How the New Title X Guidelines ‘Trumped’ Contraception

How the New Title X Guidelines ‘Trumped’ Contraception

What the Trump Administration conceives of contraception

birth control

Image used courtesy of PH Lessons

The Trump Administration recently announced the new rules for the Title X family funding program, and it’s not looking good for sexual education and contraception. This year’s guidelines largely favor abstinence-only education and natural family planning methods like fertility awareness. Birth control is not mentioned at all in the new requirements.

Other than the shift towards abstinence and fertility awareness, the guidelines also specifically encourage providers specializing in “a single method of family planning” and also “community-based and faith-based organizations” to apply. Not only do the new guidelines seem to limit contraceptive methods, but they also seem to favor religious providers, who are more likely to oppose abortion as a birth control method.

Reproductive health advocates worry that the revamp of the Title X program will negatively affect the low-income communities and women it serves. Before now, the guidelines had aimed to educate the public on various birth control options and required all Title X-funded programs to follow Providing Quality Family Planning Services (which is now omitted from the new requirements).

Title X funding is in the hands of Valerie Huber, who used to be the president and CEO of Ascend, a group that promotes abstinence-only education. She also has a reputation for criticizing the “normalization” of teen sex and sex before marriage. Many healthcare advocates have spoken out about the new guidelines, claiming them as an attempt to impose conservative beliefs onto the 4 million people that depend on affordable reproductive health clinics for their family planning options.

Should Google Pay For You to Have a Baby?

Should Google Pay For You to Have a Baby?

Companies have started helping women pay to freeze their eggs. Tech companies such as Facebook and Pinterest are on the cutting edge of this new wave, one they say is designed to help people plan for families in their own ways.

This is a big shift from previous years when couples had to prove they were engaging in heterosexual sex and trying other methods to conceive before they could move on to IVF or get any fertility help from their employers.

Now things are improving rapidly, especially for families that don’t fit the norm.

Pinterest recently helped a man and his partner with surrogacy costs so they could start a family. “We made a decision to actually research surrogacy benefits with a $20,000 net benefit that directly enabled this employee and his husband to start a family,” Serrano, Pinterest’s senior vice president of people, said. “They’ve gone through that process now … and they’re expecting their first child.”

As companies become more open to helping employees with their family lives and the intense costs that can be associated with fertility, they are inspiring more loyalty amongst their employees.

One woman told Pinterest that she would “reconfirm her commitment with Pinterest long-term because we’re in the game.” Because Pinterest was so willing to help her start a family and deal with infertility issues, she was more inclined to be loyal to her job there and keep working there, which is something many companies want but is becoming increasingly harder as changing jobs frequently is becoming the norm.

This is a huge change from when Facebook began to compensate employees who were choosing to freeze their eggs and made national news. Now fertility benefits are all the range, and 62% of Millenial women polled said “they would choose a job that offered a fertility benefit over a job that did not, all else being equal.”

Maybe it’s time for more companies to catch up with the tech giants like Spotify and Google that are offering amazing benefits to their employees and who are understanding of the fact that family comes first, and that family planning is one of the most important things their workplace can help them with outside of directly job related things.

What is Olivia Munn’s One Simple Trick to Increase Fertility?

What is Olivia Munn’s One Simple Trick to Increase Fertility?

 

Olivia Munn, known for her role in X-Men: Apocalypse, recently decided to freeze her eggs on the advice of her best friend and a mother of three, Kim Kardashian West. Kardashian recently had her third child, Chicago, who was born via a surrogate due to the difficulties of her two pregnancies.

Munn says that part of the reason she went to Kardashian West is that she’s just so knowledgeable. “Honestly, out of all of my girlfriends, she is the most knowledgeable. If you want to know about anything, she’s the girl. Truly,” Munn told Entertainment Tonight.

At first, Munn had only been debating freezing her eggs in case she decided to go through with in vitro in the future. However, after hearing Kardashian West’s story, she made up her mind to do it. Kardashian West also recommended her to her doctor.

“I was like, ‘Well, there’s no reason to, but I wanted to.’ I think every woman should, honestly. Later on, when women are going through in vitro it’s hard because you are just scrambling to get some eggs. I was able to just store a ton.” So while Munn might not have made any firm decisions as to when she’s looking to conceive yet, she has definitely ensured she’ll have a better chance of conceiving if she chooses to do it later in life.

Infertility and the possibility of in vitro fertilization may feel far off to some, but like Munn says, it never hurts to have a backup plan, and storing your eggs will give you more choices later in life if you change your mind about conceiving or find that you can’t get pregnant.

Ibuprofen’s Effect on Your Baby’s Fertility

Ibuprofen’s Effect on Your Baby’s Fertility

You may want to reconsider your everyday pain reliever


Ibuprofen, a common active ingredient found in many medications like Advil, NeoProfen, and Motrin, may be lowering your daughter’s egg count before she’s even born. Studies have already linked ibuprofen with the higher likelihood of heart defect formation in late pregnancy, but a recent study has given us a reason to be wary of using it during early pregnancy too.

 

Who said that ibuprofen could negatively affect my baby’s fertility?

Inserm, a French human health research organization, recently published a study in Human Reproduction that investigates the effect of ibuprofen Ston the development of the human ovary. Previous studies have researched the effect of ibuprofen on rodent ovarian tissue, but Inserm’s study focuses specifically on human ovarian tissue. Unfortunately, results suggested that ibuprofen does indeed lower a female fetus’ ovarian follicle count.

 

How does ibuprofen affect my child’s fertility?

Fetuses absorb the same nutrients as their mothers. Both drugs and nutrients pass through the placenta as easily as they pass into the mother’s bloodstream. Considering that ibuprofen affects the development of germ cells that grow into ovarian follicles, ibuprofen also affects the human eggs that develop from these follicles. Ibuprofen can cause some of the germ cells that potentially develop into ovarian follicles to stop growing and or dividing, or even kill them.

Inserm’s study found that the growth and division of ovarian germ cells are affected as early as two days into using ibuprofen. After a week of use, results were deemed “significant.” Even after the discontinued use of ibuprofen, cells didn’t grow back or repair themselves.

 

So does that mean I can’t use ibuprofen when I’m pregnant?

Inserm admits that their study was only observed in a lab and not in utero. Also, the effect of ibuprofen on a baby girl’s fertility has never been recorded in a long-term study. Although Inserm’s study observes a significant effect of ibuprofen on a female fetus’ ovarian follicle count, they can’t be sure that the results would be the same if observed during a real pregnancy or if the damage would persist into adulthood.

So take this information as a reminder to ask your doctor about your pain relief options for your specific situation. Staying informed on what may be harmful to both you and your child will help ensure a healthy, successful pregnancy.

Is Kylie Jenner’s Pregnancy Bad For Children?

Is Kylie Jenner’s Pregnancy Bad For Children?

kylie jenner

Image used courtesy of Vogue

Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy has taken the world–or at least the 13 to 25 crowd–by storm (pun intended). After staying out of the media’s eye for most of the past year, she took to YouTube in early February to post a video about her pregnancy and her daughter, Stormi’s, birth.

She is proud of Stormi and said during the video that her number one desire since she was fifteen was to get pregnant. The same is not true of all women who get pregnant at twenty. Not everyone has Jenner’s privileges and the ability to support Stormi easily.

Some people are worried about the effect Jenner’s pregnancy and the excitement she has over it may have over some of her impressionable fans. Brit + Co talked with Dr. Lauren Brim, who is the author of The New American Family. She discusses how the American family isn’t breaking down or dying like so many critical think pieces are discussing. Instead, it’s just changing to a new form and, in her eyes, reawakening.

She does caution those who may be considering taking after Jenner. While watching a young woman go through pregnancy and motherhood with such grace can be a good role model, it may also lead to issues. Jenner’s life is unrealistically glamorous, and as such her new motherhood (or at least what the public sees of it) is as well, which may give young women misleading ideas of what pregnancy and motherhood can be.

Jenner’s pregnancy also shows why it can sometimes be healthier for younger woman to get pregnant. Their bodies tend to be more resilient after giving birth, and are less inclined to health issues such as gestational diabetes during the pregnancy. Younger women are also the most fertile, so Kylie is probably the most fertile she will ever be.

Whether teens are looking up to Kylie for her motherhood, her lipkits and business skills, or her great selfie game, she’s one of the most iconic new celebrities. Stormi will probably be one of the most iconic babies around too.

Olympic workouts: how exercise impacts fertility

Olympic workouts: how exercise impacts fertility

Dispelling myths while staying informed about extreme sports

Every few years, the reemergence of the world’s greatest athletes for the Olympic games sparks conversation, including exercise routines and more.  While not all of us are up to par with Olympians, many of us still strive to be competitive athletes or at least frequent gym-goers. In an article posted by the Romper, writer Lindsay E. Mack details research from the Southern California Reproductive Center to decide whether or not extreme athletics can help or harm fertility chances. The article details three major components of dealing with the Olympics:

  • Understanding the details of extensive training hours along with external factors.
  • Potential issues caused by extreme exercise, including issues with ovulation.
  • Realizing the common misconceptions when dealing with women and exercise.

 

Training long hours & external factors

When looking at the Olympic games, different levels and different types of training apply to each sport.  Regardless of sport, however, consulting a doctor for health advice when starting these routines is crucial.  In addition, while long training hours can affect your fertility, it is important not to assume it is the sole cause of issues.  Additional factors more often than not can affect fertility, regardless of athletics.


Ovulation & issues that arise

While some aspects of intense exercise effects may remain uncertain, there are certain connections we can pinpoint.  According to the Mayo Clinic, heavy exercise impacts ovulation, as timing is often key for successful conception (many women often track their cycles on apps in order to ensure accurate results).  Another common ovulation-related issue is amenorrhea, which is described as infrequent periods usually as a result of exercise.  This issue is described by OB-GYN Stephen K. Montoya, MD: “If you’re not having periods, it indicates that you’re probably not ovulating and for sure you’re not making enough hormones to sustain a fetus.”  Further studies have looked into if these delays are long term, and research shows the effects are only temporary.


Misconceptions surrounding women & exercise

Unfortunately, misconceptions have often outnumbered actually effects such as amenorrhea, furthering worry for conceiving a child while being an athlete.  Heavy exercise can also negatively impact sperm count, causing issues for both males and females.  The article also noted that several female Olympians have conceived, and even competed, during training season, proving there is still high chances of having a child while partaking in high levels of exercise.

As you digest the past few weeks’ Olympic sports, be sure to keep these thoughts in mind!

Important Facts You Should Know About Births in America

Important Facts You Should Know About Births in America

The fertility rate in America is at a historic low with only 59.6 births per 1,000 women. It’s been declining for years. Some experts are becoming worried because if the trend continues, our country could face “economic and cultural turmoil.”

Why is this happening?

Birth rates are decreasing for women in their teens and 20s while increasing for women in their 30s and 40s. This is because there have been fewer instances of teen pregnancies. At the same time, women have been waiting to get married and have children until later on in life.

The exact reason for the waiting trend is unclear, but one possibility could involve uncertainty about the country’s future. People are more willing to commit to having children when they are confident about their nation’s current and future cultural health. People may simply not feel comfortable raising a child right now.

What are the consequences?

Mothers who are older when they have their first birth are more likely to have any other children closer together, or not have any more at all. Brady Hamilton, a statistician working for the National Center for Health Statistics, said delaying the birth of one’s first child can make the possibility of having more problematic. Age is the number one factor contributing to fertility, “so the longer you postpone, the more potential you have for smaller families and smaller population growth.”

Reproduction is one of the most important measures of demographic health. The number needs to reach a certain point, called the “replacement rate,” in order to keep a population stable so it doesn’t dramatically grow or shrink. America’s replacement rate is about 2.1 children per woman, and is not being met. Fertility rate as of 2015 is 1.84 births per woman, which is critically low. If birth rate is too low, there’s a danger that there wouldn’t be enough people to replace the aging workforce, pay for social security, or cover taxes to keep the economy balanced.

Is there anything to be done?

Many experts are debating whether the U.S. is headed towards a “national emergency,” or if the drop in births will level off soon.

William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, says there may not be cause for alarm yet. America still has more births than deaths and a higher fertility rate compared to other developed countries like Germany and Italy.

Frey attributes the decline in birthrates to women’s lifestyle choices as well as the current economy. He says economic downturn or uncertainty tends to cause a decrease in birth rates, but “when the economy is getting better then we’ll start having more children.”

Changes in society prompt fertility low

Changes in society prompt fertility low

With less people having sex, the U.S. could soon follow other countries to crisis

In a new summary by CBS, research suggests there may be societal reasons for a low fertility rate nationally.  The New York Times has written many articles in recent months detailing the crisis, but new movements may suggest two main reasons for less sexual activity (and therefore potentially less childbirth):

    • Changes in jobs and careers have altered previous social patterns, causing people to have less sex.

 

  • New movements regarding sexual harassment may continue to alter romance for years to come.

 

 

A decrease in intimacy

In today’s world, careers are more demanding than ever, often taking up long hours and causing stressful environments. New York Times and CBS News contributor Jodi Kantor attributes a decrease in “in-person quality time” to smartphones in relation to jobs: “If you’re getting pelted with work emails at 10 o’clock at night on your bedside table, that is obviously not a recipe for a lot of private time.”

After the recent study, the amount of young people age 18 to 30 who have not partaken in sexual activity in the past year nearly doubled its percentage from last year.  The whopping 20 percent falls in line with observations on the millennial generation, where another article found them less likely to have sex at their age than their previous generation.  


Social movements will continue to affect romantic relations

The generation analyzed by CBS is one to have finally seen more awareness of sexual assault within our culture.  Following her investigation of the allegations against former Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein, Kantor now attributes the movement she studied (now directly tied to campaigns #MeToo and #Time’sUp) as perhaps one small factor in a national problem.

“There are a lot of questions about the right way to do things and what the rules are, and how to proceed in kind of a healthy and safe way,” said Kantor.  “In my reporting I talk to a lot of people who talk about just changes in their romantic interactions. I’ve had women tell me that at the end of dates now, guys will say to them, ‘I just want to make sure you were comfortable tonight. I want to make sure everything felt OK to you.’ Which is very sweet, but also betrays a certain nervousness about, you know, am I doing this right.”

In summation, as the New York Times predicts, if millennials continue with current trends, the United States could soon face a severe fertility crisis.  Regardless of social and lifestyle shifts, an emphasis on a shortage of sex therefore a shortage of offspring is worth thinking about as we continue into the 21st century.

2018 Winter Olympics Brings Attention to Obscure ‘Penis Park’

2018 Winter Olympics Brings Attention to Obscure ‘Penis Park’

penis parkThis South Korean landmark celebrates fertility

Tourists from around the world are making a quick visit to Haesindang Park in between competitions for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Also known as Penis Park, the public space features phallic statues and artwork ranging from totem poles to wind chimes.

  • According to legend, the park was built after a young virgin drowned.
  • South Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.
  • The park offers nonsexual features as well.

 

The park’s origins

There is an ancient legend surrounding the unique park’s beginnings. According to the story, a young maid took her husband’s boat out to harvest seaweed. The weather soon turned bad, and the husband was unable to rescue his wife in time. As a result, she drowned. Afterward, villagers were unable to catch fish and blamed the maid’s death for their misfortune. In an effort to appease her, the villagers built wood carvings and held religious ceremonies for her. From then on, the villagers were able to fish successfully again. The place where the maid supposedly died is called Aebawi Rock and the building where the religious ceremonies were held is called Haesindang. Locals actually continue to hold rituals there twice a year.

 

South Korea’s birth rate problem

According to the BBC, South Korea’s birth rate was at an all-time low last year. Only about 360,000 babies were born in 2017. Low birth rates lead to a decrease in the number of workers available as well as an increase in welfare rates among the elderly.

The government is currently trying to increase support for unwed mothers. “We want to expand support for single mothers and also launch campaigns that will change people’s perceptions of couples living together,” said an anonymous finance ministry official. The Korean Herald reported that families with at least three children would receive priority for child care facilities and teachers with at least three kids could choose whatever school they wanted to work at.

 

Other attractions

The park is also home to South Korea’s largest aquarium theater, which features folk materials that show visitors the lifestyle of fishermen of the East Sea. There is also an arboretum, a botanical garden comprised only of trees. A bronze statue that tells the ancient legend of how the park was founded is displayed nearby.

 

If you’re looking for a unique and interesting attraction in South Korea, this is definitely the spot for you. You will definitely come out of it with an interesting story to tell your friends.

 

Michaella from ‘Bringing Up Bates’ Discusses Fertility Treatment

Michaella from ‘Bringing Up Bates’ Discusses Fertility Treatment

The sister of 18 siblings updates us on her journey for a child

The reality show follows the larger-than-life Bates family of Rocky Top. Together, husband and wife Gil and Kelly Jo Bates raise their family of 19 children, plus five sons and daughters-in-law, and six grandchildren.

During the January 11th episode of “Bringing Up Bates,” Michaella Bates Keilen revealed that she and her husband have been working with a fertility specialist for a year now. The Keilens have been married since August 2015, and their fertility struggles have gone back to season six of the show.

  • Michaella’s sister, Erin Bates Paine, and mother, Kelly Jo Bates, discovered this on their trip to Chicago to visit the young couple.
  • The couple is still waiting for answers to their fertility problems.
  • The cost of using a specialist has taken a toll on their bank account.

A Trip to Chicago

The couple recently obtained a new rental house in Chicago, and during Erin’s visit, she asked how the couple’s fertility journey was going. Even though they live in Chicago, the couple plans to go to East Tennessee again for another test. In terms of their struggles with getting pregnant, the couple has both good days and bad days.

“Perspective changes a lot when I focus on what I do have. Brandon’s gracious…he prays with me. He leaves me notes and roses, and he’ll wake up early and get coffee, just lets me know that he cares…that helps a lot, but at the same time, I just, there’s days I cry a lot, and there’s other days that I don’t seem to be fazed. We just take walks and have fun together, so it’s a lot of back and forth.”

Still Waiting for Answers

According to Michaella, “The whole journey to find an answer and just see what might be the problem is very emotional. I think we’ve tried all of the major tests, and there’s one more procedure that I want to have done, and then after that, just take a break and enjoy each other and maybe start this journey again later if we don’t have an answer.”

Financial Tolls

Fertility specialists can be quite pricey, a phenomenon that the Keilen’s are painfully aware of. Michaella says that their own has cost quite a lot of money.

The couple’s struggles are shared by many others who are having issues becoming pregnant. Hopefully, this episode will let other couples know that they are not alone.