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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 3 November 2003

3 November 2003

3 November 2003 A study published in the journal Human Reproduction suggests that women who donate their eggs in exchange for cut-price IVF treatment are not at risk of added side effects. At the hospital where the study was conducted, couples pay £3,000 for an IVF treatment cycle, but only £500 if they agree to share the woman's eggs. 45 of the 95 fertility clinics in the UK operate egg-sharing schemes. [BBC, 3 November ] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary, commented: "Regardless of the pregnancy success rates associated with egg sharing, egg sharing should be illegal, because such barter is simply a devious way of evading the legal ban on the sale of gametes." The number of caesarean sections carried out in Ireland has trebled in 20 years, according to new figures. In 1982 6.2% births were caesarean, compared with 20% in 1999. The survey also found that women who have undergone a c-section are more willing to repeat the procedure and some 8% of mothers choose it simply to avoid labour pain. [Breaking News, 2 November ] USAID's 'family planning' programmes in Egypt have been criticised by leftwing and Islamic MPs, who have accused America of having a political interest in reducing the birth rate of Egyptians. However, President Mubarak has warned of the dangers of a 'population explosion' and the Egyptian birth rate has been brought down from 5.3 to 3.5 in 20 years. USAID has spent some $200 million in Egypt in 25 years. [Al Ahram Weekly, 2 November ] New research into the government's health policy has found that STI rates among teenagers increase in areas with greater access to family planning clinics. Dr David Paton of Nottingham University, stated: "We are pretty sure, statistically, that the increase in clinic sessions was associated with an increase in diagnosis rates. Sexually transmitted infection diagnoses increased by about 15% between 1999 and 2001 - one tenth of this was due to clinics." The findings are to be presented at a House of Commons meeting later this month, which will also look at the success of the HIV prevention campaign in Uganda, where people have been encouraged to adopt more responsible sexual behaviour. The FPA have disputed Dr Paton's findings. [The Sunday Herald, 2 November ] A Cambridge student has asked the high court to determine whether doctors acted unlawfully when they performed a late term abortion on a baby with cleft palate. UK law permits abortion after 24 weeks in cases of 'serious handicap', a term that Joanna Jepson wants the courts to clarify after police refused Ms Jepson's request to investigate the doctor concerned on allegations of unlawful killing. [The Sunday Herald, 2 November ] Alison Davis of No Less Human commented: "Joanna Jepson's concern is understandable, but it is unfortunate that this case seems to hang on the assertion that cleft lip and palate cannot be regarded as a "serious handicap". Aborting any baby is wrong, regardless of any disabling condition. Every baby has infinite value, and no deliberate killing of an unborn child is ever justified." Three pro-abortion groups have filed lawsuits in an attempt to stop the partial birth abortion ban becoming law, BBC reports. President Bush is expected to sign the bill on Wednesday which abortion advocates claim is dangerous and could lead to other procedures being outlawed. Supporters of the bill point out that partial birth abortion is barbaric and unnecessary. [BBC, 1 November ] The creators of Dolly the sheep have said that the problems surrounding cloning need to be identified and understood before 'therapeutic' cloning can be contemplated. In spite of highly publicised cases of cloned mammals being successfully created, the vast majority of cloned mammalian embryos die before birth and survivors often suffer from a variety of life-threatening conditions, meaning that cloning still poses serious risks if used to treat humans. [New Scientist, 31 October ] An overhaul of intra-country adoption could reduce the costs and waiting times involved for couples seeking to adopt children from abroad, The Telegraph reports. The UK minister for children has said that her officials are currently in talks with countries such as China, India and Guatemala with the possibility of removing embassy involvement in the process. "This is hugely time-saving," said a spokesman for the Department of Education and Skills, "because it prevents bundles of paper going back and forwards between us, agencies, embassies and government departments here and abroad." [The Telegraph, 3 November ] UK government statistics for 2002 have shown a drop in the number of Irish women seeking abortion in Britain, Irish Examiner reports. The Irish Family Planning Association welcomed the drop but claimed that the introduction of the Euro may have led Irish women to seek abortion in other European countries. [Irish Examiner, 31 October ] Pat Buckley of European Life Network, stated: "Any drop in the numbers is welcome. The fact that around 6500 women abort their babies each year is a national disaster. Successive governments have either ignored the issue or dealt with it in an inadequate manner."

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