COVID-19 vaccination guidelines for pregnant women; The people buying fertility drugs on Instagram; And the rise in single father adoption.

Your newsletter on reproductive health.

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:

  • The new HBO fertility fraud documentary

  • Pregnant women and COVID-19 vaccination guidelines

  • People are buying and selling fertility drugs on Instagram to cut costs of IVF

  • World record baby born from embryo frozen for 27 years

  • A new drug shows potential to treat reproductive conditions that affect fertility

  • The rise in single fathers by choice

What’s New

The UK will roll out a mass vaccination program as soon as next week, as the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been officially approved. However, pregnant women will not be recommended for routine treatment with the vaccine, which offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 illness. Guidance published by the UK government says that although available data “do not indicate any safety concern or harm to pregnancy, there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy.”

One of the largest networks of fertility clinics in the United States has said patient data has been stolen in a ransomware attack. The data breach at U.S. Fertility, which has 55 locations across the U.S., includes personal information like names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. U.S. Fertility was formed in May as a partnership between Shady Grove Fertility and Amulet Capital Partners, a private equity firm.

A new HBO documentary details a decades-long fertility fraud in the US. Baby God tells the true story of a physician, once named Nevada’s Doctor of the Year, who impregnated numerous patients with his own sperm, unbeknownst to the women or their families. Dr. Quincy Fortier, who died in 2006 at age 94, fathered at least 26 children through the deceit that spanned 40 years. There are at least two dozen American doctors known to have perpetrated so-called fertility fraud.

Know a soon-to-be parent? A new simple planning tool from family-planning startup Mirza models various financial & lifestyle scenarios, helping them make better informed decisions - take a look here!

From The Experts

  • People are buying and selling fertility drugs on Instagram to cut costs of expensive IVF treatment. Eleanor Cummins / Insider

  • Fertility myths uncovered: top UK fertility doctor Professor Adam Balen and Carmel Lloyd, from the UK’s Royal College of Midwives outline which common fertility and pregnancy statements are truths – and which are not. Lisa Salmon / The Irish Times

  • 5 trans-affirming period brands that make pads, tampons, cups, and underwear for many bodies. Mel Van de Graaf / Well + Good

  • Why more people are freezing sperm, and can you really do it at home? ELANZA Wellness

  • How to boost your fertility, naturally, according to three experts. Jenny Ringland / Marie Claire

From The Patients

  • The woman who gave birth to a baby from the world’s oldest frozen embryo - which at almost 27 years old was just a few years younger than her. ABC 7

  • Meet the Men’s Health cover star running 50 miles to fight male infertility stigma. Josh St. Clair / Men’s Health

  • The model whose “unbearable” severe period pain condition was transformed by using a device that stimulates nerves to block menstrual cramps. Hayley Richardson / Mail Online

  • “How Covid has stopped women like me from having babies.” Choosing late motherhood 2020 is presenting challenges. Eleanor Fazan / The Telegraph

  • The rise in single father adoption: “One boy stood out to me - he's now my son.” Lucy Ballinger & Paul Martin / BBC News

Science & Ethics

  • Anxiety over the climate crisis is stopping people having children, according to a study. Almost 60 per cent of American adults polled said they were “very” or “extremely concerned” about the carbon footprint of having children. Louise Boyle / The Independent

  • A team of Yale scientists have discovered more about the selection process that sperm cells undergo after they enter the female reproductive tract. Their research, published in eLife, revealed that a sperm protein called CatSper1 must be intact for a sperm cell to fertilise an egg and may act as a molecular 'barcode' that helps determine which sperm cells will make it to an egg and which are eliminated along the way. Science Daily

    "Male mammals ejaculate millions of sperm cells into the female's reproductive tract, but only a few arrive at the egg. This suggests that sperm cells are selected as they travel through the tract and excess cells are eliminated. But most of our knowledge about fertilisation in mammals has come from studying isolated sperm cells and eggs in a petri dish -- an approach that doesn't allow us to see what happens during the sperm selection and elimination processes," says senior author Jean-Ju Chung, Assistant Professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology at Yale School of Medicine. "Our study opens up new horizons to visualise and analyse molecular events in single sperm cells during fertilisation and the earliest stages of pregnancy. This and further studies could ultimately provide new insights to aid the development of novel infertility treatments."

  • Can a new drug improve fertility in women with reproductive health problems? An early-stage study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and led by researchers at Imperial College London say MVT-602, which acts via the natural ‘kisspeptin’ hormone system in the body, has the potential to effectively treat a range of reproductive conditions that affect fertility such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - a common condition that affects how a woman's ovaries work and hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) – a condition where a woman’s periods stop. Imperial College London

    Thought for the day

“No matter how bleak or menacing a situation may appear, it does not entirely own us. It can't take away our freedom to respond, our power to take action.” [― Ryder Carroll]

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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.