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Birds, bees and babies: what science can say

July 1st, 2004 · No Comments

As a woman who has wrestled with infertility in the past, I could be tempted to take Tyler Cowen to task for titling a post how to have a baby. Many couples will never able to conceive no matter what kind of carbohydrate they eat or what type of telephone they use… or how long they stand on their heads. There are no cookbooks, procedures or instructions that will guarantee a baby for every man and woman who want one.

However, as a scientist, I believe that people can sometimes improve their probability of becoming parents and the studies Tyler Cowen linked in this post intrigue me.

It’s unclear to me after reading this article exactly why television watching may hasten puberty. Computers and video games also have the same effect. Perhaps it is the level of inactivity or the deprivation of sunlight or the increased obesity (or the content matter?!). But if it is true that TV will speed puberty – and pregnancy, as one expert in the article claims – then our home will remain a TV-free zone! And we’ll keep an eye on video game and computer usage too (also at zero for the girls, right now). Hmm, I wonder though what effect computer usage has on melatonin production and adults?!

Earlier this week I had heard a report on NPR similiar to this one from Nature on PT-141 and I was fascinated by the idea that a compound used for tanning skin cells could have other effects on women…what is the connection there? Interesting too that the drug for men (Vi*gra) has a purely physical effect (dilating blood flow), while the drug for women has a neurological effect (binding to brain cell receptors).

Scientists may understand a little more now about how babies come into being, yet much remains mystery, beyond the control of what any man or woman can do.

As a side note: I’ve been laughing and crying recently while reading Chez Miscarriage, but laughing more than crying due to the amazing writer behind the blog. The subtitle:Who says infertility can’t be funny?

Tags: motherhood