Getting pregnant while the world falls apart; Poland's near ban on abortion; And how the US election will influence reproductive health.

Your newsletter on reproductive health.

Body politics hit the headlines globally once again this week. 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:

  • Getting pregnant while the world is falling apart and how fertility is changing in the midst of the pandemic

  • Protests over Poland’s near ban on abortion

  • How the US election will influence reproductive health

  • ESHRE upgrades its fertility clinic guidance around COVID-19

  • The woman freezing her eggs at 27 because of lockdown


What’s New

Thousands of people have been demonstrating in cities across Poland after its highest court this week imposed a near total ban on abortion. The ruling has provoked an outcry from rights groups in and outside the deeply Catholic country of 38 million people. Poland's highest court ruled that abortions due to fetal defects were unconstitutional. Around 98% of abortions in Poland had been conducted as a result of fetal defects, meaning the ruling bans virtually all terminations taking place in the country.

The term "involution" (内卷化) is trending on Chinese social media and is being “blamed” for why “too much education” is leading to young people not wanting to have children.

The PCOS Challenge Family Building Grant is open for applications. Patients in the US struggling with infertility caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can apply for a grant that includes a free IVF cycle.

A widow has won a landmark legal battle that will allow her to have IVF treatment using her late husband’s sperm after a ruling by a panel of Scottish judges.

Analysis from Octopus Ventures has found that investment into fertility treatments and companies increased almost fourfold between 2014 and 2019 to a total of $2.2bn. Octopus Ventures predicts investment will continue to grow in the coming years as result of both changing attitudes and various innovations in the fertility space. Kamran Adle, early stage investor on Octopus’ Future of Health team says:

“This is a really exciting market, which has been suffering from under-investment and lack of innovation for so long…We believe we are at the cusp of seeing a step change.”

Maternal health company Oula launches with seed funding round. And a “new generation” of targeted daily supplements supported by clinical trial data, Lycofertilic, launches aiming to provide anti-ageing support for ovarian reserve and prepare for egg retrieval and IVF.


From The Experts

  • ESHRE has updated its fertility clinic guidance: as countries throughout the world face up to a second wave of COVID-19 infections, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and others have upgraded safety guidelines for fertility clinics. ESHRE

  • TULIP Co-Founder Gail Sexton Anderson on how fertility is changing in the midst of COVID-19. Kirstie Landry / BabyGaga

  • How the US election will influence reproductive health. Kate Morgan / Elemental

  • For Black women, the isolation of infertility is compounded by barriers to treatment. Usha Lee McFarthling / Stat News

  • You’re probably not changing your underwear often enough, according to an OB/GYN. Mary Grace Garis / Well + Good


    From The Patients

  • The world feels like it’s falling apart. Six women talk about why they decided to get pregnant anyway, plus their fears about bringing a child into a world that feels like it’s teetering on the edge of collapse. Clarissa Jan-Lim / Buzzfeed News

  • “You can still get pregnant in perimenopause—I did. At 39, my fertility hormones indicated I was in perimenopause. Turns out—surprise!—that doesn't mean your eggs disappear overnight.” Susie Kantar-Cohen / Glamour

  • “I’m not pregnant, I’m just bloated: my adoption journey: As an adult adoptee in a same-gender relationship, I never expected it’d be hard to let go of the idea of being pregnant. Once I did, I came face to face with some harsh truths about adoption.” Debbier Scheer / Healthline

  • A trans man was driving five hours to get healthcare. A new Planned Parenthood hormone service changed that. Vic Parsons / Pink News

  • “Why I’m freezing my eggs at age 27: Lockdown was making the prospect of meeting someone new nearly impossible - with my love life looking forlorn, I had to act.” Sareena Sharma / Telegraph


    Science & Ethics

    • Impaired sperm production in COVID-19 patients. Li Honggang et al. / The Lancet

    • IVF success rates are higher at clinics that voluntarily share more information than required by government regulators, according to new research. In a review of data reported between 2014 and 2017, researchers found that clinics that reported more data than required by the CDC had higher rates of success in achieving pregnancy and birth. University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus / Science Daily

    • A fifth baby has been born in Greece using the maternal spindle transfer method as part of pilot trial conducted by the Institute of Life and Embryotools scientific team. Attending surgeon Dr. Panagiotis Psathas said: “This woman had already a history of 9 failed IVF attempts. The course of the clinical research is optimistic so far.” Cision

    • Protein injections into testes could treat male infertility. Researchers at Seoul National University have developed a way to deliver nanoparticles loaded with certain proteins directly into the testes. In tests in mice, previously infertile animals were soon able to father pups at a similar rate as unaffected mice. Michael Irving / New Atlas


      Thought for the day

      “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.” [Seneca]


      Thank you for being part of ELANZINE!

      Comments, questions or something to feature? Send us a note at hello@elanzawellness.com.

      As a community, our biggest goal is to get the word out to people who can benefit from science-backed women’s health information. PLEASE FORWARD this newsletter to someone you know who fits that bill. You are helping us achieve our mission of radically improving fertility care for millions of people around the world.


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