Whenever you're feeling down about the grim economy, stop and consider for a moment that your ovaries are tiny goldmines. Over 5,000 American babies each year are born from eggs "donated" to in vitro fertilization clinics or couples -- but in reality, those eggs are rarely donated. Instead, as you've probably gleaned from the backpage ads of alt-weeklies, some families are willing to pay big money for egg donors. The average payment for a US egg donor, according to researcher Harvard researcher Deborah Spar, is $5,000.
But strangely, until now, it has been illegal to pay women who give eggs for research rather than reproduction. This month New York state okayed cutting checks to women who undergo (often difficult) weeks of hormone treatment to donate eggs for stem cell research.
The state expects a backlash and it's getting some from bioethics and religious groups. But the legal change raises the question of whether it's okay to pay women for their eggs at all - and if so, why have different rules for research eggs and babymaking eggs?
Not only is it natural to be gay, but biologists this week reported that same-sex mating is a nearly universal phenomena. It turns out 30 percent of one type of female Hawaiian albatross rears chicks with, well, other chicks. Let's hear some cheers for the queers!
In an article published this week in journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution researchers Nathan Bailey and Marlene Zuk basically say that scientists (and, what the heck, everyone else too) need to look at homosexuality in animals from a more nuanced perspective. We've known for a while that members of an estimated 1,500 species play it gay sometimes but, Bailey and Zuk point out, animals ditch the straight life for all different reasons. Some creatures adapt to being gay, some are genetically programmed so they can't even distinguish between gender.
Apparently for the animal world, our words "gay" and "straight" just aren't going to work. Does that mean they don't quite fit for humans, too?
How do you keep female nurses working in low-playing jobs without improving their wages or conditions? Offer them breast implants, apparently. The New York Times reported on Sunday that hospitals in Prague lure nurses to renew their contracts by offering complimentary breast implants, liposuction and tummy tucks.
"I feel better when I look in the mirror," explains one nurse, Petra Kalivodova. "We were always taught that if a nurse is nice, intelligent, loves her work and looks attractive, then patients will recover faster."
It's gross that the global nursing shortage has led to this end in Prague. Hospitals have trouble recruiting nurses because the mostly-female occupation has a bad rap: nurses in the country earn less than bus drivers and movies and other media have built up this idea that nurses must be sexy – that being attractive is actually an essential part of patients' healing.
Nursing is one of the few careers in science and healthcare that's dominated by women. And now hospitals are reinforcing retro sexy-nurse stereotypes by offering breast implants instead of wage increases?
There is not much we can agree on as a nation, but if there's one thing we every American should be able to declare a common enemy, it's cancer. Right? Sometimes we're allies with Afghanistan, sometimes we let North Korea slide but we, as modern intelligent Americans, will never defend that old varmint cancer.
So then why are some true-blooded American politicians getting on their soapboxes to kill legislation that could help kill cancer? The way some politicos are spinning it, female sexuality is a greater risk to our nation than cancers that kill 3,700 American women every year.
The HPV vaccine shouldn't be controversial – it prevents 90 percent of those types of deadly cancers in women. But as the HPV vaccine snags headlines recently thanks to new research showing it's more effective than previously thought, conservative leaders are seizing the spotlight to swap morality for science and make sexually-active women the threat, rather than our arch-nemesis cancer.
With scientific studies, mainstream media often seems to be playing a massive game of telephone. Figuring out what a scientist actually reported means back tracking through headlines that one-up each other in exaggeration, simplification and pure sex-upification results to snag readers. The game ended last month with the UK Telegraph declaring, "Women with brains have more fun in bed than the average bimbo." Oh gawd. How did this get started?
Any regular follower of mine knows that I am the world's biggest fan girl for Salma Hayek. She is beautiful, she's a self-described feminist, she fights to make a place for women of color in general and Latinas specifically in the world of entertainment, AND she's an advocate of breast feeding!
The following was apparently an ad that NBC refused to show during the Super Bowl. It is a commercial featuring an ultra sound of an unborn baby--which all wraps up into an image of Obama. The basic message being: if Obama's mother had aborted him because it was going to be "hard" to raise him, the U.S. never would have achieved the historic election of a black man."
This week, an unnamed woman gave birth to eight children after recieving fertility treatment. As details of her background surface, so does criticism and questions about her choice to raise a total of fourteen young children.