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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 20 August 2003

20 August 2003

20 August 2003 The Age newspaper has run a feature on teenage parents in the wake of the report that Australia has one of the highest teen pregnancy and abortion rates in the world. The feature looks at teenagers who opted against abortion and the challenges and difficulties they have had to deal with. It also looks at the lack of available childcare facilities for young mothers who wish to return to education in order to escape the poverty trap and programmes that are trying to address the problem. [The Age, 19 August ] The director of a Chinese psychiatric hospital has been arrested amid allegations that he sold women patients as wives. Wang Chaoying reportedly drugged the women so that the buyers would not realise initially that they were mentally ill and he is thought to have made more than 20 such transactions since 1998. China has 70 million bachelors unable to find wives, largely due to the one-child policy that has resulted in the aborting of many unborn baby girls. [The Guardian, 20 August ] The UK's first Internet baby has been born to a couple from the south-east of England. The couple bought sperm from a website after a series of failed IVF attempts. The Medical Ethics Alliance has called for the site to be closed down, calling it "a gross abuse and commercialisation of fertility care, which has consequences far beyond the practice of simply buying sperm." [BBC, 19 August ] Researchers from the University of Minnesota have found that adult bone marrow stem cells can differentiate into cells of the midbrain, Science Daily reports. The findings, which have been published in the online early edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that the cells could be used in the future to treat diseases of the central nervous system such as Parkinson's. [Science Daily, 19 August ] Cambridge researchers have reported promising results of drug tests that could eventually be used to treat endometriosis. Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the tissue that lines the womb grows in other parts of the pelvis and can cause infertility in women. It is currently treated through surgery and the administering of drugs to disrupt reproductive hormones, but it is now thought that the condition could be treated through the use of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors to prevent the development of the blood vessels that supply the tissue. Endometriosis currently affects two million women in the UK. [BBC, 20 August ]

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