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IVF babies 'should be monitored into adulthood'

27 July 2007

Children born by IVF should be monitored into adulthood, according to British and German researchers. The study, published in The Lancet, warned that not enough is known about the long term consequences of in-vitro fertilisation and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Dr Alastair Sutcliffe of the Institute of Child Health at University College London said: "Long term follow up of children born after ART [assisted reproduction techniques] to reproductive age and beyond is necessary. Some of the risks to children born after ART do not arise as a result of the techniques but from the background biology of the sub-fertile couple. Many unknowns exist about the health of children conceived after ART as they grow, which remain to be fully addressed." [Life Style Extra, 27 July]

The Pope has said that concern for the environment is important but that concern for human life takes priority. Speaking at a question and answer session with Italian clergy, Benedict XVI said: "Our own planet speaks with us and we should be listening if we want to survive and decipher this message about the earth. And if we should be obedient to the voice of the earth, much more we must be obedient to the voice of human life. We not only take care of the earth, but we must respect...other human beings." [LifeSite, 26 July]

American pharmacists in Washington state have sued the state over a new law that requires them to sell the morning-after pill. Two pharmacists, Rhonda Mesler and Margo Thelen, and Stormans Inc., the owners of a grocery store that includes a pharmacy, filed a lawsuit earlier this week. They said that the recent regulation forces them into "choosing between their livelihoods and their deeply held religious and moral beliefs." [AP on ABC Money, 26 July]

Women who gain or lose substantial weight between pregnancies could put themselves and their unborn baby at risk, according to specialists in Ireland. Researchers warned that fluctuating weight increases the risk of dangerously high blood pressure and diabetes in the mother, as well as a greater chance of stillbirth. The authors of the study, Jennifer Walsh, a specialist registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at Coombe Women's Hospital, Dublin, and Deirdre Murphy, professor of obstetrics at Trinity College, University of Dublin, said: "There is growing concern on the one hand about an epidemic of obesity, and on the other about a culture that promotes 'size zero' as desirable, irrespective of a woman's natural build. Pregnancy is one of the most nutritionally demanding periods of a woman's life, with an adequate supply of nutrients essential to support foetal wellbeing and growth." [BBC, 27 July]

A paralysed British man who intended to travel to a Swiss assisted suicide clinic to die has had to delay his journey due to legal problems. Noel Martin, 48, from Birmingham, was left paralysed from the neck down after being the victim of a racist attack in 1996. Difficulties surrounding the future of his home, where his wife is buried in the garden, have forced him to postpone indefinitely the journey to the Dignitas clinic in Zurich. [BBC, 26 July]

Pro-life activists in America are planning a nation-wide 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. The Days for Life will take place from September 26 until November 4 and they are intended to be an intense time for pro-lifers to work together, pray, fast and spread the pro-life message in their communities. David Bereit, a campaigner and speaker who pioneered the campaign, said: "[P]eople of faith across our country are going to transform our nation and are going to shape history and are going to mark the beginning of the end of abortion." [LifeSite, 26 July]

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