PGS – New Study addresses impact of preimplantation genetic screening on donor oocyte-recipient cycles in the United States

Preimplantation genetic screening, or PGS, as practiced in donor oocyte-recipient cycles over the past 9 years, has not been associated with improved odds of live birth or reduction in miscarriage rates.

PGS Study ObjectivePGS, PGD

Our objective was to estimate the contribution of preimplantation genetic screening to in vitro fertilization pregnancy outcomes in donor oocyte-recipient cycles.

PGS Study Design

This was a retrospective cross-sectional study of US national data from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic Outcome Reporting System between 2005 and 2013. Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic Outcome Reporting relies on voluntarily annual reports by more than 90% of US in vitro fertilization centers. We evaluated pregnancy and live birth rates in donor oocyte-recipient cycles after the first embryo transfer with day 5/6 embryos. Statistical models, adjusted for patient and donor ages, number of embryos transferred, race, infertility diagnosis, and cycle year were created to compare live birth rates in 392 preimplantation genetic screening and 20,616 control cycles.

PGS Results

Overall, pregnancy and live birth rates were significantly lower in preimplantation genetic screening cycles than in control cycles. Adjusted odds of live birth for preimplantation genetic screening cycles were reduced by 35% (odds ratio, 0.65, 95% confidence interval, 0.53–0.80; P < .001).

PGS Conclusion

Preimplantation genetic screening, as practiced in donor oocyte-recipient cycles over the past 9 years, has not been associated with improved odds of live birth or reduction in miscarriage rates.

November 2017, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 

Click here to read the entire text of the study.

Family judge quits after refusing to approve adoptions by gay couples

A judge has resigned from the bench because he doesn’t want to oversee same-sex adoptions.

Judge Nance’s order registered an “conscientious objection to the concept of adoption of a child by a practising homosexual”, seeking to recuse himself from such cases on the grounds of “matters of conscience”.gay adoption

The judge claimed he cannot hear the cases because he believes there is no circumstance in which “the best interest of the child [would] be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual”.

But after a probe was launched into his decision, this week the judge opted to resign from the bench entirely.

The state judicial commission had filed ethics charges against Nance, accusing him of violating the judicial code of conduct.

This bars judges from overtly “showing bias or prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status”.

He was also accused of failing to act in a way that “promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary”.

Responding to the charges this week, Nance’s lawyers confirmed that he would be resigning rather than face punishment.

pinknews.com, October 27, 2017

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Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Provide Children in Foster Care the Right to Visit Their Siblings

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to affirmatively give siblings separated by foster care the right to visit and contact each other.

“This action will allow some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers to preserve family bonds that otherwise would be severed due to no fault of their own,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m proud to sign this compassionate legislation, which will bring us closer to a stronger and more humane New York for all.” Foster Care

Although children with active abuse or neglect cases in foster care may file motions for visitation or contact with a sibling, the current law was ambiguous and unclear on whether other children in foster care could petition for this right, creating unnecessary obstacles for siblings to maintain ties.

Under the bill (A.7553/S.4835), amendments to the Family Court Act and the Social Services law allow contact or visitation between siblings, including half siblings, that have been separated by foster care. This includes:

• Children who are in foster care as a result of voluntary placement by a parent or guardian;
• Children who are in foster care as a result of a court ruling and “judicial surrender” of parental rights; and
• A child who is in foster care and whose sibling is not currently in foster care.

Office of Children and Family Services, New York – October 24, 2017

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Historic Missouri Ruling Adds LGBT Protections To Sex Discrimination Law

A landmark Missouri case “simply recognizes the manifold ways sex discrimination manifests itself,” an appeals court ruled.

A Missouri Court of Appeals ruled this week that discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is prohibited under state laws barring sex discrimination.Missouri

“If the employer mistreats a male employee because the employer deems the employee insufficiently masculine, it is immaterial whether the male employee is gay or straight,” wrote Judge Anthony in Tuesday’s decision. “The prohibition against sex discrimination extends to all employees, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Tony Rothert of the ACLU of Missouri hailed the ruling as protecting not only LGBT Missourians but straight men and women who don’t conform to gender stereotypes.

The ruling stemmed from a 2014 case in which Harold Lampley, a gay man, claimed he was fired from the Missouri Department of Social Services because he didn’t meet his bosses’ expectation of how a man should behave. (A female coworker also sued, claiming she was retaliated against because she associated with Lampley.)

Lampley can now proceed with his case.

By Dan Avery, NewNowNext.com, October 26, 2017

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Irish government to pay for couples to have IVF treatment and outlaw commercial surrogacy

The Government will today commit to funding IVF treatment for couples unable to conceive from 2019.

Minister for Health Simon Harris is to bring a memo to Cabinet this morning outlining proposed regulatory measures for the area of assisted human reproduction.IVF

It is understood Mr Harris will commit to outlawing commercial surrogacy and the payment for egg, sperm or embryo donors.

The memo will provide for an ethical framework with clear rules for the welfare of the child, woman and informed consent.

Speaking on his way into the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, Mr Harris said that by the end of the year he wants to clarify for families what financial assistance would be available for IVF from 2019.

“I made it very clear that I want to put in place supports to help subsidise the cost of IVF for families,” Mr Harris said.

“One in six of us could experience infertility challenges at any time and I would like to by the end of the year be in a position to provide clarity to families in terms of what supports we may be able to provide from 2019.”

Mr Harris said the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill will “regulate this whole area”.

“I hope to send it to the Oireachtas Committee subject to Cabinet approval for pre-legislative scrutiny and get it passed into law in 2018 with the idea of having public subsidies for IVF for 2019,” he said.

The Irish Times, October 3, 2017

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New York’s Highest Court Gets Its First Openly Gay Jurist – Paul Feinman

The first openly gay member of New York state’s highest court, Paul Feinman, is being sworn in.

Judge Paul Feinman will formally take his place on the Court of Appeals following a ceremony Wednesday in Albany.Feinman

Feinman has been a judge for more than 20 years. He fills a vacancy created by the death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, who was found dead in the Hudson River near her Manhattan home in April.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Feinman and has called him a “trailblazer” whose career has been dedicated to the causes of justice and fairness.

AP via edgemedianetwork.com, October 18, 2017

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Gay and in Love at an Evangelical College

A man tortured in Chechnya for being gay dares to go public with his story

For the first time since gruesome accounts of the systematic detention and torture of gay men began leaking out of Russia’s republic of Chechnya, a young man has gone public with his story.

Maxim Lapunov, 30, told reporters on Monday that he was demanding justice from the Russian government for the 12 days he spent locked in a blood-soaked jail cell, led out daily with a plastic bag over his head to be beaten by police officers demanding he confess to being gay.Chechnya victim

Human rights activists and journalists say that up to 100 people, mainly young gay men, were caught up in what has been called a “gay pogrom” carried out by Chechen police and officials earlier this year. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the campaign of violence, saying that Chechnya “has no gays.”

Lapunov, who moved to Chechnya in 2015 and made a living as an entertainer, said he was selling balloons in March near a mall in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, when he was detained by plainclothes police officers and forced into a car. He was driven to a police station.

“The charge was that I am gay,” Lapunov, dressed in a white T-shirt and blue cardigan, told reporters on Monday in a news conference at the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, which has published several explosive reports on the alleged torture of gay men in Chechnya. 

When he refused a confession, he was led into a jail cell soaked with fresh blood, where he could hear “screams and groans” coming from somewhere in the bowels of the police station. Officers placed a plastic bag over his head with just a hole to breathe through, led him to an interrogation room, and forced his face against a wall and beat his “legs, hips, buttocks, back,” he said. “They would stop briefly just to let me breathe. They made me get up when I was falling, and it went on and on.”

“I thought they would kill me no matter what happened,” he said, wiping away tears. 

Lapunov, who is ethnically Russian, is the first person to make a formal complaint to Russia’s powerful Investigative Committee challenging a government narrative that the “gay pogrom” in Chechnya never existed because no victims have come forward. Tanya Lokshina, the local head for Human Rights Watch, said that ethnic Chechen victims have been resistant to go public because of fear of retribution by their families.

by Andrew Roth – Washington Post, October 16, 2017

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LGBT activists worry about Trump impact in Africa

Gay rights activist Joseph Achille Tiedjou is worried every day that he will be harassed or arrested in Cameroon.

Defending LGBT rights can be dangerous in Africa, where many countries have laws against homosexuality. But in recent years activists have stepped out of the shadows, empowered by the support of the Obama administration and the international community.Africa Gay

Now many fear the Trump administration will undermine those gains, and that their exposure could make them more vulnerable if support fades.

“I have so many worries with the new administration,” the 32-year-old Tiedjou said, pointing out Trump’s ban on transgender people in the U.S. military. “Obama was known to be very engaged. Hillary Clinton was a champion of LGBT rights and made many guarantees in addressing these issues specifically.”

Obama’s administration made LGBT rights a major domestic and foreign policy, though some in Africa saw it as pushing “Western ideals.” The Obama administration also created a special envoy position on LGBT rights. The Trump administration has said it will keep the post, but concerns remain.

“The difference with the previous administration was that the rights of LGBT people were explicitly part of foreign policy. So LGBT groups around the world could absolutely rely on the moral and, indeed, material support that came from the U.S. government and that made a huge difference,” said Graeme Reid, director of Human Rights Watch’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program. “Under this administration, we are no longer going to be seeing that proactive engagement around LGBT rights.”

Though the Trump administration’s overseas policies on LGBT rights remain to be seen, the erosion of domestic advances directly undermines the authority of the U.S. to speak out internationally, Reid said. He cited the pushback against federal protections and the appointment of “openly homophobic officials” to senior government positions.

The U.S. recently joined a dozen other countries to vote against a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that urged countries not to use the death penalty for specific forms of conduct, including consensual same-sex relations. State Departmentspokeswoman Heather Nauert said the vote was made “because of broader concerns with the resolution’s approach in condemning the death penalty in all circumstances” but said the U.S. “unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for conduct such as homosexuality.”

Same-sex acts are illegal in more than 33 African countries and can lead to death sentences in parts of at least four, including Mauritania, Sudan, northern Nigeria and southern Somalia, according to Amnesty International.

Homosexuality is criminalized in the East African countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. In Tanzania, authorities recently stopped health providers from non-governmental organizations from providing services to LGBT people.

In Cameroon, a strong ally of the U.S. in the fight against extremism, Human Rights Watch has documented high levels of arrests of LGBT people.

October 15, 2017 – By CARLEY PETESCH, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Did National Park Service Disrespect the Rainbow Flag?

A ceremony dedicating a rainbow flag flying near New York City’s Stonewall Inn went off today with some controversy over the National Park Service’s participation — or lack thereof.

The bar is known for the series of uprisings against police raids in 1969, a reaction that helped birth the modern LGBT rights movement. An area near the nightclub was designated a National Monument, under Park Service management, by President Barack Obama in 2016, reflecting the site’s historic significance. The Stonewall itself remains a working bar under private ownership. gay hate

The rainbow flag, symbolizing LGBT pride, went up September 28, and the dedication ceremony was scheduled for today, which is National Coming Out Day as well as the 30th anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The Park Service was set to take part in the ceremony, along with several LGBT activists, but pulled out as the day approached, drawing criticism from organizers.

Newsweek ran an article about the dedication last week, and it included quotes from some organizers denouncing the anti-LGBT actions of Donald Trump and his administration. By Friday night, a National Park Service flag flying alongside the rainbow flag had been removed and replaced with a New York City Parks flag, organizer Ken Kidd told The Washington Post. Then Barbara Applebaum, the Park Service official who was to speak at the ceremony, canceled.

“Since planning began this past summer, the NPS had been wholly cooperative,” Kidd said in a press release. “This abrupt turnaround as well as the NPS distancing itself from this event is more evidence of the Trump administration’s campaign to reduce LGBT people to second-class American citizens. It’s no coincidence that this comes on the heels of Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions’s support of religious rights over LGBT civil rights.”

A Park Service official, however, said the issue was whether the flagpole was on city property or NPS property. Jon Laird, commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor, told the Postthe NPS determined that the pole was on city land, not the area that constitutes the park. “We did send mixed signals here, which was very unfortunate,” he told the paper. “It became a much bigger deal than we ever expected.”

Applebaum ended up changing her schedule so she could attend the ceremony, and Laird was there as well. He offered to speak, but organizers turned him away. “We said, no, you will not speak,” longtime activist Ann Northrop, who emceed the ceremony, told the Post. “This is completely just mean-spirited bigotry on their part, to find a technicality to pull out of what they had already agreed upon and worked on for a week.”

Laird denied that bigotry was involved and said no officials in Washington had raised concerns about the flag dedication, according to the Post. The rainbow flag, he emphasized, has never been taken down, and the NPS has donated it to the city. “It’s still up, it’s still flying there,” Laird said of the flag. “Visitors to Stonewall National Monument will see it, and 99 percent of them will not care if it’s on our property or [the city’s] property.”

Advocate.com, October 11, 2017

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