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Egg Donation $ Exceeds Limits

Despite guidelines that egg donor compensation not generally exceed $5,000, many agencies and private couples are advertising payouts of $10,000 and more. For one thing, the couples are willing to pay the highest prices for eggs from women with good SAT scores, according to a study published in the March-April issue of the Hastings Center Report. Aaron D. Levine of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, analyzed 105 advertisements for egg donation from 63 different college newspapers. He found that about half offered compensation of $5,000 or less, in line with the guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The remaining ads, 52, promoted payments of more than $5,000. Under the society's guidelines, amounts between $5,000 and $10,000 require justification, and payments of more than $10,000 are not considered appropriate. The study noted that nearly a quarter of the ads offered compensation above $10,000, with one ad offering $50,000 for an “extraordinary egg donor.”

Clash Over Religion-Based Policies

Nearly 1 in 10 primary care physicians in the United States has experienced a conflict over patient care policies with a hospital or practice affiliated with a religion, researchers from the University of Chicago reported online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Such entities hold about one-fifth of all U.S. hospital beds, according to the report. About 43% of primary care physicians have practiced in religion-affiliated hospitals, and about 19% of them experienced conflicts stemming from policies that, for instance, prohibit certain reproductive and end-of-life treatments, the researchers' cross-sectional survey found. Younger and less religious physicians are more likely to experience conflicts than are older or more religious peers, the researchers reported. Most primary care physicians said that the best way to handle conflicts between clinical judgment and religious policy is to refer patients to another hospital.

Reducing Minority Teen Pregnancy

New federal legislation would aim pregnancy prevention programs at teenagers in minority communities. The need there is great, according to Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), who sponsored the legislation. More than half of Hispanic and African American teen girls will become pregnant at least once before age 20, she said. The Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act of 2010 (H.R. 5033) would expand the number of competitive federal grants available for teen pregnancy programs in minority communities. It would also offer grants for research into the prevalence and social causes of pregnancy and births among minority teens. “While addressing teen sexual behavior is complex, we know that an effective strategy to reduce teen pregnancy in minority communities involves sexual health education that takes into consideration cultural and linguistic differences,” Rep. Roybal-Allard said in a statement.

What Is Sex?

Adults in their 20s have narrowed their definition of what it means to have sex, with only 20% of college students surveyed defining oral-genital contact as sex. That's compared with about 40% in similar surveys conducted in 1991 and 1999. These latest findings are based on online responses from 477 students at a large state university. The survey asked students about their views on whether they would say they “had sex” if they engaged in certain behaviors. While 98% defined penile-vaginal intercourse as sex, 78% defined penile-anal intercourse as sex. Those views are similar to the results in the earlier surveys. The attitude toward oral sex is significant, according to the study authors, because it carries significant risk for transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Sex education programs need to give increased attention to oral-genital contact and provide preventive measures, the authors wrote. The study is available online and will be published in the June issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

U.N.: Maternal Health a Priority

The United Nations is working to create a plan to improve maternal and newborn health. The Joint Action Plan calls on governments, foundations, corporations, and U.N. agencies to address preventable deaths during childbirth. The U.N. estimates that each year hundreds of thousands of women and girls die during pregnancy and childbirth. An additional 10 million to 15 million of these women face illnesses or disabilities caused by pregnancy complications. “No woman should die bringing life into the world,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. “We must create a seamless continuum of care that helps to improve the health of women from pregnancy though childbirth and builds the foundation for a healthy society.” The secretary-general called on developed nations to increase their financial commitment to maternal and child health and for developing nations to make this area a real priority. The issue will be addressed at a U.N.-sponsored meeting in September.

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