Daily Rounds: Donor Sperm's Genetic Landmines; Surviving Military Sex Abuse; Single Payer MA?

In Sperm Banks, A Matrix Of Untested Genetic Disease (The New York Times) — "Eventually Jaxon was rushed to surgery. Doctors returned with terrible news for the Kretchmars: Their baby appeared to have cystic fibrosis.“We were pretty much devastated,” said Mrs. Kretchmar, 33, who works as a nurse. “At first, we weren’t convinced it was cystic fibrosis, because we knew the donor had been tested for the disease. We thought it had to be something different.” But genetic testing showed that Jaxon did carry the genes for cystic fibrosis. Mrs. Kretchmar had no idea she was a carrier, but was shocked to discover that so, too, was the Kretchmars’ donor. His sperm, they would later discover, was decades old, originally donated at a laboratory halfway across the country and frozen ever since. Whether it was properly tested is a matter of dispute. Sadly, the Kretchmars’ experience is not unique. In households across the country, children conceived with donated sperm are struggling with serious genetic conditions inherited from men they have never met. The illnesses include heart defects, spinal muscular atrophy, neurofibromatosis type 1 and fragile X syndrome, the most common form of mental retardation in boys, among many others."

Helping Survivors Of Military Sexual Assault (The Boston Globe) — "Within the first two years of her enlistment as an airman in the Air National Guard in Maine, she says she was raped by a recruiter and sexually assaulted by three noncommissioned officers. Norris, who retired from the guard in 2011, at age 40, now has a new sense of purpose: helping other women veterans suffering from military sexual trauma. Last week she participated in the Truth and Justice Summit in Washington, D.C., a convening of survivors of military sexual assault, and told her story to the Maine congressional delegation."

In Statehouse, Single Payer Health Care Amendment Attracts Some Support (SouthCoast Today) — "Under amendment 125, implementation of a single payer health care system would be triggered in Massachusetts if a state Institute of Health Care Finance and Policy determines at the state of fiscal 2015 that a single payer health care benchmark has outperformed the proposed cost growth benchmark included in cost containment legislation marked for Senate debate starting at 1 p.m. Tuesday."

Don't Mess With Massachusetts: The Bay State Is Best (Slate) — "What about social well-being? Above all, we want kids to have a healthy start in life. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Massachusetts has the nation’s highest level of first-trimester prenatal care, and the third-lowest infant mortality rate (Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Missouri are about 50 percent higher). It also has the second-highest rate of child access to both medical and dental care, the nation’s lowest child mortality rate, and the lowest teen death rate. It goes without saying that Massachusetts has the lowest percentage of uninsured residents—5 percent (Thanks Mitt! Mitt? You there, Mitt?), compared to 16 percent nationally, and a whopping 25 percent in Texas. On life expectancy, Massachusetts ties for sixth-highest, about five years longer than the worst-performing states. In another political universe far, far away, you might describe a place like this as pro-life.
A few other metrics of social well-being: The Bay State has the second-lowest teen birth rate, the fourth-lowest suicide rate, and the lowest traffic fatality rate. The birthplace of Dunkin’ Donuts has the sixth-lowest obesity rate. And depending on the source, the first state to legalize gay marriage has either the lowest or one of the very lowest divorce rates in the country."

This program aired on May 15, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


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