News on Health & Science

Abortion Leads to Next Premature Delivery


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Women who have an abortion could be risking the health of their next baby, it  emerged last night. Those who terminate a pregnancy are subsequently more likely to give birth prematurely, with two or more abortions more than doubling the odds.
Premature babies are at greater risk of health problems, with one in ten having lung disease, cerebral palsy, blindness or deafness.

Fertility doctors said the study did not prove abortion caused premature births because some of the reasons why women choose to terminate a pregnancy  –  such as unemployment or money worries  –  are also linked to early birth.

But other experts said the evidence was ‘compelling’ and insisted women seeking abortions should be warned of the risk. The data, revealed at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Amsterdam, comes as abortion rates hit record levels.

More than 200,000 women a year in England and Wales choose to terminate pregnancies  –  second only to the U.S. in the West.

The link between abortion and premature birth emerged during a review of dozens studies on pregnancy complications. Combining the results revealed that having one abortion raised the risk of the woman having her next baby prematurely, which is defined as before 37  weeks, by 20 per cent.

The risk of a very premature baby before 34 weeks rose by 50 per cent.

Women who had two or more abortions were almost twice as likely to have a premature baby and two and a half times as likely to have one very prematurely.

Dr Robbert van Oppenraaij, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, said it was not clear what caused the link, suggesting that abortion may harm the womb or create infection.

Smoking, drug use, unemployment and low income are also associated with abortion and premature birth. However, others said it made ‘total sense’. Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment On Reproductive Ethics, said: ‘There’s a logic. The body is protecting a healthy baby. By producing a abortion, you destroy that protection and make the cervix  –  the neck of the womb  –  more vulnerable.

‘And if you make the cervix more vulnerable, you are more at risk of a premature baby. ‘You don’t need a degree in biology to understand that.’

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which carries out almost a third of abortions in Britain, said leaflets it gives patients mention the link to premature birth.

Medical director Dr Patricia Lohr said: ‘Abortion is extremely safe. When we counsel women, we provide them with information about the potential for a slightly higher risk of miscarriage or early birth.’
Scores of girls as young as 12 have abortions every year, Government figures show.

More than 450 under the age of 14 terminated pregnancies between 2005 and 2008, including 23 aged 12, Department of Health statistics reveal.

In the same period, 52 had at least their fourth termination before they were 18. Across all age groups, 64,715 repeat abortions were carried out last year, the most on record.

The figure included 46 women who had terminated at least eight pregnancies.

Research this year found that abortions on teenagers who have already had at least one termination had risen by almost 70 per cent since 1991.

MailOnline 29th. June.’09

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News on Health & Science

More Sex May Help Damaged Sperm

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For men with fertility problems, some doctors are prescribing a very conventional way to have a baby: more sex.

In a study of 118 Australian men with damaged sperm, doctors found that having sex every day for a week significantly reduced the amount of DNA damage in their patients’ sperm. Previous studies have linked better sperm quality to higher pregnancy rates.

The research was announced Tuesday at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Amsterdam.

Dr David Greening of Sydney IVF, a private fertility clinic in Australia, and colleagues looked at 118 men who had damaged sperm. Greening and colleagues told the men to have sex every day for a week. After seven days, the doctors found that in 81 percent of the men, there was a 12 percent decrease in the amount of damaged sperm.

Many fertility experts suggest men abstain from sex before their partners have in-vitro fertilization, to try to elevate their sperm counts.

Sperm quality can also be improved if men don’t smoke, drink moderately, exercise, or get more antioxidants.

Since concluding the study, Greening says he now instructs all couples seeking fertility advice to start by having more sex. “Some of the older men look a little concerned,” he said. “But the younger ones seem quite happy about it.”

Experts think sex helps reduce the DNA damage in sperm by getting it out of the body quickly; if sperm is in the body for too long, it has a higher chance of getting damaged.

Some experts said that while Greening’s research is promising, it doesn’t prove that daily sex for men with fertility problems will actually produce more babies.

Greening said he and his colleagues are still analyzing the study data to determine how many women got pregnant.

“Looking at sperm DNA is just one part of the puzzle,” said Bill Ledger, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Sheffield, who was not connected to the research. “Maybe this will improve pregnancy rates, but we still need to do more studies.”

Ledger said instructing couples with infertility problems to have more sex could stress their relationship. “This may add even more anxiety and do more harm than good,” he said. He said couples shouldn’t feel pressured to adjust their sex lives just for the sake of having a baby.

Greening said the study’s findings were ultimately very intuitive. “If you want to have a baby, our advice is to do it often.”

Source: The TimersOf India

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