EXPERTS are in the dark about the extent to which abortion is contributing to Australia’s historically low teenage birth rate, prompting renewed calls for the collection of national abortion data.
In a Perspective published by the MJA, Professor Susan Sawyer, Chair of Adolescent Health at the University of Melbourne, and Dr Jennifer Marino, research fellow at the University of Melbourne, have called for the collection of abortion data in all states and territories, with national integration and analysis. They further called for publicly funded abortion clinics in all states and territories, with a feasible plan for access for people living in remote areas.
ONE in four women who responded to a national telephone survey reported falling pregnant in the past 10 years without planning to do so, and 30.4% of those pregnancies ended in abortion, according to the authors of a research letter published online today by the Medical Journal of Australia.
Ten years after the only other national household survey on the subject of mistimed or unplanned pregnancy, researchers led by Professor Angela Taft, a principal research fellow at the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University, undertook a national random computer-assisted telephone (mobile and landline) survey (weekdays, 9 am–8 pm) during December 2014 – May 2015. Women aged 18–45 years with adequate English were asked whether they had had an unintended pregnancy during the past 10 years, and whether any unintended pregnancy was unwanted.
Despite the availability of effective contraception in Australia, we found that, as in the United States, about half of the unintended pregnancies were in women not using contraception. Research is required to explore the reasons for not doing so, and to determine where education would be most helpful
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is evaluating preliminary results from a study which found 4 cases of birth defects such as spina bifida (malformed spinal cord) in babies born to mothers who became pregnant while taking dolutegravir. While EMA is assessing the new evidence it has issued the following precautionary advice:
Dolutegravir HIV medicines should not be prescribed to women seeking to become pregnant.
Women who can become pregnant should use effective contraception while taking dolutegravir medicines.
The study, which looked at babies born to 11,558 HIV-infected women in Botswana, showed that 0.9% of babies (4 of 426) whose mothers became pregnant while taking dolutegravir had a neural tube defect, compared with 0.1% of babies (14 of 11,173) whose mothers took other HIV medicines. Final results are expected in about a year.
Women who have been prescribed dolutegravir should not stop taking their medicine without first consulting their doctor.
EMA will update the recommendations as necessary when it concludes its assessment.
AdelaideX’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offer learners free to study university-level online courses on a variety of topics. AdelaideX’s latest MOOC, Sex and Human Reproduction, will launch on Thursday 12 July and enrolments are now open.
Led by Professor Mario Ricci (Adelaide Medical School), and made in collaboration with experts from the Robinson Research Institute, this five-week course will cover all things related to sex and reproduction – from puberty to menopause, to fertility and contraception. The course focuses on underlying human biology, common myths, and the latest medical advances.
What you’ll learn
Structure and function of the male and female reproductive systems
Regulation of reproductive processes and cycles
Common reproductive disorders
Methods of contraception and assisted reproduction
Real world application of cutting-edge research in reproductive medicine
This MOOC is free (with a $50 fee for a verified certificate if desired).