Natural Family Planning

Contraception is the deliberate prevention of conception or impregnation. It makes sense. Contra meaning against, and the end of the word showing conception. I am sometimes surprised when students can’t work that out in class. But maybe that’s because students don’t use the word contraception very often, instead just referring to a method of contraception: condoms. Well today in the news they are debating the accuracy of fertility apps being used by women to avoid getting pregnant, so as a method of natural family planning and contraception. It is based on the rhythm method (calendar method).

To use the rhythm method, you track your menstrual history to predict when you’ll ovulate. This helps you determine when you’re most likely to conceive. If you’re hoping to get pregnant, you can use the rhythm method to determine the best days to have sex. Similarly, if you’re hoping to avoid pregnancy, you can use the rhythm method to determine which days to avoid unprotected sex.

In PSHCE lessons we will be learning about relationships and sex education, and in Religious Studies GCSE students investigate topics like Infertility and Fertility treatment on the old AQA course and topic like Love, Marriage and Contraception on the new AQA course. So understanding the biology of conception and the menstrual cycle, as well as the facts about contraception are repeatedly useful to our learning.

Recently students in Year 10 have been learning about what religions say about methods of contraception:

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‘People shouldn’t be ashamed of their fertility problems’ says John Legend

The singer John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen have always been open about their fertility struggles and today John continued to be candid when saying that they’d resort to IVF again in an attempt at having three or four more babies.

“A lot of people struggle with fertility and they shouldn’t be ashamed of it. A lot of people want to have kids and maybe can’t do it the natural way… I think people should do it if that’s what will work for them.” The photo below show John Legend, Chrissy and their baby Luna.

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What’s IVF?

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Should we believe doctors who hold our happiness in their hands?

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A new study has shown that all the add-ons that fertility clinics sell to patients, some costing up to £3,500, have no evidence to support that they’ll increase the chances of pregnancy.  The treatments include genetic screening tests, additional drugs, blood tests to measure the immune system and special devices to house an embryo. They can cost from £100 up to £3,500 each on top of the costs of IVF. People often presume that if a doctor is telling you something it would be be backed up by some evidence. Unfortunately this report shows it is not necessarily the case

“Some of these treatments are of no benefit to you whatsoever and some of them are harmful.”

Only one treatment, called an endometrial scratch, was supported by moderate quality evidence it would help. It involves a procedure to scratch the womb lining to help an embryo successfully implant, although the evidence for this treatment was not itself beyond doubt.

Jessica Hepburn spent over £70,000 on eleven cycles of IVF and had many different “add-ons”. She never had a baby. “These are doctors. We believe what doctors tell us and this is a doctor that holds my happiness in his hands,” she said.

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of several techniques available to help couples with fertility problems have a baby.

During IVF, an egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory.

The fertilised egg, called an embryo, is then returned to the woman’s womb to grow and develop.

It can be carried out using a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm, or eggs and/or sperm from donors.

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Ethical Concerns for Three Person Baby

There are concerns that countries with less stringent laws are using scientific advancements for three person babies not as a means to help couples get pregnant without the presence of certain genetic diseases, but instead simply to boost fertility in places like the Ukraine.

We appear to be in a race to the bottom,” warned Dr Marcy Darnovsky from the US Centre for Genetics and Society. Criticising doctors offering the technique, she added: “They are ignoring ongoing policy debates and conducting dangerous and socially fraught experiments on mothers and children. And they appear to be actively seeking a media splash on the way down. Use of these biologically extreme procedures for infertility is based purely on speculation.”