Our Bodies, Our Blog

Finding What is There: A Medical Ethics Challenge

By Rachel Walden |

Several prominent blogs have recently covered the story, first reported by Alice Dreger and Ellen K. Feder at  Bioethics Forum, of pediatric urologist Dix Poppas and his research involving clitoral surgery on young girls and young intersex patients to make their genitals less “masculinized” — that is, less large.

The research, conducted at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, is troublesome for a number of reasons, including lack of indication of an underlying medical problem. In each case, the clitoris … Read

The Sex Drug Chronicles: Flibanserin Evidence Too Flimsy for FDA Approval

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

An FDA advisory panel last week unanimously recommended not to approve a new drug that purports to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in women, which is defined as “low or no sexual interest to the point of distress in otherwise healthy people.”

According to Julia Johnson, the panel’s chairwoman and head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the impact of the drug flibanserin (proposed trade name: Girosa), developed by the German pharmaceutical company … Read

Deliver This: Female Condoms and Maternal Health

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

by Kiki Kalkstein, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)

Earlier this month, I attended the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, D.C ., on behalf of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE). After a jam-packed three days of plenary sessions, chairman’s sessions, and read than 100 concurrent sessions, participants left the conference reinvigorated and ready to take action to work toward fulfilling Millennium Development Goal #5: Reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health.

After speaking … Read

FDA Committee Recommends Approval of New Emergency Contraception Drug

By Rachel Walden |

The FDA’s Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs yesterday reviewed a new drug application for ulipristal acetate, an emergency contraception that prevents pregnancy after intercourse. This particular drug has been available in Europe under the brand name ellaOne since May of 2009 and is intended for use up to five days after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

Most other emergency contraceptions sold over the counter in the United States are officially approved for use up to three days (72 hours), although it is widely … Read

The Politics of Fathering

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Nancy Chodorow’s “The Reproduction of Mothering” was an instant feminist classic when it was published in 1978. One of the most visionary conclusions was her call for men to take an equal role in the caretaking of children. If they don’t, she argued, women would grow up with a distorted perspective on their own relationships with men.

Read than 30 years later, Chodorow’s call appears as challenging as ever — at least in the United States, where parental leave is still … Read

ACOG on VBAC: In Their Own Words

By Rachel Walden |

Via the blog Birthing Beautiful Ideas, we were alerted to two interesting pieces in the current issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, that may indicate a shift in thinking about hospital staffing protocols for a vaginal birth after a c-section.

In 1999 (and again in 2004), ACOG released guidelines stating that “VBAC should be attempted in institutions equipped to respond to emergencies with physicians immediately available.” This standard has been widely blamed for the lack of VBAC … Read

Shopping for Health Insurance? Start Here

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

In the wake of healthcare reform, many practical questions remain, including: How do I find and select a reasonable plan?

For the previously uninsured who are now interested in purchasing their own healthcare insurance, Claudia Buck of McClatchy Newspapers has put together a “How to Shop for Health Insurance” guide.

It’s quick and cursory — but it gives a decent starting point, especially for anyone overwhelmed by the possibilities. It provides a needed warning about brokers — check if the broker or agent is licensed and … Read

Following Up on the CDC’s Contraception Safety Guideline

By Rachel Walden |

We recently wrote about the CDC’s new publication, the U S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010, which outlines specific characteristics or medical conditions that may interfere with safe contraception use. The July issue of the journal Contraception follows up on this topic, featuring articles from CDC and WHO authors on contraception use and specific medical conditions as well as current research gaps.

The authors identify the following issues as needing further research, among several others:

  • Long-term effects of Depo Provera … Read

Live Web Streaming Available from Women Deliver Conference

By Rachel Walden |

The Women Deliver 2010 conference is happening in Washington DC today through Wednesday, focusing on global maternal and reproductive health and featuring great speakers from numerous U.S. and international agencies. I just listened to Melinda Gates wrap up and pledge $1.5 billion in new family planning and maternal/child health grants for next 5 years; an archive of these videos is expected to be posted as well.

You can follow tweets using the hashtag #WD2010, which are also streaming on the webcast page. I’ve set up … Read

CDC Releases Guide to Contraception Use Safety

By Rachel Walden |

The CDC recently released the U S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010, adapted from World Health Organization recommendations and intended to outline specific characteristics or medical conditions that may interfere with safe contraception use.

The document is intended for use by health care providers when counseling individuals about contraceptive choices, but is freely available to the public and includes some useful tables of considerations related to numerous contraceptive methods. It also includes a table of contraceptive failure rates with perfect … Read