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Social media frequently reports celebrities like Naomi Campbell, who recently became a mother at the age of 50, or a 74-year-old, Erramatti Mangayamma from Andhra Pradesh, who holds the record for being the oldest woman to give birth through IVF.
Is it possible for a woman to become pregnant after menopause?
Vaishali Chaudhary, Chief IVF Consultant, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Pune, says: "Pregnancy happens as a result of fertilisation of the egg by the sperm. So to achieve a pregnancy, the availability of the egg and the sperm is the most basic requirement. Menopause which means stopping the periods is preceded by the depletion of the eggs. Hence a natural pregnancy is not possible after menopause."
But pregnancy can be possible after menopause if:
i) a woman opts to freeze her eggs while she was younger and utilise them for pregnancy in her later years or
ii) If she uses donor eggs
iii) A recently devised procedure of Ovarian Rejuvenation is still under experimentation.
Freezing of eggs has been a very popular and successful procedure and companies like Facebook and Google sponsor their women employees to undergo freezing of eggs by IVF so that they can focus on their careers and not worry about keeping pace with the ticking of their biological clocks. This procedure gives them the freedom to plan their pregnancy when it is the right time for them to start a family.
There may be many instances when women may want to freeze their eggs like, being posted abroad on duty for a long time, women in the fashion world or entertainment industry, or women who may have not found their Mr Right; women undergoing cancer therapy and want to protect their eggs from the ill effects of chemotherapy and want to be able to consider pregnancy later.
Chaudhary adds: "IVF with Donor eggs is a very successful procedure for those women who have not been able to freeze their eggs earlier while they were young or women who have planned their pregnancy after menopause or in women who unfortunately suffer from premature ovarian failure, where the ovaries stop producing eggs at an early age."
Most IVF centres help women find a matching healthy donor and a pregnancy is possible, by stimulating the donor women with gonadotropin injections and harvesting her eggs by a simple procedure of Ovum pick up and then the embryos are made in the IVF Lab by fertilisation with the recipient's husband's sperms, she says.
"Before the fertilised embryo can be used, doctors will need to make sure the woman's womb is ready to receive and nurture it. She will be given a short course of oestrogen therapy to thicken the lining of her womb and prepare the environment for the embryo. These embryos can be later transferred to the postmenopausal recipient and successful pregnancy can occur."
The third procedure of Ovarian rejuvenation is a newly initiated procedure that is proposed to re-awaken the egg maturation and development in the few dormant eggs remaining in the ovaries by using growth factors from the woman's platelet-rich plasma, she points out.
"Platelet-rich plasma is prepared from the blood sample of the woman itself and injected into her ovaries known as PRP therapy for ovarian rejuvenation."
Risks of a pregnancy in a menopausal woman
"With the advent of Assisted Reproductive Techniques, it is now physiologically possible for post-menopausal women to become pregnant. But having a pregnancy in the forties and fifties has a higher risk of miscarriages and complications like Diabetes, High Blood pressure and Preterm Delivery. The chances of abortions and caesarian section are very high," warns the doctor.
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The Ethical Issues of Making Grandmothers into Mothers by Assisted Reproductive Techniques should also be taken into consideration. The welfare and future of a child should be kept in mind, as considering the life expectancy of an average Indian woman the child is likely to be orphaned at a younger age if a woman becomes a mother in her fifties, she says. "Just like adoption rules, where the couple's total age should not be more than 90 years, in infertility treatments, there are proposals under the good practising guidelines that the couple's age should not cross 100 years."
Human Reproductive technology has developed not because doctors and scientists have been consumed by a desire to play God, but because of pressure from ordinary people with a desperate desire to have a child. (John Wyatt, Matters of Life and Death). At the same time, infertility specialists need to remember that, "With great power comes great responsibility." (IANS/AD)
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021