to evaluate the association between 2D:4D finger length ratios (representing the prenatal environment, i.e., early androgen exposure) and reproductive indices, such as age at menarche, menopausal age, and length of reproductive period.
Retrospective data on age at menarche and menopausal age as well as x-rays of both hands were obtained from 674 Chuvashian women aged 18-70 years (mean 46.32?±?15.42). Finger and metacarpal length ratios as well as visual classification of finger ratio types, were estimated from the x-rays.
We found that a low 2D:4D ratio (radiologically evaluated), a masculine 2D:4D ratio type (visually evaluated), and a putative bioassay for prenatal androgen exposure, were associated with a later menarche and a shorter reproductive period. No association was found with menopausal age.
To investigate the contraception and sexual health-related awareness, attitudes, and practices of a representative sample of Canadian women of childbearing age.
A self-report survey was mailed to a national sample of 3345 women, aged 15 to 44 years, who were members of a pre-recruited market research panel. Survey questions and methodology were similar to 3 previous Canadian Contraception Studies, allowing for description of current patterns of behaviours and beliefs and comparison of trends over time.
Of 3345 women contacted, 1582 returned completed surveys, for a response rate of 47.3%. Responses were weighted to represent Canadian women by region, age, and marital status on the basis of current census data. Eighty-six percent of women sampled had ever had sexual intercourse and 78% were currently sexually active. Women's familiarity with oral contraceptives and condoms as methods of contraception was high (96% and 93%, respectively), but familiarity with other methods was much lower (sterilization, 62%; withdrawal, 59%; the morning-after pill, 57%; intrauterine devices, 50%; depot [injectable] medroxyprogesterone acetate, 38%). A very favourable opinion was held by 63% of respondents concerning oral contraceptives, by 38% concerning condoms, and by 39% and 28% concerning male and female sterilization, respectively. Among respondents who have ever had sexual intercourse, the most frequently used current methods were oral contraceptives (32%), condoms (21%), male sterilization (15%), female sterilization (8%), and withdrawal (6%). Nine percent of these respondents reported using no method of contraception at all. The currently reported rate of female sterilization is the lowest ever recorded in Canada. Survey results show that adherence to contraceptive methods is a challenge for many women and their partners, and that risk of sexually transmitted disease is an ongoing concern.
This study provides a wide-ranging examination of contraception awareness, beliefs, and use among Canadian women that may provide guidance for clinical and public health practice. Part 1 of this report describes the methodology of the 2002 Canadian Contraception Study and the overall results of this study; Part 2 considers results pertaining specifically to adolescent women and women in their later reproductive years, reports on indicators of women's sexual function and reproductive health history, describes approaches to addressing challenges in contraception counselling, and presents data concerning trends in Canadian women's awareness and use of contraception over the past 2 decades.
In 1978 the abortion law was liberalised in Norway. It permits abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and after that with the agreement of a medical commission, taking the woman's own views into consideration. In 2003, 96% of abortions took place before 12 weeks of pregnancy. There is considerable support among the population for the current law, and the right to abortion does not seem to be under threat, yet opponents of abortion attack the law frequently. Debates on recent biotechnology laws and difficulties introducing the abortion pill, on the spurious grounds that it would make abortion too easy, imply continuing moral qualms about abortion. While abortion among young, unmarried women is more accepted, many married women feel they have to justify their decision. Women are expected to feel sorrow, shame and guilt because of their sexual conduct for many reasons, but especially if the result is an unwanted pregnancy. It is easier to protect the law when there is recognition of the moral right to choose abortion. The legal battle has been won, but winning the moral battle is important in Norway now. I believe that until having an abortion is considered as acceptable morally as using contraception, women will not have gained their full reproductive rights.
A population-based case-control study was conducted in Sweden and Norway to analyse possible associations between breast cancer occurring before the age of 45 and several different characteristics of the women's reproductive life. A total of 422 (89.2%) of all eligible patients, and 527 (80.6%) of all eligible controls were interviewed. In univariate analyses, different characteristics of child-bearing (parity, age at first birth, years between last birth and diagnosis, duration of breast-feeding, and number of induced and spontaneous abortions), measures of the fertile or ovulating period (age at menarche, years between menarche and first pregnancy, and estimates of the menstruation span) and symptoms of anovulatory cycles or infertility were all seemingly unrelated to, or at most weakly associated with breast cancer. Adjustment for possible confounding factors in multivariate analyses resulted in largely unaltered risk estimates with odds ratios close to unity and without any significant trends when the exposure variables were studied in categorised or in continuous form. We conclude that reproductive factors did not explain the occurrence of breast cancer before the age of 45 in this population.
Life-history theory predicts a tradeoff between reproductive effort and lifespan. It has been suggested that this tradeoff is a result of reproductive costs accelerating senescence of the immune system, leading to earlier death. Longevity costs of reproduction are suggested for some human populations, but whether high reproductive effort leads to impaired immune function is unknown. We examined how reproductive effort affected postreproductive survival and the probability of dying of an infectious disease in women born in preindustrial Finland between 1702 and 1859. We found that mothers delivering twins had reduced postreproductive survival after age 65. This effect arose because mothers of twins had a higher probability of succumbing to an infectious disease (mainly tuberculosis) than mothers delivering singletons. The risk among mothers of twins of dying of an infectious disease was further elevated if mothers had started reproducing early. In contrast, neither female postreproductive survival nor the risk of succumbing to an infectious disease was influenced by the total number of offspring produced. Our results provide evidence of a long-term survival cost of twinning in humans and indicate that the mechanism mediating this cost might have been accelerated immunosenescence.
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OBJECTIVE: To survey access to Artificial Reproduction Technology (ART) treatments in 2004 with regard to legislation, geographical location, financing and the kind of ART treatments provided in the Nordic countries. DESIGN: Retrospective descriptive survey of practice at ART clinics and legislation. SETTING: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. SAMPLE: Sixty-six ART clinics registered with the Nordic Fertility Society in autumn 2005. METHODS: A questionnaire was sent to all ART clinics and a survey of legislation concerning ART treatments and public statistics was performed. The response rate was 79%. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Access to ART treatments. RESULTS: The differences in legislation among the countries mainly concerns gamete donation. Couples living in larger cities or densely populated areas have best access to ART treatments. With regard to subsidizing of treatment costs, Finland and Denmark seem to be the best of the Nordic countries. CONCLUSIONS: The main differences among the countries concern the legislation, the cost of the treatments and how those are subsidized.