Friday, September 21, 2012

Parenting Media This Week: Toxins, Uterus Swaps, Sexting and Sexlecting


In case you missed it...

BISPHENOL-A has popped up more frequently in the pee of obese kids even after controlling for diet and exercise in a new study, part of a large national US health survey. Is it possible that BPA is a monster that not only grows breasts too soon, deforms genitals and other reproductive irregularities but triggers cancer and make kids fat?

Oh one more thing, the link between BPA and obesity appeared only for white kids and researchers surmise the source is likely aluminum cans (i.e. too much soda).  What's up with the ethnic/racial difference? The toxin somehow doesn't "cause" obesity in other kids? Seems off to me. Is someone gonna tell me white kids drink more canned soda than other kids...please explain.

TEEN SEXTING, just kidding around or harbinger of potential Teen Mom reality star? 

A new study in an LA high school (mostly Hispanic students) found kids who sexted were also more likely to date, have sex and for girls, engage in "risky" sexual behavior (i.e. no condom).  Almost a third of the students admitted sending a naked photo of themselves via text or email  or a "sext" for those of you still living in the 20th century. 

SEXT ALERT: Another 57% received a request to send a sext. So chances are someone has asked your teen for some smart phone soft-porn.

UTERUS SWAPPING? It's now happened, a mother-daughter uterus transplant. Just to be clear, doctors in Sweden took the uterus from mom (grandma-wanna-be) and put it in daughter (mom-wanna-be).  Not the reverse. Not yet anyhow. The Learning Channel must be salavating.

In other uterine news or Why Some Parents Scare Me Exhibit A, here's the week's most curious case of questionable medical practices and also the focus of this week's questionable yet somehow still enlightening research - the trend of parents selecting their unborn child's sex - sexlecting? 

SEX SELECTION* is a multi-million dollar industry according to an article by Slate (via Huffington Post). Of course the industry has an expert, an expert sex selector (a sexlexpert):
Fertility Institutes, a clinic set up by Jeffrey Steinberg, one of the most prominent gender selection doctors in the United States. In his spacious, oak-paneled office down the hall, Steinberg is surrounded by photos of his own naturally conceived children. His clinic is the world leader for this gender selection technique, known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). “We’re by far number one. Number two is not even a close second,” he said.
Oak-paneled office? Guy is not messing around.  Takes his expert status very seriously.  Obviously...but is Steinberg, who appears to relish his not second-banana but world leader status, promoting sexism? Abetting all those parents chosing boys.  Literally throwing away all the future women leaders of the world. 

Not quite. 

Turns out, girls are the favored sex here.  The sex-selecting parents turn out to be moms bent on raising girly girls or just not a boy. 
...data from Google show that “how to have a girl” is searched three times as often in the United States as “how to have a boy.” Many fertility doctors say that girls are the goal for 80 percent of gender selection patients. A study published in 2009 by the online journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online found Caucasian-Americans preferentially select females through PGD 70 percent of the time. Those of Indian or Chinese descent largely chose boys.
Hanna Rosin said it's The End of Men but somehow I'm not sure this is what she meant.

Not that it's all rosy and pink in the land of sperm spinning.  According to Slate, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine worries about "the possible psychological harm to children born through gender selection. They fear these children would be pressured to live up to the stereotypes of the gender that was picked out and paid for by their parents."

As opposed to living up to the gender stereotype that was not picked out and paid for.

*NOTE: Journalists and some medical researchers call this practice "gender selection" but due to my years in the psychology lab I prefer "sex" here and not gender, a more socially-constructed concept that as Cher knows does not necessarily correlate with XXs or XYs.

2 comments:

Awesome Mom said...

That uterus transplant is fascinating. I wonder if they have to take anti rejection drugs and what that would do to the baby. Also I wonder how the scars from the transplant will hold up to pregnancy. Interesting stuff.

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Awesome, would you believe those good and relevant questions weren't in the press release? Or the articles I read...but of course a live birth would be the true measure of success.