WBEZ | reproductive health care http://www.wbez.org/tags/reproductive-health-care Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en More Women Are Freezing Their Eggs, But Will They Ever Use Them? http://www.wbez.org/news/more-women-are-freezing-their-eggs-will-they-ever-use-them-113918 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/npr_fertility.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457110565" previewtitle="Maria Fabrizio for NPR"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Maria Fabrizio for NPR" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/23/npr_fertilitywindow_wide-358896666ed2e510442e1294f05133a865dd5d59-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="(Maria Fabrizio/NPR)" /></div><div><div>If egg freezing once sounded like science fiction, those days are over. Women now hear about it from their friends, their doctors and informational events like Wine and Freeze.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="https://www.shadygrovefertility.com/">Shady Grove Fertility Center</a>&nbsp;in the Washington, D.C., area hosts Wine and Freeze nights for prospective patients every few months. Fifteen or so women in their 30s gathered at one recently over wine, brownies and sticky buns. A doctor explained the procedure, the costs and the odds of frozen eggs resulting in a baby &mdash; which decline as a woman ages.</div></div></div><p>Egg freezing for medical reasons &mdash; often women undergoing chemotherapy &mdash; has been possible for decades. Some 5,000 babies have been born from eggs that were frozen, thawed and fertilized.</p><p>In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine decided egg freezing was no longer an experimental procedure. That opened the door for clinics like Shady Grove to market it to women who don&#39;t have a medical reason to do it but are simply worried about their declining fertility &mdash; what&#39;s being dubbed as &quot;social&quot; egg freezing.</p><p>The &quot;social&quot; egg freezing business these days is good, says Shady Grove medical director&nbsp;<a href="https://www.shadygrovefertility.com/doctors/widra">Dr. Eric Widra</a>. &quot;This is clearly a time where the technological ability to do this is converging with the demographics,&quot; he says. &quot;There are more and more women who find themselves in a situation where they may potentially benefit from having their eggs frozen.&quot;</p><div id="res457130643"><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/fertility-patients-20151123/child.html">&nbsp;</p><script src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/fertility-patients-20151123/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script></div><p>The majority of women currently freezing their eggs live in cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to Jake Anderson-Bialis, who&#39;s building a company called&nbsp;<a href="http://fertilityiq.com/">FertilityIQ&nbsp;</a>with his wife, Deborah. &quot;Marketing is aggressively happening, and these are the hubs where fertility clinics will prove out the concept,&quot; he says.</p><p>Anderson-Bialis says he&#39;s hoping to serve women freezing their eggs, as well as couples doing in vitro fertilization, with a database of fertility doctors and reviews from patients. FertilityIQ has so far gotten about 200 women who have frozen their eggs to write reviews of their experience.</p><p>The fact that wine is served at egg-freezing info sessions around the country might imply that this is no big deal, even fun. In fact, it&#39;s a complicated and physically demanding process.</p><p>Women inject themselves with hormones for up to two weeks to stimulate their ovaries to get as many mature eggs as possible. There&#39;s a surgical procedure to retrieve them. And there can be side effects along the way.</p><p>It also isn&#39;t cheap. One round averages about $12,000, and multiple rounds may be needed. No insurance companies cover egg freezing, but in October, a third tech company, Intel,&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.intel.com/jobs/2015/10/19/intel-expands-family-benefits/">joined</a>&nbsp;Apple and Facebook in offering to pay the costs of egg freezing for employees. Financing may be available from a company called EggBanxx as well as some fertility clinics.</p><p>Stacey Samuel is a producer with CBS in Washington, D.C., (formerly with CNN). She thought about freezing her eggs earlier, but couldn&#39;t afford it until this year. &quot;Before you know it, I&#39;m 40, and I thought, oh, my goodness, this is very real for me,&quot; Samuel says.</p><p>Doctors prefer that women freeze their eggs before their mid-30s. But Samuel thought that advice might not apply to her. &quot;I&#39;m a black, South Asian female. Fertility in my culture and family extends for many years,&quot; she says. &quot;So I&#39;m thinking 40 is nothing but a number &mdash; I still get carded.&quot;</p><p>She assumed she&#39;d get the 15 to 20 eggs that doctors recommend women freeze. But in the middle of her cycle, while she was injecting hormones, there were complications. She ended up with just 10.</p><p>&quot;Even when I choose to go use those eggs, I could lose them again,&quot; Samuel says. &quot;So that feeling of reassurance that I thought I was buying with my near $20,000 on the table &mdash; I&#39;m still unable to control the outcome.&quot;</p><p>Preserved eggs offer women like Samuel hope for beating the biological clock. But you can&#39;t escape the fact that your body will continue to age. The older a woman is when she freezes her eggs and when she uses them with in vitro fertilization, the lower her chances of success.</p><p>&quot;There was a lot of encouragement to go forth even if it looks like you&#39;re kind of a risky case, because I think these dedicated doctors really want to know where they can take this,&quot; Samuel says. &quot;And they need the numbers, and they need those of us who are willing to go through with it.&quot;</p><p>That concerns&nbsp;<a href="https://law.utexas.edu/faculty/jr43/">John Robertson</a>, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Texas Law School. He wrote a&nbsp;<a href="http://jlb.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/03/28/jlb.lsu002.full">paper</a>&nbsp;published in 2014 in the&nbsp;Journal of Law and the Biosciences&nbsp;on how women freezing their eggs can be both empowered and alienated by the procedure.</p><p>&quot;The problem is it may be marketed to women who are in the older age group who may have very little chance of obtaining viable eggs,&quot; Robertson says. &quot;So it&#39;s extremely important that there be full disclosure at every step of the process.&quot;</p><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/fertility-births-20151123/child.html">&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.embryo.net/fertility-center/fertility-doctors">Dr. Kevin Doody</a>&nbsp;agrees. He codirects the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Dallas, and is president-elect of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, or SART.</p><p>&quot;I do not think that this should be highly promoted for the older-age woman,&quot; Doody says. &quot;I&#39;m not saying one should refuse or deny services if a 40- or 42-year-old woman wanted to have her eggs frozen. But I think it would warrant a substantial counseling session with that patient.&quot;</p><p>SART collects data on egg freezing in the U.S. And Doody says in 2013, about 4,000 women froze their eggs, up from about 2,500 the year before. And he predicts the number this year will be much higher.</p><p>But so far very few women who&#39;ve frozen their eggs since the experimental label was lifted in 2012 have gone back to try to use them. SART found that of the 353 egg-thaw cycles in 2012, only 83 resulted in live births. In 2013, there were 414 thaw cycles and 99 live births. &quot;Live birth&quot; is not babies born &mdash; it means delivery of one or more infants, so it can include twins.</p><p>Overall, the success rate of live births from frozen eggs has remained consistently pretty low, at about 20 to 24 percent since 2009. And, Doody adds, &quot;Even if the success rates were significantly higher, there&#39;s never going to be a guarantee for an individual patient that the eggs she would bank would ultimately result in a baby for her.&quot;</p><p>Medical anthropologist&nbsp;<a href="http://marciainhorn.com/">Marcia Inhorn</a>&nbsp;at Yale University is conducting a study of the women who have frozen their eggs.</p><p>&quot;The vast majority say, &#39;Well, it&#39;s given me peace of mind, I feel a sense of relief, it&#39;s taken the pressure off of me to rush into a relationship with someone who isn&#39;t right,&#39; &quot; she says.</p><p>Inhorn has interviewed about 100 women so far for her study.</p><p>&quot;Most of these women are amazing professional women, I have to say,&quot; says Inhorn. &quot;But the major reason over and over is not being able to find the right person to embark on a partnership and parenthood with.&quot;</p><p>Finding the right person is likely to be just as big a challenge for women in the future, Inhorn says. Which is why she believes this technology will become normalized, like in vitro fertilization.</p><p>And maybe it&#39;s already happening if people like Mindy Kaling are talking about it. The actress, producer and writer hit on this in an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/865280">episode</a>&nbsp;of her Hulu show&nbsp;The Mindy Project. Her character, a fertility doctor, goes to a college campus to peddle her newest service for women.</p><p>Here&#39;s what she tells them:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;When I was your age, I thought that I was going to be married by the time I was 25. But it took a lot longer than that. And unfortunately your body does not care if you are dating the wrong guy. ... Your body and your eggs just keep getting older, which is why freezing them is a pretty smart idea, &#39;cause it gives you a little bit more time.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>But it will be years before there&#39;s enough data showing us whether egg freezing actually helps most of the women doing it fulfill their dreams of motherhood.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/24/456671203/more-women-are-freezing-their-eggs-but-will-they-ever-use-them?ft=nprml&amp;f=456671203" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-women-are-freezing-their-eggs-will-they-ever-use-them-113918 Chicago Archdiocese: Tweak to birth control mandate a first step http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-archdiocese-tweak-birth-control-mandate-first-step-96298 <p><p>Chicago's Catholic Archdiocese is not yet endorsing President Barack Obama's compromise on forcing religious institutions to provide birth control for employees.</p><p>Mr. Obama announced Friday that certain institutions can object on religious principle to directly provide birth control. In those cases, health insurance companies would be responsible for providing that care.</p><p>Father William Grogan, Vicar for Healthcare at the Chicago Archdiocese, said the Archdiocese stands by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which, in a written statement said they take the announcement as a first step but continue to have concerns.</p><p>Father Grogan couldn’t specify what those particular concerns are, but said they likely result "from the fact that the president made a very sincere but general statement.” He added that they want to see how the proposals will work out in detail going forward.</p><p>Cardinal Francis George recently criticized the regulation in a letter saying, "We cannot - we will not - comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens because of their religious beliefs." Although that letter was written prior to Friday’s announcement by Mr. Obama, it has been distributed to churches in the Archdiocese. Priests will be reading that letter out loud to parishioners at Sunday mass.</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 22:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-archdiocese-tweak-birth-control-mandate-first-step-96298 Fifty years ago in the U.K., birth control transformed sex lives, mores http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-03/fifty-years-ago-uk-birth-control-transformed-sex-lives-mores-95241 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-03/p00lw93y_640_360.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On December 4, 1961, the contraceptive pill became widely available for the first time in the United Kingdom. For married women, this meant reliable, convenient family planning. For unmarried women, it meant unprecedented sexual freedom.</p><p>The BBC's Claire Bowes talks to the writer Michelene Wandor, who was a student at Cambridge University in 1961, about this turning point in reproductive health.</p><p><em>This piece orignially aired on the BBC World Service.</em></p></p> Tue, 03 Jan 2012 17:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-03/fifty-years-ago-uk-birth-control-transformed-sex-lives-mores-95241 Global Activism: Clinic in Nicaraguan highlands provides reproductive health care for women http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-17/global-activism-clinic-nicaraguan-highlands-provides-reproductive-health <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-17/mamalicha1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Affectionately known as "Mama Licha," Alicia Huete Diaz has a <a href="http://www.mamasclinic.org/" target="_blank">clinic</a> in Esteli, Nicaragua that's trained 3,000 midwives to date and has raised the quality of reproductive healthcare in the entire highlands region.</p><p>Mama Licha is joined by her passionate supporters, Angie Rodgers and Jean Paschen, to discuss her work. Angie is co-founder of <a href="http://www.juntosadelante.org/" target="_blank">Juntos Adelante</a>, an organization that helps sustain Mama Licha’s clinic. And Jean is a WBEZ listener from Evanston who first heard of the clinic on <em>Worldview</em> in 2007, was inspired by the story, and recently held a fundraiser for Mama Licha's efforts.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>To hear more stories of people making a difference, check out the Global Activism <a href="http://wbez.org/globalactivism" target="_blank">page</a>, where you can also suggest a person or organization for the series. Or, email your suggestions to <a href="mailto:worldview@wbez.org">worldview@wbez.org</a> and put “Global Activism” in the subject line. Global Activism is also a <a href="http://wbez.org/podcasts" target="_blank">podcast</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 16:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-17/global-activism-clinic-nicaraguan-highlands-provides-reproductive-health Gov. Perry cut funds for women's health in Texas http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/gov-perry-cut-funds-womens-health-texas-92198 <p><p>Texas Gov. Rick Perry likes to hold out the Lone Star State as a model — his vision for the country. But while Texas' growing economy has been a reliable jobs producer, the state's health care system is straining.</p><p>Only 48 percent of Texans have private health insurance and more than a quarter of the state's population has no insurance at all, more than any other state. To fill this gap, the state's hospital emergency rooms and dozens of women's health clinics have stepped in to serve the uninsured across Texas.</p><p>To understand the health care landscape in Texas it helps to start with context, and perhaps nobody is better suited to explain it than Tom Banning. He is the CEO of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, a group of about 6,000 doctors and whose members reach into every part of the state.</p><p>"We've got universal health care in Texas, [but] the way we're financing it is beyond stupid," Banning says.</p><p>When Banning says Texas has universal health care, he means if you live in urban Texas and get sick, you can go to the county hospital emergency room.</p><p>"In terms of accessing basic primary and preventive care I think we fall far short," he says.</p><p>Over the last eight years, citing budget constraints, Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican-controlled legislature have dropped hundreds of thousands of mostly poor and working-class Texans from the rolls of government-sponsored insurance like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Nearly 6.5 million Texans are now uninsured even though the majority of them have full time jobs.</p><p>Premiums in Texas' unregulated health insurance industry have soared by 105 percent over the last ten years according to the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. Texas employers have responded by raising employee deductibles, often dramatically or by dropping their coverage entirely.</p><p><strong>The effect on women's health care</strong></p><p>For hundreds of thousands of Texas women and teens between the ages of 13 and 50, the 71 family planning clinics in the state serve as their gateway to health care, and for many of those women, visiting the clinics is the only time they see a nurse practitioner or a doctor.</p><p>Rosalinda Roman, 19, discovered the People's Clinic in East Austin after she got pregnant at age 16 and gave birth to a boy. Now, she comes to the clinic every three months to get her comprehensive well-woman exam and her contraceptive shot.</p><p>"I come here and I do my annual physical here. I also get birth control here [and] Depo shot," Roman says. "I don't know what I would do with a second child right now."</p><p>With the encouragement of staff at the clinic, Roman has gone back to school and is two months away from becoming a medical technician.</p><p>This year, the Republican-controlled Texas legislature and Gov. Rick Perry cut funding for family planning clinics by two-thirds. Dr. Celia Neavel runs the People's Clinic in East Austin and says it is a devastating blow.</p><p>"So that particular funding was used obviously for birth control, but also pap smears, breast cancer screening, for diabetes, thyroid disorders, anemia [and] high cholesterol," Neavel says.</p><p><strong>A 'war on birth control'</strong></p><p>These cuts are less about saving money and more about abortion and contraception. Evangelicals and Tea Party supporters are ascendant in Texas and Gov. Perry is their champion. These cuts are evidence of their political power as well.</p><p>The goal is to get government money out of the abortion process and if contraceptive services have to suffer a bit of collateral damage in the process, so be it. When <em>The Texas Tribune</em> asked state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Nacogdoches), a supporter of the family planning cuts, if this was a war on birth control, he said "yes."</p><p>"Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that's what family planning is supposed to be about," Christian said.</p><p>Family planning clinics are routinely referred to by many Texas Republican legislators as "abortion clinics" even though none of the 71 family planning clinics in the state that receive government funding provide abortions. Texas and federal law prohibits that, but most women's health clinics will refer women or teens who want an abortion to a provider.</p><p>"They're sitting here, referring women out to receive abortions," Christian said in an interview with NPR. "Those are the clinics, including Planned Parenthood, we were targeting."</p><p>Gov. Perry's spokesman did not reply to requests for comment for this story, but Christian said there's no question the Texas governor is an advocate, enthusiastically signing this approach into law.</p><p>"Gov. Perry has supported the pro-life agenda consistently throughout his time in office," he said.</p><p><strong>The state's family planning solution</strong></p><p>The budget cuts to family planning clinics won't in the end save Texas money. The state estimates nearly 300,000 women will lose access to family planning services, resulting in roughly 20,000 additional unplanned births. Texas already spends $1.3 billion on teen pregnancies — more than any other state.</p><p>In San Antonio alone, unplanned children born to teens would fill 175 kindergarten classrooms each year. What's particularly galling to family planning advocates is that part of the money, $8.4 million, that was cut from family planning will now go to Crisis Pregnancy Centers around the state. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are part of the pro-life movement's answer to family planning clinics.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.downtownpc.org/">Downtown Pregnancy Center's office</a> in Dallas is located inside First Baptist Church's building, historically one of the most conservative and powerful Baptist churches in North Texas. Although it looks similar to a doctor's office, it is not a medical clinic; there are no well-woman examinations, no contraception services free or paid and no pap smears.</p><p>There are 165 Crisis Pregnancy Centers across Texas and plenty won't take any state money. The Downtown Pregnancy Center doesn't. The Centers are for women who are willing to keep their babies or give them up for adoption. But clinic president Caroline Cline says, heartbreakingly, only one to two percent are willing to let their babies be adopted. Cline says teens will say to her "I'd rather abort than give my baby up for adoption."</p><p>"It's disappointing, it's very disappointing," she says.</p><p>The Crisis Pregnancy Centers put up billboards letting frightened pregnant teens know that these are places they can turn for help, but that can lead to a bit of a misunderstanding. The clinic gets calls from people asking what kind of abortions they offer and how much do abortions cost, Cline says.</p><p>Nevertheless, these young women are not turned away.</p><p>"We let them know that we don't refer for abortion or perform abortions here, but we're a great place to start," Cline says.</p><p>The fact that millions of dollars that once went to family planning clinics will, in the future, go to Crisis Pregnancy Centers across Texas causes no small amount of bitterness among those who staff the women's health clinics. It's a feeling they're probably going to have to get used to.</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Mon, 19 Sep 2011 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/gov-perry-cut-funds-womens-health-texas-92198