Monday, February 23, 2009

Maybe the Octomom's lust for the spotlight will actually result in shining light where one is needed: reining in fertility clinics (and their egg-happy clients).

According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, fewer than 20% of U.S. clinics follow professional guidelines on embryo implantation for younger women.

As the author of "Everything Conceivable" told Terry Gross on Fresh Air today, the uterus is designed to be single occupancy only, and multiple births invariably lead to multiple deaths. What could stem the madness? For one, having these procedures covered by health insurance, which would then mandate the number of embryos that could be implanted. 

This is one case where buying in bulk is not a good idea, short term or long term. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Baby Steps
I've been thinking a lot about the Octo-mom lately -- Nadya Suleman, who made horror-freak-show news when she gave birth to octuplets. Then the really bad news started to come out: she had no job, 6 other kids -- and may lose her house. And the kicker -- all 14 births were made possible by a Beverly Hills infertility clinic. This coupled with a story in the New York Times about links between IVF and certain birth defects made me think again about the fertility industry. 

There is basically no regulation of the fertility industry, whose services aren't covered by health insurance, either. The treatments are expensive, causing women to ask their docs to implant them with multiple eggs for the chance that one, or OK, two or three, of the fertilized eggs could turn into that dream baby their body does not want to have on its own. 

Our culture is oddball. It pressures women to have babies, then recoils when they have too many, or not enough cash (Angelina Jolie with a truckload of kids is cute. Welfare moms with same: decidedly not). Or they do it in a way that is medically possible but ethically questionable. 

So then the question is, who is going to start making some of these hard choices? Given the change in administration to a pro-science agenda, my vote is regulation. And fast. With older parents the norm, IVF a standard procedure and multiple births adding to the burden of our hospitals and health systems, and certainly our schools, we need to start paying more attention. And not just the horrified kind. 

Friday, February 06, 2009

I'm Just Not Into That Movie
It stands to reason that when a movie is about to come out, the best clips are selected for the previews. If that's the case, then the movie "He's Just Not That Into You"  is a flat-out embarrassment to the genre, to women, and in fact, to human relationships. You can waste your time watching the coming attractions.

But if it saves you the time watching the movie, then consider it an efficiency. In the previews, the sexiest woman in cinema, Scarlett Johansson, pines for a married man that is so beneath her it's laughable. Drew Barrymore is moused down to look pathetic and yearning. And Jennifer Aniston can't get Ben Affleck to marry her. OK, in what world does Hollywood live in? Maybe these stars took these roles to stretch their acting abilities (I'm sure it's hard to for any of them to imagine that they can't get a date). But why take my word for it? See for yourself. Then don't go see this movie.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again
I know that I should still be feeling the glow of hope and change, and Obama has already done more for women (passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) and children (signing SCHIP into law) in a few short weeks than Bush did in 8 years.

Reversing the global gag rule (allowing funds to international family planning organizations that promote or perform abortions) was yet another stake in the ground to differentiate the Obama years from the Bush years. But this victory feels hollow. After all, the funds get reinstated or stopped depending on which party is in office. If we really want to make change, let's change minds about women's rights overseas. Hillary, I'm looking at you.