WBEZ | women http://www.wbez.org/tags/women 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 Facial Feminization Surgery: What Makes A Face Feminine? http://www.wbez.org/news/facial-feminization-surgery-what-makes-face-feminine-113831 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1117_renee-baker-624x351.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96262"><img alt="Renee Baker before facial feminization surgery. (Photo courtesy of Renee Baker)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1117_renee-baker-624x351.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Renee Baker is pictured before facial feminization surgery. (Photo courtesy of Renee Baker)" /><p>Have you ever thought about what makes a face feminine?&nbsp;</p><p>According to one of the surgeons who pioneered facial feminization surgery,&nbsp;what makes a face feminine isn&rsquo;t easy to define.</p></div><p>&ldquo;We hear beauty is only skin deep; it&rsquo;s not,&rdquo; Spiegel says. &ldquo;It has to do a lot with the bones. When we change the face, I need to change the bones. And then the skin is almost like clothing. If a woman puts on a man&rsquo;s shirt it still looks like a woman&hellip;. so the skin, if it sits on the right way on the facial structures, we start to get the right cues.&rdquo;</p><p>As&nbsp;Lauren Silverman&nbsp;from&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/17/facial-feminization-surgery" target="_blank"><em>Here &amp; Now</em></a>&nbsp;member station KERA in Dallas reports, that can make it tricky for people in the transgender community thinking about having surgery. She speaks with Spiegel and Renee Baker, a transgender woman who traveled from Dallas to Boston to receive the surgery.</p></p> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 15:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/facial-feminization-surgery-what-makes-face-feminine-113831 Let's tell Obama #WhatObamaShouldKnow about women in Malaysia http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-11-13/lets-tell-obama-whatobamashouldknow-about-women-malaysia-113787 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/obama-visits-malaysia.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_main/public/obama-visits-malaysia.jpg?itok=iGdpRZrk" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="US President Barack Obama pauses after being introduced at the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall at University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur April 27, 2014. (PRI/Larry Downing)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Selamat Datang, Mr. President!&rdquo; As a Malaysian, I would like to welcome President Barack Obama who is making his second visit to Malaysia in less than seven months.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Obama&rsquo;s last trip here in April made him the first US president to visit Malaysia in nearly 50 years. On that visit, Obama called for equal opportunities for the Malaysia&rsquo;s non-Muslim minority.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But this time his top priority will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive free trade deal with Malaysia and 11 other countries across the region.</div><p>However, we at Across Women&#39;s Lives would like to invite you and your friends to help Obama to look at the status of women in the three countries that he will visit in this trip &mdash;&nbsp;Malaysia, Philippines and Turkey.</p><p>Malaysia was ranked 107th out of 142 countries in the WEF Global Gender Gap 2014, one of the two worst performing country in Southeast Asia together with Cambodia. (East Timor and Myanmar were not ranked.)</p><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/PVUkQ/1/" style="width: 813.25px;" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></div><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-gap.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div><p>A closer look at this annual index published by the World Economic Forum to measure gender equality revealed that Malaysia was given some of the lowest scores in term of women&#39;s political empowerment. The chart below shows the details.</p><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="500" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="https://charts.datawrapper.de/agzjF/index.html" style="width: 813.25px;" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></div><div><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-cabinet.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div></div><div>The weak position of Malaysian women in the public space is further confirmed by another international gender index. The Social Institutions &amp; Gender Index 2014 published by OECD Development Center ranked Malaysia as the country with the highest &quot;restricted civil liberties&quot;&nbsp;in Southeast Asia. This includes negative attitudes toward women as public figures or as leaders.</div><p>The same index found that Malaysia has the second highest &quot;discriminatory family code&quot;&nbsp;in the region after Indonesia. &quot;Discriminatory family code&quot;&nbsp;refers to social institutions that limit women&rsquo;s decision-making power and undervalue their status in the household. This is especially true for Muslims women who are deprived of certain rights under the Sharia laws. For example, Muslim men are allowed to marry up to four women, and they are granted an automatic right to divorce, while women need the approval of a judge if they want a divorce.</p><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="450" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/bisIa/1/" style="width: 813.25px;" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></div><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-family.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div><p>Malaysia practices a unique dual justice system that allows the Sharia laws to run in parallel with secular laws. The Islamic laws only applicable to Muslims who make up approximately 61 percent of the population. The growing of conservative Islam since the 1970s has led to a narrower interpretation of Islamic laws and teachings.</p><p>The discrimination against Muslim women was epitomized by a recent debate over the definition of marital rape following a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/dap-rep-launches-rape-awareness-campaign-targeting-men" target="_blank">rape awareness campaign</a>&nbsp;launched in April with the tagline &quot;Rape is rape. No excuse.&quot;</p><p>But Islamic conservatives, including a state-appointed mufti, challenged the campaign, arguing that men can always have sex with their spouses even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/women-must-give-husbands-sex-even-on-camels-islamic-scholar-says#sthash.qX1O4Ock.dpuf" target="_blank">without their consent</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;Even the Prophet says even when they&rsquo;re riding on the back of the camel, when the husband asks her, she must give ... So there&rsquo;s no such thing as rape in marriage. This is made by European people, why should we follow?&rdquo; Harussani Zakaria, mufti of the Malaysian state of Perak, told a local newspaper.</p><p>The muftis in Malaysia are given power to issue Fatwa which is legally binding for every Muslim.</p><p>Two months later, this view on marital rape was backed by the government when the law minister Nancy Shukri, one of the three female ministers in the cabinet, told the parliament that marital rape&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/06/10/govt-maintains-marital-rape-not-crime/" target="_blank">is not a crime</a>and there is no plan to amend the law.</p><p>The Islamic laws and religious norms also hold Malaysia back from fully complying with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The country has made several reservations with regard to women&#39;s equality in marriage and family relations.</p><div><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-rape.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div><p>Criminalization of transgender</p><p>The discrimination does not stop at Muslim women. Muslim men who want to be women are also facing growing persecution by the religious authority.</p><p>In June this year, religious officials&nbsp;<a href="http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/negri-sembilan-islamic-department-crashes-wedding-for-transgender-hunt" target="_blank">raided a wedding party</a>&nbsp;held in a private home and arrested 17 transgender women invited as guests, including a minor. One was reportedly beaten, choked and kicked by the officials during the arrest. A Sharia court later fined and jailed the 16 adults for seven days. They were put in the male prison and had their heads shaved.</p><p>The offense? Men posing as women, which is a crime under a state Sharia law.</p><p>According to Human Right Watch, while some states in Malaysia also criminalize women posing as men, all arrests to date under these laws have targeted transgender women.</p><p>In a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/09/24/im-scared-be-woman/human-rights-abuses-against-transgender-people-malaysia" target="_blank">report</a>&nbsp;released last year, the international human rights watchdog pointed out that transgender people in Malaysia are fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, physically and sexually assaulted, and denied access to health care because of their gender identities.</p><p>&ldquo;When public officials or private individuals commit violence against transgender people, the victims face serious obstacles &mdash; and at times further sexual abuse &mdash; from the police who are supposed to be helping them,&rdquo; said the report.</p><p>The struggle for transgender right suffered a blow last month when the Malaysian federal court, the highest court in the country, overturned the judgments of two lower courts and reinstated a state law that criminalizes cross-dressing of males as females.</p><p>Rights group Justice for Sisters found that the court&#39;s decision has triggered a wave of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/317227#ixzz3r5p5u7Fn" target="_blank">raids and arrests</a>against the transgender community in several states.</p><div><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-transgender.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div><p>Sex trafficking</p><p>Malaysia was identified by the US State Department and the United Nations as both a destination as well as a transit country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking.</p><p>In her&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15631&amp;LangID=E#sthash.bldkFj5x.dpuf" target="_blank">preliminary report</a>&nbsp;published in March this year after a visit to Malaysia, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, stated that trafficking of young foreign women and children particularly from neighboring countries for the purpose of sexual exploitation is prevalent in the country.</p><p>&ldquo;These young women and children mostly end up into the commercial sex trade following deceptive recruitment practices for legal work in Malaysia.</p><p>&ldquo;There is also information about women and girls from South Asia entering into brokered marriages with older men in Malaysia and subsequently being forced into domestic servitude and forced prostitution,&rdquo; her report states.</p><p>Human trafficking in Malaysia attracted international attention in May when several&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/24/mass-graves-trafficking-malaysia-perlis" target="_blank">mass graves</a>&nbsp;of suspected trafficking victims were found along Malaysia&rsquo;s border with Thailand, and again in July when the US&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-07-27/us-human-trafficking-report-called-toilet-paper-after-it-upgrades-malaysia-s" target="_blank">upgraded Malaysia</a>&nbsp;from tier three, the worst ranking in its 2015 Trafficking in Persons report, to tier two.</p><p>The upgrade was criticized by anti-trafficking groups and activists as a political decision to facilitate Malaysia&rsquo;s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as US legislation bars Obama to fast-track the trade negotiation with countries in tier three.</p><p>A&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/04/us-usa-humantrafficking-disputes-special-idUSKCN0Q821Y20150804" target="_blank">Reuters report</a>&nbsp;published in August revealed that human rights experts at the State Department concluded that Malaysia should remain in tier three as the trafficking conditions in the country hadn&rsquo;t improved. However they were overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured to inflate the assessments of Malaysia.</p><p>Several US lawmakers have since called for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/28/us-usa-malaysia-humantrafficking-idUSKCN0RS2QI20150928" target="_blank">internal probe</a>&nbsp;into the controversial ranking.</p><p>On top of all this, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, who recently claimed he is the only prime minister in the world to be able to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/313831" target="_blank">play golf with Obama</a>, has been implicated in a financial scandal.</p><div><img alt="obama plays golf with malaysian prime minister najibi razak" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/obama-malaysia-najib-golf.jpg?itok=cYje0RJv" title="US President Barack Obama and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak walk off the 18th hole while playing a round of golf at th" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>US&nbsp;President Barack Obama and Malaysia&#39;s Prime Minister Najib Razak walk off the 18th hole while playing a round of golf at the Clipper Golf course on Marine Corps Base Hawaii during Obama&#39;s Christmas holiday vacation in Kaneohe, Hawaii, December 24, 2014.</p></div><div>Credit:&nbsp;<p>Hugh Gentry</p></div></div><p>Razak&rsquo;s opponents say he&rsquo;s capitalizing on his cozy relationship with Obama while his support within the country wavers. Hence there are more reasons for Obama to raise the issues above during his visit to Malaysia.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 14:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-11-13/lets-tell-obama-whatobamashouldknow-about-women-malaysia-113787 More women are playing fantasy sports http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-06/more-women-are-playing-fantasy-sports-113677 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/adrienne samuels gibbs.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The fantasy sports world has long been dominated by men. But with every passing season, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2015/01/22/fantasy-sports-daily-games-women-customers/22198493/">more women are getting in on the action</a>. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, women account for a third of all fantasy football managers this year &mdash; up from 20 percent last year. And that&rsquo;s important because the NFL expects women to play a major role in the growth of the league, and the growth of advertising dollars, in the future.</p><p>Journalist and fantasy football participant <a href="https://twitter.com/AdrienneWrites?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Adrienne Samuels Gibbs</a> and USA Today Sports writer<a href="https://twitter.com/Schrotenboer?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor"> Brent Schrotenboer </a>join us.</p></p> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 12:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-06/more-women-are-playing-fantasy-sports-113677 Former Marine says some combat roles should be off-limits to women http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-19/former-marine-says-some-combat-roles-should-be-limits-women-113413 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1019_lisa-jaster-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_94534"><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Maj. Lisa Jaster following an Army Ranger school graduation ceremony, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in Fort Benning, Ga. Jaster, who is the first Army Reserve female to graduate the Army's Ranger School, joins U.S. Army Capt. Kristen Griest and First Lt. Shaye Haver as the third female soldier to complete the school. (Branden Camp/AP)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/10/1019_lisa-jaster-624x416.jpg" title="Maj. Lisa Jaster is pictured following an Army Ranger school graduation ceremony, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in Fort Benning, Ga. Jaster, joins U.S. Army Capt. Kristen Griest and First Lt. Shaye Haver as the third female soldier to complete the school. (Branden Camp/AP)" /></p><p>The ban on women in combat was lifted in 2013, and now Defense Secretary Ash Carter has until the end of the year to decide which positions will be open to women. The Marines are asking that infantry and reconnaissance jobs be excluded.</p></div><p>In a series of conversations about women in combat,&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now</em>&nbsp;heard from a&nbsp;<a href="https://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/09/29/women-in-combat-debate" target="_blank">female Army veteran</a>&nbsp;and a&nbsp;<a href="https://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/08/women-in-combat-sebastian-bae" target="_blank">male former Marine</a>, both of whom believe combat roles should be open to women.</p><p>Today, host Robin Young hears from a <a href="https://twitter.com/primepaychad" target="_blank">former Marine</a> who has come to a different conclusion, and who believes including women in certain combat roles would be a distraction.</p><hr /><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Interview Highlights: Chad Russell</strong></span></p><p><strong>On comments saying that women should be banned from combat</strong></p><p>&ldquo;So I think the way that the argument currently is being framed is a little bit off. I think what a lot of people in the audience probably don&rsquo;t realize is that, you know, what does women in combat mean &ndash; what does that mean versus specifically barring females from the infantry specifically? So there&rsquo;s a big difference, so I&rsquo;d kind of like to throw that out there first.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On the argument that women help in combat</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Right, I understand that. And that&rsquo;s where I think it&rsquo;s more a matter of value and function, meaning I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s a matter of value. I think females bring an equal value to the military in general, but where I think the difference is, it&rsquo;s about our functionality. You know, if you don&rsquo;t mind, I&rsquo;d like to share something that I got from an anonymous person that has served a career in the military &ndash; still active. So this is what he says:</p><blockquote><p><em>&lsquo;The life of an infantryman is no glory. It&rsquo;s strictly about staying alive and keeping each other alive while defeating the enemy. And for all those who say females are already in combat, there&rsquo;s a big difference between being in a combat zone or in actual combat. Being in a combat zone or on a convoy once in a while exposed to an IED [improvised explosive device] is quite different than being in a sustained, direct action against the enemy up close and personal. </em></p><p><em>There&rsquo;s no comparison so please stop making it. I have killed from a distance and I have killed as close as a foot away and, more importantly, I&rsquo;ve watched good Marines who were great people and had bright futures ahead of them get killed. There&rsquo;s no glory in killing or being killed, not when it involves the lives of the futures of very good young people.&nbsp;</em></p><p><em>This is not a video game where you can press reset and combat is not about equal opportunities. It&rsquo;s about surviving and it&rsquo;s about defeating the enemy.&rsquo; </em></p></blockquote><p>So I think that right there frames the undercurrent inside the Marine Corps infantry and where maybe a lot of these sentiments are at, at this current point.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Are you saying a woman can&rsquo;t perform in combat?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Absolutely not. Of course, they could do those things, but it&rsquo;s a matter of is this a necessity to do this or is this a political desire coming from an outside influence? And that&rsquo;s where my biggest beef with all of this is, is that we have so many things going on in the military, why is this something that is being forced on the infantry, in my opinion.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Do you think women won&rsquo;t be safe in combat?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s one aspect of it. It&rsquo;s tough to get an idea of this when you&rsquo;re out in the civilian world and you&rsquo;re trying to understand where these riflemen, infantrymen are coming from. And since I lived it, and I did three combat tours in Iraq, and I was engaged in direct combat with the enemy on every deployment that I was on &ndash; I&rsquo;ve really thought about this and tried to stay objective. It&rsquo;s tough when you&rsquo;re in the Marine Corps and it is all guys and you&rsquo;re around all guys. However, there seems to be this push, and regarding these test results that came out, the secretary of the Navy &ndash; he is already decided. He kind of showed his hand and we kind of saw that with the Sgt. Maj. LeHew and the Marine Corps in a private Facebook post. I don&rsquo;t know if you saw that or not.</p><p>Actually, I have an excerpt of that if you don&rsquo;t mind me sharing it. He was one of the top Marines in charge of the training, and this was a part of what he said here:&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p><em>&lsquo;This was as stacked as a unit could get with the best Marines to give it 100 percent success rate as we possibly could. </em><em>End</em><em> result, the best women in the test as a group in regards to the infantry operations were equal or below in most all cases to the lowest 5 percent of men as a group in the test study. They are slower on all accounts and almost every technical and tactical aspect, and physically weaker in every aspect across the range of the military operation. Secretary of the Navy has stated that he has made up his mind even before the release of the </em><em>results,</em><em> and that the United States Marine Corps test unit will not change his mind on anything. </em></p><p><em>Listen up folks, your senior leadership of this country does not want to see America overwhelmingly succeed on the battlefield. It wants to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to pursue whatever they want regardless of the outcome on national security.&rsquo;&rdquo;</em></p></blockquote><p><strong>What about those that argue women offer a softer and important side to war &ndash; reaching out to communities and speaking with them?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Right, and I understand that. And you know, as an attachment asset, I can see that. But there&rsquo;s a big difference being exposed to an IED, right, going out and being an attachment versus being in a sustained combat role day, after day, after day in these high-stress environments. It really boils down to that bottom line of &ndash; we have a saying in the Marine Corps &lsquo;complacency kills.&rsquo; Every deployment I was around females and my last deployment was on ship, there was&nbsp;females there and there was&nbsp;little relationships blossoming on the ship. I mean I just was like, I stayed away from that stuff, but I could see it happening, because in the air wing in the Marine Corps, you&rsquo;ve got females on the ship. I&rsquo;ve served three tours and most of the time I was not around females in the infantry. On deployment though, if we were around the army base where females were, every time we were around females, I mean, the radar &ndash; beep, beep, beep, beep, beep &ndash; goes up on the guys, because we&rsquo;re all, you know, pent up. We&rsquo;re young guys. We have a strong sexual drive and we are noticing them and going out of our way to notice them. So it does create a distraction. I can&rsquo;t imagine going through Fallujah and, you know, having a bunch of females in the platoons. I just can&rsquo;t imagine it.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/19/women-combat-chad-russell" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Mon, 19 Oct 2015 17:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-19/former-marine-says-some-combat-roles-should-be-limits-women-113413 Women face unique retirement concerns http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-19/women-face-unique-retirement-concerns-113406 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/3702337311_5b8469551b_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_94538"><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Anita Dante, in her late 60s, searches for a job in a local newspaper's classified section at her home July 26, 2002 in Margate, Florida. After working for most of her life, Dante had planned on retiring, but her plans have changed. A financial adviser explained that she should be more aggressive in her investments approximately 2 1/2 years ago. Dante has since lost most of her retirement nest egg and must now get a job to continue to support herself. Like Anita Dante, many people around the U.S., who are reaching retirement age, are having to rethink their strategy with investments plummeting and 401 (k) saving plans shrinking. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/10/1019_women-retirement-624x417.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Anita Dante, in her late 60s, searches for a job in a local newspaper’s classified section at her home July 26, 2002 in Margate, Florida. After working for most of her life, Dante had planned on retiring, but her plans have changed. A financial adviser explained that she should be more aggressive in her investments. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)" /></p><p>A recent&nbsp;<a href="https://www.financialfinesse.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2015_Gender_Gap_report_final_brief_9-15.pdf" target="_blank">study</a>&nbsp;from the group Financial Finesse finds that women, on average, are more than $268,000 short of what they need to retire comfortably.</p><p>That&rsquo;s compared to men, who are $212,000 short on average.</p></div><p>Women face&nbsp;a number of unique issues when it comes to&nbsp;retirement. There&#39;s the gender pay gap and women typically live longer, meaning that they need more money to retire than men.</p><p>They also may spend fewer years in the workforce, taking time out for raising children or caring for elderly parents.</p><p>CBS&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/jillonmoney" target="_blank">Jill Schlesinger&nbsp;</a>speaks with<em>&nbsp;Here &amp; Now&#39;s</em> Robin Young about the unique problems women face when it comes to retirement.</p><p><a href="http://www.choosetosave.org/" target="_blank">&ldquo;Choose to Save&rdquo; retirement calculator</a></p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/19/women-retirement-concerns" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Mon, 19 Oct 2015 13:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-19/women-face-unique-retirement-concerns-113406 The Taliban had a hit list of working women when they took over Kunduz http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-16/taliban-had-hit-list-working-women-when-they-took-over-kunduz-113377 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RTR3HR63.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_main/public/story/images/RTR3HR63.jpg?itok=gdpohv0x" style="border: 0px; vertical-align: bottom; max-width: 100%; height: 349px; color: rgb(51, 51, 60); font-family: 'Source Sans Pro', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, 'Nimbus Sans L', sans-serif; font-size: 18px; line-height: 27px; width: 620px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" title="Women turned out for an election campaign event in Kunduz province, northern Afghanistan last year. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></p><div><div><p>When the Taliban overran the city of Kunduz last month, their fighters pounded on doors, carrying long lists.&nbsp;&quot;They were looking for women who had any kind of job outside the house,&quot; says Manizha Naderi, director of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.womenforafghanwomen.org/" target="_blank">Women for Afghan Women</a>.</p><p>&quot;They actually had a hit list. They knew addresses. They knew that, at 7:30&nbsp;in the morning, a car was coming to pick the women up and take them to their offices,&quot; she says.&nbsp;</p></div><p>Naderi is based in Kabul, but her&nbsp;group runs a shelter for abused women in Kunduz. It also operates a family guidance center and a center for the children of women in the Kunduz prison. Naderi says the Taliban went to the home of one the caretakers of the group&#39;s facilities.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;She was hiding in the basement. Her husband confronted the Taliban and said &#39;My wife is a housewife, she doesn&#39;t work outside of the house,&#39;&quot; Naderi says. &quot;They shot him in the head, point blank.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Most of Naderi&#39;s staff had fled the city by then. So when the Taliban broke down the doors of of the Kunduz women&#39;s shelter, they found no one there.&nbsp;That&#39;s when the insurgents destroyed the desks, stole the computers and cars &mdash;&nbsp;and then set fire to the building.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Every single educated woman, or even the uneducated women who had jobs outside of the house, had fled Kunduz,&quot; Naderi notes, so&nbsp;&quot;I guess they got angry that nobody was there.&quot;</p><p>The Taliban was especially intent on finding Dr. Hassina Sarwari, who has been the group&#39;s Kunduz director since 2010.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;She was the very first people they came to look for,&quot; Naderi says. &quot;They invaded Kunduz at 2 am. At 9 am, they were already in her house.&quot;</p><p>But Sarwari had already escaped the city.</p><p>Even now that the Afghan army has control of Kunduz, Sarwari, who has&nbsp;two young girls, isn&#39;t sure it&#39;s wise to return. She&#39;s worried about a warning the Taliban has issued, declaring that Sarwari&nbsp;&quot;would be hanged in the main circle in Kunduz city,&quot; if she sets foot there again. &nbsp;</p><p>But Naderi says some of the women who work for her group&nbsp;are willing to return to Kunduz.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;We at Women for Afghan Women are definitely committed to going back and starting our shelters and our family guidance centers,&quot; she says. &quot;We will do that in due time.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Naderi was buoyed by news today that the White House plans to keep 5,500 US&nbsp;troops in Afghanistan at least until 2017.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;This is what we wanted,&quot; she says. &quot;The Taliban now know that the US isn&#39;t going anywhere, that they have the Afghan security forces&#39; back. It will definitely make an impact.&quot;</p></div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-15/taliban-had-hit-list-working-women-when-they-took-over-kunduz" target="_blank"><em> via PRI&#39;s The World</em></a></p></p> Fri, 16 Oct 2015 12:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-16/taliban-had-hit-list-working-women-when-they-took-over-kunduz-113377 No more nudity in Playboy http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-13/no-more-nudity-playboy-113322 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/The%20first%20issue%20of%20Playboy%20magazine%20featuring%20Marilyn%20Monroe%2C%20left%2C%20and%20a%20boxed%20DVD%20set%20of%20Playboy%20magazines%20from%20the%201950s%20are%20shown%20in%20New%20York%20on%20Monday%2C%20July%2016%2C%202007.%20%28.jpg" style="height: 399px; width: 620px;" title="The first issue of Playboy magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe, left, and a boxed DVD set of Playboy magazines from the 1950s are shown in New York on Monday, July 16, 2007. (Mark Lennihan/AP)" /></div><div>Playboy magazine will no longer publish images of nude women beginning this spring, though the magazine will still have photographs of women in suggestive poses, according to a statement from Playboy. It&rsquo;s part of a big redesign, and an effort to attract more readers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The company&rsquo;s chief executive Scott Flanders&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/business/media/nudes-are-old-news-at-playboy.html" target="_blank">told The New York Times</a>&nbsp;that the Internet has changed things for his publication. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it&rsquo;s just passé at this juncture,&rdquo; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>RELATED STORY: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-13/china-playboy-always-has-been-known-bath-products-113320" target="_blank">I</a><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-13/china-playboy-always-has-been-known-bath-products-113320">n China, Playboy always has been known ... for bath products</a></strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong></strong><em>Here &amp; Now&#39;s</em> Jeremy Hobson takes a look at this business decision with&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/jasonbellini?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor" target="_blank">Jason Bellini</a>&nbsp;of The Wall Street Journal.</div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/13/no-more-nudity-in-playboy" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Tue, 13 Oct 2015 16:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-13/no-more-nudity-playboy-113322 Cleveland’s struggle to diversify its police force http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-12/cleveland%E2%80%99s-struggle-diversify-its-police-force-113286 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/A%20new%20class%20of%20police%20officers%20lines%20up%20in%20Cleveland%20City%20Hall%20in%202015..jpg" title="A new class of police officers lines up in Cleveland City Hall in 2015. (Nick Castele/ideastream)" /></div><div><p>Two independent investigations have found that police were acting reasonably in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Rice, who was African-American, was carrying an airsoft pellet gun when he was shot by a white police officer in November 2014. A grand jury will decide whether the officer will face criminal charges.</p><p>Cleveland is now carrying out its police reform agreement with the Justice Department to diversify its police force and bring in more African-Americans, Hispanics and women.&nbsp;Nick Castele&nbsp;of&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now</em>&nbsp;contributor WCPN reports that the city&rsquo;s long history of police using force on black citizens makes it difficult to recruit.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/12/cleveland-police-diversity" target="_blank"><em>via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 11:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-12/cleveland%E2%80%99s-struggle-diversify-its-police-force-113286 Women find a fertility test isn't as reliable as they'd like http://www.wbez.org/news/women-find-fertility-test-isnt-reliable-theyd-113177 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/egg-freezing.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res445316929"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Maria Fabrizio for NPR" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/02/egg-freezing_wide-310ccb910c29f53d74912c68bf9c8e4e8636df41-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 342px; width: 610px;" title="(Maria Fabrizio for NPR)" /></div><div>Women concerned about their fertility can use a test to help decide whether they should freeze their eggs now or whether they still have time to have a baby.</div></div><p>But this test, called an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Gynecologic-Practice/Ovarian-Reserve-Testing">ovarian reserve test</a>, is often ambiguous and can be misinterpreted. Some fertility specialists worry that many women will be misled by their results, leading some to feel pressured to freeze their eggs when they don&#39;t need to and others to miss their best window to do so.</p><p>A few months ago, I was in Samantha Margolis&#39; kitchen in Washington, D.C., where she was getting ready to give herself an injection. In front of her were several small vials filled with hormones. Margolis was mixing the hormones with saline solution and then injecting them just below her belly button.</p><p>Margolis did these injections every day for 10 days to stimulate her ovaries to make several eggs grow at once. In a normal monthly cycle, just one egg grows and is released at ovulation, but flooding the ovaries with these hormones coaxes them to make more mature eggs.</p><p>At the end of the 10 days, Margolis had a medical procedure to retrieve the mature eggs so they could be frozen at Shady Grove Fertility Center. The idea behind egg freezing is that since the number of eggs and the quality of them decline in women over time, women can preserve eggs when they&#39;re younger to increase their chances of having a baby if they have a fertility issue in the future.</p><p>Margolis, who&#39;s 36, decided to freeze her eggs early this year after getting two key pieces of information about her fertility. First, she learned that her mother had gone through menopause at age 40, and her grandmother had gone through it at 38. (Studies show there is a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2856641/">genetic component</a>&nbsp;to the age at which a woman goes through menopause.)</p><p>She also got the results of an ovarian reserve test.</p><p>Different fertility centers have different versions of this test, but every woman exploring the option of egg freezing has to take one so that doctors can figure out whether she is a good candidate for the procedure. At many fertility centers, the test involves measuring three different hormones in the blood that typically change dramatically in women between age 35 and menopause. There&#39;s also an ultrasound to count follicles, which is where eggs mature in the ovaries.</p><p>Doctors put all this information together, to get a rough picture of a woman&#39;s egg supply. Margolis&#39; results didn&#39;t look good. When she asked her doctor whether she should freeze her eggs, &quot;She said to me &#39;Samantha, I&#39;m not an alarmist, but I would do this, and I would do it as soon as you can. I wouldn&#39;t wait.&#39; &quot;</p><p>Two cycles of hormones and $22,000 later, Margolis got just eight eggs to freeze. Doctors recommend having 15 to 20 eggs for the best chance of making a baby with them later through in vitro fertilization.</p><p>Margolis says she&#39;s glad she froze her eggs when she did. But, she says, &quot;I wish that [this test] was at a certain age was part of your annual [gynecologic] exam. There is no question that if I would have had this test earlier and known what my count was that I would have done this years ago.&quot; Had she done the procedure earlier, she also might have gotten closer to the goal of 15 to 20 eggs for freezing.</p><p>Reproductive medicine specialists say ovarian reserve testing can be useful for women like Margolis who discover when they take it that their egg supply may be running low. &quot;The ability to both test for your egg supply and at the same time do something about it is really amazing,&quot; says Dr.&nbsp;<a href="http://reprosource.com/about/leadership/">Benjamin Leader</a>, a fertility diagnostics researcher and CEO of ReproSource, a fertility testing company in Woburn, Mass.</p><p>But fertility experts also worry that many women will be misled by their test results. &quot;There are issues with the test, the reliability of the test,&quot; says Dr.&nbsp;<a href="https://weillcornell.org/spfeifer">Samantha Pfeifer</a>, an associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and chairwoman of a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.asrm.org/Guidelines_for_Practice/">committee</a>&nbsp;at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine that guides doctors in her field.</p><p>Women are born with all of their eggs (some 1 million to 2 million total). One mature egg is typically released each month in the menstrual cycle. Meanwhile, other&nbsp;<a href="http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/your-guide-female-reproductive-system?page=3">eggs are slowly dying</a>.</p><p>Beginning around age 25, the number of eggs starts to decline a bit more swiftly, and then accelerates after 35 until menopause, when eggs are essentially gone. As the quantity of eggs declines, the quality of the remaining eggs is also deteriorating, which can also affect a woman&#39;s ability to conceive. (Egg quantity and quality are just a few of many different factors that can make it difficult for a couple to conceive.)</p><p>The ovarian reserve test was originally developed to measure egg supply in women who were struggling to get pregnant &mdash; not in women who wanted to freeze their eggs. Doctors realized that some of these women could benefit from ovarian stimulation to produce eggs to use in in vitro fertilization because they still had a lot of eggs left. Those women responded well to hormones &mdash; the same ones Samantha Margolis took in her own egg freezing process. (Women undergoing egg freezing and women doing IVF undergo the same ovarian stimulation process to make eggs &mdash; the difference is that the IVF patients usually use their eggs right away.)</p><div id="res445308914"><div><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/fertility-amh-20151002/child.html">&nbsp;</p></div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>In particular, researchers realized that measuring one hormone, called anti-Mullerian hormone, or AMH, in the blood seemed to help predict whether a woman&#39;s ovaries would respond well to the drugs. Higher AMH meant that a woman was likely to produce more eggs under stimulation, while lower levels usually yielded fewer eggs.</p><p>In March, the ASRM practice committee that Pfeifer chairs published a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(12)02255-8/abstract">paper</a>&nbsp;in the journal of&nbsp;Fertility and Sterility&nbsp;noting that &quot;there is mounting evidence to support the use of AMH as a screening test for poor ovarian response.&quot; The paper also noted that the three other hormones fertility centers often check &mdash; FSH, estradiol and inhibin B &mdash; are only poor to fair measures of how a woman&#39;s ovaries will respond to stimulation or her ability to conceive.</p><p>Even though the AMH level may be one of the strongest tools doctors have to assess egg supply, it still can be difficult to interpret what it means, since the range of AMH levels in women of the same age can be huge. Age still is a very important predictor of fertility, but&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(10)02687-7/fulltext">one recent study</a>&nbsp;of about 17,000 women in the U.S. found that AMH levels are very unevenly distributed by age. And AMH may decline faster in some women than others.</p><p>Pfeifer says that overall, the ovarian reserve test is not that precise, and is just a snapshot of one moment in time. &quot;These tests do not tell me how many eggs are left; they can generally give you a sense of are there a lot of eggs there, or fewer eggs remaining,&quot; she says. &quot;But they&#39;re not really predictive of when someone is going to go through menopause or be able to achieve a pregnancy.&quot;</p><p>Studies have also shown that there can be a lot of variability in test results, even for the same samples from the same woman. Leader says that&#39;s because different labs have different methods and don&#39;t calibrate their results to the same clinical outcomes.</p><p>For example, Leader says, &quot;When results from one lab are compared to another, a &#39;concerning&#39; result may not be &#39;concerning&#39; for a given condition, and, vice versa, a &#39;reassuring&#39; result may not actually be &#39;reassuring.&#39; &quot; Leader says that the best way to interpret test results is to calibrate the numbers to the &quot;gold standard definition for egg supply,&quot; which is the number of eggs retrieved after the ovaries have been stimulated with hormones. This is how his company ReproSource calibrates egg supply for its patients and clinicians.</p><p>The worst case scenario of using an inaccurate test is that a woman might feel pressured to freeze her eggs because of ominous results when she actually has plenty of eggs left, while another woman might perceive a rosy outlook when she actually may be nearing the end of her egg supply.</p><p>Because of all the uncertainty in measuring egg supply in individual patients, Pfeifer says it&#39;s way too soon to be offering this test as part of regular gynecologic exams.</p><p>&quot;I think that for some people this test is very helpful in guiding them in decision making, but for other people, it may not in and of itself direct them that accurately,&quot; she says.</p><p>People in the egg freezing business see it differently. Many of them say all women should get the test to be better informed about their fertility.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s no reason why we shouldn&#39;t be doing this test on an annual basis,&quot; says Jay Palumbo, a vice president at Eggbanxx in New York. It&#39;s a company that markets egg freezing with parties branded&nbsp;<a href="https://www.eggbanxx.com/events">Let&#39;s Chill</a>. Palumbo calls herself a &quot;fertility matchmaker&quot; because she helps women who want to freeze their eggs find doctors who will do it.</p><p>She says many of the women who call her looking for a doctor have gotten bad news from the test. &quot;The egg freezing population &mdash; about 20 percent of them find out they have a fertility issue,&quot; she says. &quot;And it&#39;s interesting to hopefully catch people early on in the process so hopefully that maybe, possibly they&#39;re able to avoid some of the heartache later on.&quot;</p><p>The heartache, as the fertility industry sees it, is having no eggs, or no good quality eggs, left when the time comes to try and get pregnant.</p><p>Many women, though, just won&#39;t get clear information from the test. That can make a major life decision like egg freezing more agonizing. You already have to weigh the cost &mdash; $8,000 to $30,000, depending how many rounds of hormones you have to do &mdash; and the possible side effects of the hormones, which include&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ovarian-hyperstimulation-syndrome-ohss/basics/definition/con-20033777">ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome</a>. And then there&#39;s the fact that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/08/28/435251307/freezing-eggs-may-reduce-a-womans-odds-of-success-with-ivf">success rates</a>&nbsp;for a live birth from frozen eggs are lower than for fresh eggs.</p><p>The test can be dangerous in other ways, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://womensmentalhealthconsortium.net/galst">Joann Galst</a>, a psychologist in New York City who specializes in women&#39;s fertility issues. Measuring your fertility can be like a Pandora&#39;s box. &quot;This is a really personal field in terms of how people feel about themselves as beings and their future life goals and parenting, Galst says. &quot;It hits them in a very profound deep way to get any information that there may be a problem in this area.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s why every woman getting the test should ensure they use a lab that gives meaningful results and find a doctor or nurse trained to interpret these results or women may get an inaccurate picture of their fertility, according to Leader of ReproSource.</p><p>Pfeifer of Weill Cornell says that as testing improves, doctors will be able to better guide patients to the right decision.</p><p>&quot;Ideally we&#39;d love to know how can we predict who should freeze their eggs, for example, or who should try and get pregnant sooner; who should do something sooner because their fertility decline faster than expected,&quot; says Pfeifer. &quot;And if we can say these people don&#39;t have to freeze their eggs because they should have no difficulty getting pregnant well into their late 30s &mdash; well, that&#39;d be great to know that.&quot;</p><p>But for now, Pfeifer says, this test isn&#39;t there.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/05/444479324/women-find-a-fertility-test-isnt-as-reliable-as-theyd-like?ft=nprml&amp;f=444479324"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 12:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/women-find-fertility-test-isnt-reliable-theyd-113177