References for the Home page:
1) Fertilized Egg Attrition:
"Embryo Test May Lead to More Success at Fertility Clinics," by Rick Weiss, the Washington Post, October 22, 2000, page A02
..."Researchers have long known that humans are notoriously inefficient reproducers compared with most other mammals, with only perhaps 25 percent of natural monthly efforts resulting in pregnancy. Sensitive hormone tests have also shown that a high percentage of early pregnancies end within days or a few weeks.
...Genetic analyses of miscarried early fetuses had shown that about 65 percent harbored serious chromosomal errors, suggesting a reason for the high pregnancy loss rates in humans. The new work appears to clinch that supposition.
...Most newly conceived human embryos harbor colossal genetic defects that are incompatible with life, according to researchers who developed a novel test that examines every chromosome inside three-day-old human test-tube embryos. Human embryos essentially toddle and teeter near the brink of molecular self-destruction, scientists said, until finally, if all goes well after those precarious beginnings, a few manage to achieve genetic stability, settle down and grow into babies...."
"The Good Egg," by Stephen Hall (Discover Magazine, May, 2004)
2) Predestined Attrition:
"Apoptosis in the human embryo," by Kate Hardy, Reviews of Reproduction, 4, 125-134, 1999: reproduction-online.org/content/revreprod/4/3/125.full.pdf
Concerning egg chromosomal deficiencies:
John M. Opitz, M.D., "Session 1: Early Embryonic Development: An Up-to-Date Account," paragraph 59, President's Council on Bioethics, January 16, 2003:
Concerning egg cytoplasmic deficiencies:
"Oocyte Competence and In Vitro Maturation," by Jennifer Cavilla and Geraldine Hartsworth, Chapter 10 in "Essential IVF," note page 249.
Table Of Contents from "Essential IVF," edited by J. Van Blerkom and L. Gregory (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004)
Concerning practical application of the >50 percent predestined attrition figure:
The >50% figure is an average. Highly fertile women presumably produce few eggs with deficiency in cytoplasmic or chromosomal composition. This suggests that if from this group of donor, embryo implantation in infertile women might have double the success rate, perhaps a 70% chance of achieving pregnancy and live birth as opposed to nature's 35%. And the chance of high multiple births would be reduced because fewer embryos would need to be implanted. Another advantage of this approach would be lower cost, about $2,500 per embryo and $10,000 for each attempt at pregnancy. A storage bank called The Abraham Center of Life tried to implement storage and use of embryos from highly fertile couples starting in 2006 but closed a year later amid heated protest about pre-made embryos.
The web-site author's personal experience is hearing from a co-worker whose wife had very much wanted to have a child. Finally at about age 35 she decided to try IVF. It didn't work. After several procedures the conclusion was that her eggs were non-viable. So they adopted a little girl from China. The arrangements took a long time, but when they got back with their nine-month-old they invited everybody for a very nice and very happy shower. But the happy mother was dead a year later from ovarian cancer. The FSH and LH hormones used to stimulate the ovaries to release a greater number of mature eggs is stressful for the women and involves risk, especially if she has had breast cancer.
4) Chimera: (The point of referencing five medical journal articles here is that, though little known, chimerism and hermaphroditism are indeed real phenomena. Note: The two fertilizations are of two cells within the same zone pellucida, involving either an oversized polar body or following spontaneous mitotic division of the egg. Abstracts available if requested.)
Science. 1980 Jan 18;207(4428):321-3.
Origin of chi46,XX/46,XY chimerism in a human true hermaphrodite.
Dewald G, Haymond MW, Spurbeck JL, Moore SB.
Using chromosome heteromorphisms and blood cell types as genetic markers, we demonstrated chimerism in a chi46,XX/46,XY true hermaphrodite. The pattern of inheritance of the chromosome heteromorphisms indicates that this individual was probably conceived by the fertilization, by two different spermatozoa, of an ovum and the second meiotic division polar body derived from the ovum and subsequent fusion of the two zygotes. This conclusion is based on the identification of the same maternal chromosomes 13, 16, and 21 in both the 46,XX and 46,XY cells of the patient. In the two cell lines of the chimera, chromosomal markers showed different paternal No. 9 chromosomes and sex chromosomes, as well as the same paternal chromosome 22.
Hum Genet (2007) 121:179-185
A case of true hermaphroditism reveals an unusual mechanism of twinning
Vivienne L. Souter, Melissa A. Parisi, Dale R. Nyholt, Raj P. Kapur, Anjali K. Henders, Kent E. Opheim, Daniel F. Gunther, Michael E. Mitchell, Ian A. Glass, Grant W. Montgomery
N Engl J Med. 2002 May 16;346(20):1545-52.
Disputed maternity leading to identification of tetragametic chimerism.
Yu N, Kruskall MS, Yunis JJ, Knoll JH, Uhl L, Alosco S, Ohashi M, Clavijo O, Husain Z, Yunis EJ, Yunis JJ, Yunis EJ;
American Red Cross Blood Services, New England Region, Dedham, Mass, USA.
Fertil Steril. 1995 Jan;63(1):189-92.
Molecular biologic analyses of tetragametic chimerism in a true hermaphrodite with 46,XX/46,XY.
Uehara S, Nata M, Nagae M, Sagisaka K, Okamura K, Yajima A.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the mechanism of the formation of a tetragametic chimaera with true hermaphroditism (46,XX/46,XY). DESIGN: Molecular biologic analyses. SETTING: Outpatient clinic and laboratories of a university hospital. SUBJECTS: A true hermaphrodite with 46,XX/46,XY and the parents. MAIN OUTCOME ANALYSIS: Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of the pseudoautosomal region on sex chromosomes. RESULTS: Whereas a normal diploid individual showed two bands, the true hermaphrodite showed four bands in the RFLP analyses. Evaluation of the molecular weights of the bands revealed two of them to be of maternal origin and the other two to be of paternal origin. CONCLUSION: The two cell lineages composing the true hermaphrodite are heterogeneous because those originated from the fertilization of two genetically different maternal haploid cells by two different spermatozoa.
Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2004 Feb;10(2):107-12.
The mechanism of tetragametic chimerism in a true hermaphroditism with 46, XX/46 ,XY [Article in Chinese]
Cui Y, Zhu P, Ye X, Wu Y, Wang Y, Yin H, Yao B, Huang Y.
Laboratory of Reproduction and Genetics, Nanjing General Hospital, Nanjing Command, PLA, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210002, China. email@example.com
OBJECTIVE: To report a true hermaphroditism due to a teragametic chimerism and to discuss the pathogenesis of tetragametic chimerism. METHODS: Chromosomal analysis and fluorescence in situ hybridization(FISH) were carried out on the lymphocytes from the blood and on the fibroblasts from the cultured skin and on fibroblasts from two different kinds of gonadal tissues of the patient with ambiguous genitalia respectively. Blood groups, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) haplotyping and 77 short tandem repeat (STR) microsatellite markers were tested. The two kinds of tissues in the gonad were detected by histopathological examination. Blood groups, HLA haplotying and 77 STR microsatellite markers parents of the patient's were also analyzed. RESULTS: Either 46,XX or 46,XY karyotype was found in the lymphocytes of the blood and in the fibroblasts of the cultured skin and of the two different kinds of gonadal tissues. Two X chromosome-specific signals or one X and one Y signal were detected in each interphase nucleus by FISH from the lymphocytes of the blood and the fibroblasts of three different tissue cultures. The karyotype of the 46,XY cell line predominated in all cultures except the cultured-fibroblasts from yellow gonadal tissues. STR marker analysis, ABO grouping and HLA study from the patient were identified a single haplotype in the patient from the mother and two different haplotypes from the father. Two kinds of tissues in the gonad were observed by histopathological examination. The yellow tissue was ovary and the white one was testis. CONCLUSIONS: Histopathological examination and chromosomal analysis combined with FISH are very useful methods for the diagnosis of true hermaphroditism. Blood typing, HLA and short tandem repeat microsatellite markers afford strong evidence for confirming tetragametic chimerism. The mechanism of tetragametic chimerism in true hermaphroditism can be explained by a parthenogenetic division of a haploid nucleu into two identical gametes, followed by fertilization with both X and Y spermatozoa and then developed into an organism.
"Herculine Barbin, The Recently Discovered Memories of a Nineteenth-Century French Hermaphrodite," introduced by Michael Foucault (Pantheon Books, 1980)
"A Life Experience,"
The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior (1993) by Drs. Samuel and Cynthia Janusc
Since 1973 the U.S. Catholic Church has spent $1 to $5 million a year lobbying against contraception and abortion.
See also: http://theopolitics.com/index.php?p=11&ID=54&d=1
Intersex definition: http://www.isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex
Intersex statistics: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12476264?dopt=Abstract
5) Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells:
Four gene regulation proteins have been found sufficient to induce adult mouse or human monopotent skin stem cells to become embryonic pluripotent. Initial exploration was with genes, inserting extra ones into the cell's DNA, these then generating the mRNA building blocks to make regulatory proteins. The set that works was first found using retroviral transport of trial sets of extra genes in late 2007. Adenoviral transport was achieved in 2008 and PigyBack transposon transport in 2009. Then in 2010 embryonic pluripotency was induced more naturally without any change in the adult cell's DNA - by adding only to the cytoplasm of the adult cell a mix of mRNA. This mRNA makes the proteins for regulating genes so as to switch the adult cell to embryonic.
"Standing in the Way of Stem Cell Research," by Alan I. Leshner* and James A Thomson,** in the Washington Post, December 3, 2007 (Not copyrighted, so a text copy could be made available on request) *Alan I. Leshner is chief executive of the American can Association for the Advancement of Science and executive publisher of the journal Science. **James A. Thomson is a professor of anatomy at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He was the first scientist to create human embryonic stem cells and is the senior author on the recent Science paper describing a method for reprogramming skin cells.
Initial paragraphs of "Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Somatic Cells," by Junying Yu, Maxim A. Vodyanik, Kim Smuga-Otto, Jessica Antosiewicz-Bourget, Jennifer L. Frane, Shulan han, Jeff Nie, Gudrun A. Jonsdottir, Victor Ruotti, Ron Stewart, Igor I. Slukvin and James A. Thomson; in Science, Vol.318, pp. 1917-1920, 21 December 2007
Initial paragraphs of "Induction of pluripotent stem cells from fibroblast cultures, "by Kazutoshi Takahashi, Keisuke Okita, Masato Nakagawa and Shinya Yamanaka; in Nature Protocols, Vol.2, No.12, p.3081-3089, December 2007
- Dec 21, 2007: Retrovirus used to insert four genes. Retrovirus DNA remains in the iPS cells.
- Sep 26, 2008: Adenovirus used to insert four genes. Adenovirus DNA does not remain in the iPS cells, but the conversion proceeds is 100 times less efficient.
- Mar 2, 2009: Transposon used to insert four genes. Transposon is a non-virus DNA sequence that carries and inserts genes but does not remain in the iPS cells.
- Aug 27, 2008: Transcription factor used to alter the function of three genes in live adult mice pancreatic cells successfully switching the cells to insulin producing.
- July 23, 2009: Mice grown by replacing the embryonic cells in blastocysts with reprogrammed iPS cells from an adult animal. The altered blastocysts were implanted in females who gave normal birth, and the mice grown this way were able to reproduce normally.
Stem cell research can be thought of as learning how to implement three directions of gene programming - forward, backward and instantaneous. "Forward" gene programming is involved both in normal growth and in growth of medically useful tissue from a culture of stem cells. The generation of pluripotent stem cells from adult cells is "backward" in time. Current technology changing the number of genes leaves something to be desired, but it is apparently both safe and effective. The mice grown from iPS cells were able to breed another generation normally without defects. "Instantaneous" gene reprogramming for medical purposes is in-place alteration of live tissue rather than tissue replacement, as in the mouse pancreatic cell conversion.
"Development of Human Cloned Blastocysts Following Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) with Adult Fibroblasts," by Andrew J French, Catharine A Adams, Linda S Anderson, John R Kitchen, Marcus R Hughes and Samuel H Wood, Stemagen, La Jolla, CA; published online in Stem Cells, Jan 17, 2008
The somatic cell nuclear transfer video on the home page of this web site was made at Stemagin in conjunction with the cited research paper. It is reproduced here with permission.
9) Birth Attrition - Anencephaly:
The possible link between trace methanol in diet and much modern health decline including fetal neural tube defects is given by Dr. Woodrow C. Monte in "While Science Sleeps," available at Amazon. An introduction to the book is at WhileScienceSleeps.com, and a separate book review is at InadvertentMethanol.info. Selectively aborted neural tube deficiency is not reported in CDC statistics, but incidence data is available independently from a few states. In that data, the rate of occurrence of neural tube deficiency shows a marked increase correlating with the introduction of aspartame and the resulting amount of methanol consumption. Folic acid is a mild carcinogen but a supplement required by the FDA in wheat flour, corn meal, pasta and rice for combating neural tube deficiency. Dr. Monte suggests that the sole use of folic acid by the body is for processing methanol and related formaldehyde.
10) Down Syndrome:
(The first four are Washington Post articles)
"Down Syndrome Now Detectable In 1st Trimester, Earlier Diagnosis Allows More Time for Decisions," by Rob Stein, November 10, 2005, WP, page A01
"A Strict New Acne Drug Program May Prevent Birth Defects. But Many Complain It Also Drives People Away From a Potentially Life-Transforming Treatment," by Sandra G. Boodman, September 5, 2006, WP, page HE01
Downs test, called nuchal translucency, involves a first-trimester ultrasound and blood tests.... 5,500 Downs births per year in the U.S......
"Down Syndrome More Common Than Believed," January 6, 2006, WP, page A09. See also
Down syndrome occurs in 1 in 800 births in the U.S. By age 20 the blacks with this condition are seven times more likely to die than whites.
"Mothers with a genetic abnormality that hinders how the body processes folic acid were 2.6 times more likely to have a child with Down syndrome than mothers without that genetic defect," September 29, 1999, WP, page A14, Compiled from reports by the Associated Press. See also http://www.prevention-news.com/nutrition/down_syndrome_link_-_folic_acid.htm. These both review an October 1999 publcation in the American Journal For Clinical Nutrition.
At www.heart-intl.net/HEART/Home, the page estimating the medical and maintenance
costs for Down syndrome
patients does not include mandates by the Disabilities Act. The estimates given in 1996 dollars in Tables III.8-1 and 8-2 are:
direct medical costs: age 0 to 1 = $27,265, age 2 to 4= $5,577/yr, age 5 to 17 = $2,23/yr, age 18+ = $7,529/yr and
total lifetime additional cost for maintaining a Downs syndrome as opposed to a normal person: less than $350,000 in 1996 dollars. (This depends on inflation rates for determining present value.)
Judy does not identify herself, but here is her hindsight assessment:
"As the mother of a child with Down syndrome born prior to Roe v. Wade and before the advent of pre-screening tests, I did not have the choice when it came to giving birth to my daughter. While I loved my daughter deeply (who is now deceased), had I known what I would have faced and had I had the freedom to choose to accept this responsibility or not, I very well might have been with the 90% of women who choose to terminate their pregnancy because of Down syndrome.
Those who think that it is vicious to not want to have a child with severe retardation should try raising with one before they pass judgment. It is no easy task; in fact, it is a cruelty made real when you realize that your beloved child can never think like a healthy person, never be independent, or find the love that a person can find when they are in full possession of all their faculties.
I spit on all of you here who would morally condemn a woman for rejecting such a fate. I spit on all of you here who would condemn such a choice as murder. You simply have no idea what you are talking about, and it offends me that you prance around as if you do. Walk a mile in my life before you presume to tell me that abortion is wrong."
A response from anonymous was, "I spit" Judy, You are a shill. There is no way that you could have raised a down syndrome child and hold such hate and views about their extermination in our society as a matter of medical policy. You are a shill. In fact, I doubt that you have ever spent any serious time with a down syndrome child at all. If you had ..."
Rates of occurrence of Down syndrome:
1 per 3000 births for mothers under age 30
1 per 300 births for mothers age 35 to 39
1 per 9 births for mothers 48 years of age
12) Adopted Embryo Attrition:
13) High Multiple and Premature Births:
14) Abortion Rates:
Democracy Under Assault:
Theopolitics, Incivility and Violence on the Right
by Michele Swenson
Significantly, the very groups most vehemently opposed to contraception have the highest abortion rates. Since 1973 the U.S. Catholic Church has spent $1 to $5 million a year lobbying against contraception and abortion. One result has been a sustained rate of abortion, with the highest rates among Catholic women. The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior (1993) by Drs. Samuel and Cynthia Janus is one of a series of surveys reporting that 29% of Catholics and 27% of ultraconservatives reported having abortions, compared to 17% of the rest of the population. ...
The more recent data is from
Other References and Notes:
Defining Moment Concept:
The concept of fertilization as the unique starting moment of physical and spiritual life is given fairly succinctly in paragraphs 6 and 13 and endnote 19 of the Vatican document "Declaration on Procured Abortion," available at:
Origins of the Conception Concept:
Before 1800 there had been no concept of the cellular basis of life and certainly not the origin or function of sperm and egg cells or of early embryos. Flees and maggots were thought to generate spontaneously from nothing, mares become pregnant from wind, and most reproduction start from miniature preformed versions of the adult. And we still cary the Easter tradition of bunnies coming from bird eggs. But by the mid 1800s cellular biology was becoming established, and it was becoming clear that sperm and egg are produced by special cell division in the adult and that these combine to form a new single cell that then grows by expansive cell division to form a new individual. Then in 1886 scientists came up with the idea that union of the nuclear centers from egg and sperm might contain the genetic inheritance of the future individual. Three years later in 1889, the Catholic Church banned abortion from the start of pregnancy, and the governments of many European countries soon also passed laws to that effect.
This was not a change in abortion policy for the Catholic Church. The Church has always prohibited abortion and punished violators with excommunication. The change was in concept of when there is something to protect. Before the emergence of embryology as a science, quickening had been deemed the time of beginning of life, but that changed in 1889. And for many followers the word "conception" took on new meaning - not just fertilization, but the beginning of dual life, both physical and spiritual, with full import of "human worth" in the theologic sense. This concept of unique moment conception was impossible before the advent of 1880's embryology.
Taxation Without Representation:
The genesis of the idea comes from: "What We Owe Our Young," by Sandra Day O'Connor and James R. Jones, the Washington Post, June 16, 2008, page A19