AOC's egg freezing dilemma; 12 signs you could be in early menopause; And the risk of cancer from HRT

Your newsletter on reproductive health.

Trick or treat? This week’s edition will have you spellbound. This is ELANZINE, a newsletter featuring must-read content by patients, clinicians and reproductive health industry experts. We bring both sides of the coin together in one place to help you become the most informed patient, clinician or women’s health leader you can be! If you enjoy this issue, please forward to a friend or colleague and hit the subscribe button to keep learning from peers and experts.

Here’s what we’re covering in today’s newsletter:

  • “Do I freeze my eggs?” asks Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

  • How IVF will affect your sex life

  • 12 signs you could be in early menopause

  • The rise of at-home abortion pills during lockdown

  • A new study on the risk of cancer and HRT

What’s New

Infertility is frequently characterized as a ‘disease of affluence’. Tomorrow marks World Fertility Day. This year, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) is highlighting the more than 180 million couples in lower- and middle-income countries that suffer with infertility to draw awareness to the many barriers people face in accessing infertility treatment. Although IVF has been around for many years, only a small percentage of people currently benefit from the technology. Infertility can affect anyone.

Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 31, has revealed to Vanity Fair that she is contemplating freezing her eggs. During the interview, AOC discussed work-life balance, and the difficulties of making time for self-care, saying:

“I’m sitting here, I’m like: Do I freeze my eggs? Can I afford to do that?”

The lawmaker – who is the youngest member of Congress – says it is “important” that discussions about family planning are open, “because women, we have to make these decisions that men simply don’t have to make.”

This week ELANZA Wellness released an at-home virtual workshop “Is Egg Freezing Right For Me?” to help women more easily answer this question in an unbiased, informed way.

In the UK, Passion Capital has backed a fertility workplace benefits provider, Fertifa, which sells bespoke reproductive health and fertility packages to U.K. employers to offer as workplace benefits to their staff.

From The Experts

  • Use of 'at-home abortion pills' rises amid pandemic – and faces new threats. Cecilia Nowell / Guardian

  • The 12 signs you could be in early menopause – and what to do about it. Dr. Zoe Williams / The Sun

  • Election 2020: the importance of sexual and reproductive rights. Nadine Dirks / Medical News Today

  • Investigating the impact of COVID-19 during pregnancy: based on what is known at this time, pregnant people might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might have an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth. CDC

  • Looking after your mental health during IVF: "It's a huge shock to people, especially for the woman." Kellie Scott / ABC Life

    From The Patients

  • Style Director Daniella Prescod on preserving her reproductive future. Victoria Malloy / Covateur

  • How IVF will affect your sex life: real people on what to expect. Karen Samuels / Baby Gaga

  • “At 33, I’ve begun seriously thinking about putting my plans on ice: but for every person I’ve spoken to about their [egg freezing] plans, there are many others who have no idea what they’re going to do. No plans. No clue how many eggs they have left or what they’re going to do with them.” Brooke Boney / SMH

  • Why getting pregnant feels like a competition — and what to do about it. Angela Hatem / InStyle

  • “I’m 30 & spent $9K trying to have a baby.” The journey of one teacher from New Jersey through IUI and IVF. Refinery 29

    Science & Ethics

    • The risk of breast cancer linked to receiving HRT during menopause is a lower risk than previously feared, a new study shows. Lead author Dr Yana Vinogradova, from the University of Nottingham in the UK, said:

      “This is the biggest study ever of its kind and we hope it will provide reassurance and clarity to women who are afraid of going on HRT…Our findings show that the overall number of women who get breast cancer as a result of HRT is small.”

      For every 10,000 women who go on HRT, around 26 are likely to develop breast cancer as a result of the medication. The study also found that when people stop taking HRT the raised risk of breast cancer quickly returns to that of non-users. Eleanor Hayward / Mail Online

    • The vast language of endometriosis pain: “When we interviewed women with an endometriosis diagnosis, each woman had her own constellation of pain.” Dr. Sarah Drabble and Prof. Alicia O’Cathain / Guardian

    • Congress needs to decide if gene editing is permissible for sperm and eggs. Elizabeth Fernandes / Forbes

    • An international team of researchers who identified genetic variants associated with reproductive success say their findings could highlight mechanisms underlying fertility and infertility. Presented at the American Society of Human Genetics 2020 Virtual Meeting, the study “empirically tests” one of the most gripping and fundamental questions asked by scientists across many disciplines and decades: Is there evidence of ongoing natural selection in humans and, if so, what is it and how does it operate? American Society of Human Genetics / Medical Xpress

    Thought for the day

    “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” [Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley]

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    Written by ELANZA Wellness. All things reproductive health, healthtech and patient experience. You can find us elsewhere on Twitter and Instagram.