” and “has been since day one” and participants will be “marching on behalf of individuals who share th(at) view.” Today is supposed to be the “part two,” if you will, to that event.
The Day Without A Woman website claims to stand for “the human rights of women,” and yet they side-step the reality that tens of millions of American women consider abortion to be an egregious human rights violation against hundreds of thousands of females annually and millions more globally.
Understandably, the organizers would probably prefer not to rename the event, “A Day Without Pro-Choice Women,” but even if they did, that would still be too broad. That still wouldn’t address the reality, for example, that poor women don’t have the same luxury as wealthy women of risking being fired in order to stand for left-wing ideologies, many of which help to keep women in oppression and poverty, such as advocating for legalized prostitution.
Advocating for legalized prostitution?
Yep. Amnesty International is a sponsor of the Day Without a Woman. Amnesty was last seen coming out in favor of decriminalizing prostitution, or “sex work” as they now call it. Amnesty’s policy shift comes at a time when the number of people living in human slavery, many of them as sex slaves, is at a record high. An estimated 35 million people today are living in slavery and one can easily draw a straight line between prostitution and the trafficking of human beings, most of them girls and women, for sex.
Planned Parenthood is also heavily invested in the Day Without A Woman. They were a sponsor of the Women’s March and are hosting various events across the country in conjunction with tomorrow’s events.
Planned Parenthood keeps trying to bill itself as a representative of women’s interests, but those efforts are sagging under constant exposes that suggest the abortion chain is more interested in its bottom line than it is in authentic women’s health. For starters, the organization has lobbied against even the most commonsense regulations on the abortion industry, such as higher safety standards for abortion centers or bills that would restrict late term abortion, bills that just so happen to have the support of the overwhelming majority of … women.
So you’ll forgive those of us women who opt out of an event that purports to be pro-woman, but feels instead quite out of step with the attitudes of plenty of women who don’t care to see our country legalize the sexual exploitation of women, kill our preborn daughters, or get us fired from our jobs and call it progress for women.
LifeNews Note: Ashley McGuire is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association and the author of the new book, “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female” (Regnery Publishing, 2017).