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Health and Wellness

The decision to pursue in vitro fertilization in Alabama and its impact on Black reproductive health

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On February 16, 2024 at Supreme Court of Alabama issued a ruling stating that embryos resulting from in vitro fertilization (IVF) needs to be considered children. The legal dispute arose from a wrongful death lawsuit brought by three couples whose embryos were tragically lost at a fertility clinic in 2020. The incident occurred when the patient entered the realm where the embryos were stored. While trying to reach out and grab some, he burned his hand due to the extremely low temperature and unintentionally dropped the pair embryos. They hit the bottom and were destroyed.

The couples then initiated legal motion against the Center for Reproductive Medicine and the Mobile Infirmary Association under the Alabama Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. While the law traditionally applied to fetuses, it didn’t expressly cover embryos derived from in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Initially, a lower court ruled that the embryos didn’t have the legal capability of an individual or child, which precluded a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in a shocking ruling, the state Supreme Court sided with the couples, affirming that frozen embryos needs to be considered “children” under the state’s wrongful death law and needs to be afforded the identical protections. Embryos destroyed in clinics and hospitals may result in wrongful death lawsuits being filed against these offices and institutions.

The court’s decision, which expanded the law’s application to “all unborn children, regardless of their residence,” has far-reaching implications for the legal status of embryos and the reproductive rights landscape in Alabama.

Less than per week after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos resulting from in vitro fertilization were recognized as children, three major IVF providers in the state have suspended services for fear of the legal consequences of this decision. In response to mounting pressure to restore in vitro fertilization (IVF) services in the state, Gov. Kay Ivey promptly introduced laws on March 7 to protect doctors from the legal ramifications of the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling.

In response to public protests and rapid legislative efforts, the bill was quickly passed. As a result, doctors at several primary fertility clinics in Alabama have announced plans to resume in vitro fertilization services. Despite the resumption of services, individuals and families receiving infertility treatment are actually forced to grapple with the lingering effects of the interruption.

Heather Skanes, MD, Founder and Executive Director Oasis of Women’s Health clinic positioned on Birmingham’s west end says the recent ruling has already had a big impact on infertility treatment, causing more delays and financial burdens for patients, particularly Black and Brown patients who’re already marginalized in the medical community. “Many people of color already felt like the odds were stacked against them for infertility treatment,” Skanes says. “People don’t necessarily diagnose them with infertility when it needs to be diagnosed, and too many people are not offered infertility treatment once they are diagnosed. It’s like doctors telling patients, “You’re infertile.” “Good luck,” and people feel like they don’t have the knowledge to make the choices they need to make.”

The latest data on infertility from Center for Disease Control shows that although greater than 13% of American women aged 15 to 49 have impaired fertility, black women are almost twice as likely to experience infertility as white women. They are less likely to seek and undergo infertility treatment. This is not necessarily because black women don’t desire to participate in IVF. Treatment costs could be significant, often starting from $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle, not including additional expenses comparable to medications, consultations, and diagnostic tests.

When we consider the demographics of those without adequate insurance, black Americans are overrepresented. Lack of IVF insurance then places a big financial burden on Black people and families looking for fertility assistance. In addition to systemic barriers to accessing in vitro fertilization treatment, many Black women and those looking for care must grapple with the cultural stigma surrounding infertility treatment that’s deeply rooted in Black communities.

Historically, the prevailing view has been that looking for medical assistance is synonymous with personal failures and shortcomings. As a result, many individuals battling infertility may feel as in the event that they have to hide their struggles and could also be reluctant to pursue treatments comparable to in vitro fertilization for fear of being judged. Black women battling infertility may experience further ostracism due to society’s judgment of how they spend their money.

So, for many who find the courage and funds to seek treatment in hopes of expanding their family, Skanes notes that this ruling is an element of a more significant shift in health care practice where legal considerations are replacing scientific judgment, potentially threatening patient care and outcomes. This trend shouldn’t be specific to Alabama, but reflects broader challenges in driving reproductive health policy across the country.

“Rules that limit access to health care will continue to change the way people practice, not based on evidence, but based on concerns about liability. Healthcare providers play a key role in supporting patients on their fertility journey,” Skanes emphasizes. “It’s about providing compassionate care, offering tailored treatment options, and ensuring patients feel empowered and supported every step of the way in which. In the face of overwhelming laws that’s in no way consistent with best practices or evidence-based medicine, providers proceed to have a responsibility to share and facilitate access to credible information.

For LGBTQ+ individuals and families, the trail to parenthood often presents various unique challenges. In vitro fertilization serves as a source of hope, offering a path to overcome these obstacles and realize the dream of beginning a family. Mia Cooley, reproductive health advocate and founder xHood, provides fertility, family constructing, and nurturing support for the Black Queer community. Cooley says the platform was born out of a private need to create a community where Black LGBTQ+ parents could come together, free from experiences of homophobia, transphobia and racism often found in other spaces. Since its inception on Mother’s Day in 2019, xHood has grown right into a vibrant and supportive community, offering resources, events and a way of belonging to Black LGBTQ+ parents all over the world.

Walking the byzantine path of infertility treatment and reproductive rights as a queer Black parent, Mia Cooley’s journey has been characterised by resilience and perseverance despite systemic obstacles. Reflecting on her experience, Mia shares: “The journey to parenthood is already a deep and sensitive chapter in everyone’s life. However, for queer Black parents like my partner and I, this experience is often marred by discrimination and a reluctance to learn from health care providers.”

She continues, “Navigating the maze of fertility treatments as a Black queer person felt like a constant battle against a system designed to exclude and invalidate us at every turn. The emotional impact of infertility treatment is often overlooked. It’s a roller coaster of hope and despair, compounded by the stigma and discrimination that Black people face when seeking reproductive care. “Every visit, every procedure seemed like another obstacle to overcome in an already difficult journey,” he says.

“But we didn’t give up because our desire to become parents outweighed the obstacles in our way,” Cooley adds. “The financial burden of infertility treatment is enormous. This is a burden that disproportionately affects Black families, who already struggle with systemic inequities and barriers to access to health care. There were times when we wondered whether it was worth it, whether the impact on our mental and emotional well-being was too great. But in the end, the joy of holding our baby in my arms made every sacrifice worth it.”

As the post-Dobbs story unfolds, we witness a unbroken trend of regressive policies restricting access to reproductive health services. The motives of anti-abortion leaders have gotten increasingly apparent. Abortion rights advocates have long warned of the implications of overturning Roe v. Wade, and now that abortion is increasingly isolated and marginalized as an option fairly than as integral health care, we’re starting to see the broader implications of anti-abortion laws for other points of reproductive care. across the country. A recent decision in Alabama to protect IVF providers from legal liability sheds light on this trend.

Ensuring that the provider is protected when accessing medical care is amazingly necessary, as is the patient. Do we also be sure that the law adequately protects people looking for infertility treatment, especially those in communities which might be at increased risk of criminalization for pregnancy outcomes?

Cooley states: “This ruling also reflects the broader issue of reproductive justice – including not only access to care, but in addition the precise to parent in a secure and supportive environment. It is a reminder that reproductive justice shouldn’t be only the precise to have children, but in addition the precise to raise them in communities that affirm and have a good time our identities.”

“As we continue to fight for reproductive justice, let us remember that our struggles are interconnected,” she adds. By standing together, we will create a world where all families are respected, valued and protected.”

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Health and Wellness

The best natural deodorants for all-day freshness

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Spring vibes are in full swing, but with the hotter weather comes the not-so-fun challenge of staying fresh and odor-free. But don’t be concerned, we’re here to assist you to select the best natural deodorants in the marketplace. While some natural options can have fallen short up to now, today’s formulas have come a good distance, offering strong odor protection with none harsh chemicals. The secret of their effectiveness lies within the ingredients.

The best natural deodorants are enriched with antibacterial agents, reminiscent of tea tree or coconut oil, which naturally fight odor-causing bacteria. They may contain baking soda or arrowroot powder, which absorb moisture to maintain you feeling fresh and dry all day long. After testing over a dozen recipes, listed below are just a few that we recommend for long-lasting freshness.

We independently review all services we recommend. If you click on the links we offer, we may receive compensation.

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Health and Wellness

National Alcohol Awareness Month aims to promote responsible choices

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alcohol awareness month, health and wellness, spring break, alcohol abuse


Every April, communities across the United States come together to observe National Alcohol Awareness Month. Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and launched in 1987, this month-long initiative aims to reduce the stigma surrounding alcoholism while providing relevant details about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery. As we start one other Alcohol Awareness Month, it’s critical to understand its purpose and importance in addressing one of the common public health issues within the African American community.

The important goal of National Alcohol Awareness Month is to educate the American public in regards to the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, promote responsible drinking habits and support people scuffling with alcohol addiction on their path to recovery.

Responibility.Org, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating drinking and driving and dealing with others to end all drinking and driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empower adults to make responsible drinking choices throughout their life. life, is on the forefront of encouraging Americans to examine our relationship with alcohol.

The findings show that binge drinking amongst African Americans (23%) is barely less common than amongst Latinos (24.6%) and Caucasians (25.7%). The rate of excessive alcohol consumption amongst African Americans (4.3%) is way lower than the final population (6.1%) and Caucasians (7.2%). Even though binge drinking is less common, more negative social consequences of drinking are reported, including more alcohol-related illnesses and injuries.

BLACK ENTERPRISES I spoke with Responsibility.org about educational resources empowering our community to make smart choices about alcohol and make progress.

Responsible drinking choices

One of the important goals of Alcohol Awareness Month is to raise awareness of the prevalence and impact of alcoholism on individuals, families and communities. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2019, roughly 14.5 million adults within the United States aged 18 and older suffered from alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Executive Director for Responsibility.org Leslie Kimball says: “We always remind parents that it’s not over yet and offer some ways to reduce the risks associated with drinking alcohol when their school-age child is away from home. And not just during spring break!”

Another key goal of Alcohol Awareness Month is to promote responsible drinking behavior and forestall underage drinking. The influence of alcohol marketing, peer pressure and social norms can contribute to underage drinking, which might have serious consequences for young people’s physical and mental health, academic performance and future opportunities.

“It is important to discuss the differences between low-risk and high-risk drinking and for parents to remind their children that underage drinking is a risky and illegal behavior,” Kimball emphasizes.

By providing parents, educators and young individuals with information in regards to the risks of underage drinking and prevention strategies, this initiative aims to create a safer and healthier environment for young people.

Education starts early

Throughout April, communities across the country are participating in a wide range of events and activities designed to raise awareness of alcoholism and promote positive change. From educational workshops and seminars to community rallies and fundraising events, Alcohol Awareness Month provides opportunities for people and organizations to come together in solidarity and support.

According to national surveyalcohol use and abuse might not be as common amongst African-American highschool and college students, but once drinking occurs, adolescent females and African-Americans are more likely to develop excessive drinking and alcohol-related problems. These risk aspects indicate that special focus needs to be placed on these students as young as 10 years of age.

“Checking by trusted adults should occur regularly so that children feel safe, seen and supported,” notes Kimball.

Responsibility.org supports responsibility through a checklist of teaching points, including reasons to say NO resembling values, expectations and goals, practicing refusal strategies, having an exit strategy, all the time using the “friend system” and never driving inebriated or alcohol, and never get right into a vehicle with someone who’s intoxicated or inebriated.

Kimball says: “It’s encouraging that not everyone drinks, and underage drinking is at an all-time low.”

Awareness requires cooperation

Responsibility.org works with a wide range of offices and individuals at colleges and universities, including university counseling centers, student conduct offices, latest student orientation directors, fraternity and sorority organizations, and health promotion offices, to help institutions incorporate Alcohol101+ into their campuses: extensive activities to prevent alcohol abuse. Alcohol101+ is a free program that educates students about alcohol and its effects on the body, teaches responsible decision-making, and teaches about blood alcohol content and standard drink sizes.

Kimball mentions, “Since relaunching in 2021, Alcohol101+ has been used in over 120 colleges, universities, and fraternities and sororities, and over 15,000 students have completed the course.”

Based on recent program evaluations, students who complete the Alkohol101+ program say they feel empowered to make responsible choices about alcohol and are less likely to engage in harmful drinking.

“Whether a university is using the program as a preventive tool or in response to alcohol-related incidents on campus, we work closely with them to ensure they can use the program in a way that meets the individual needs of their campus,” states Kimballa .

National Alcohol Awareness Month is a reminder that through education, advocacy and community engagement we create healthier, more supportive communities for people and families so we are able to proceed to reduce underage drinking and promote responsible behavior amongst adults.


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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Health and Wellness

5 hotels for sober curious people

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This 12 months, many Americans have turn out to be especially enthusiastic about a sober and interesting lifestyle, including: 41% of the population is attempting to drink less. While Dry January stays popular even after 2013, when it first emerged, the pursuit of a sober lifestyle doesn’t end at first of the 12 months. Instead, all generations are advocating for a healthier lifestyle because abstinence from alcohol provides quite a few advantages akin to physical health, liver function, lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cancer. Additionally, not drinking alcohol can enable you get good sleep and more energy. It’s essential to do not forget that alcohol is a depressant, and avoiding it could possibly result in a positive mood, improved cognitive function, and a clearer head – ultimately reducing anxiety and depression.

Spring and the summer months are quickly approaching, so it is smart that people are considering staying in a sober hotel. For example, travel booking site Expedia mentioned in its annual travel trends report that greater than 40 percent of travelers are more likely to book a detox trip in the subsequent 12 months. Their term known as dry triggering. While sober living is probably not your lifestyle yet, chances are you’ll be curious about it. What higher option to explore than by booking a visit to a luxury non-alcoholic hotel?

Check out five hotels price going to whenever you’re sober below.

Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

When I visited their gorgeous property during an Expedia press tour last October, I learned that Wynn Las Vegas has a “Good Life” program. Even though it’s situated in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, the hotel is concentrated on wellness, especially in relation to drinking alcohol. The hotel recently implemented a brand recent Drinking Well program, encouraging guests to provide up alcohol and drink cocktails as an alternative. The artisanal mocktails are one among a sort because their head mixologist, Mariena Mercer Boarini, promotes natural energy, happiness and clarity with unique ingredients akin to reishi mushrooms, lion’s mane and ashwagandha.

Viceroy Riviera Maya, Riviera Maya, Mexico


When you’re thinking that of Mexico, most consider a stunning beach with a robust cocktail to match; nonetheless, you possibly can do each at Viceroy Riviera Maya! This is an all-inclusive resort, perfect for those enthusiastic about sightseeing without drinking. The resort’s getaway package includes all of the amenities travelers are accustomed to, but what’s recent is that there are many non-alcoholic drinks available, akin to fresh coconut water, smoothies and agua fresca, perfect for hydration and resetting your mood.

Fivelements retreat in Bali

Bali exudes peace, rest and luxury, and Fivelements Retreat covers all of it. The resort boasts beautiful tropical scenery, traditional Balinese therapies akin to yoga and meditation, and plant-based culinary experiences. Limited quantities of alcohol are offered. This is the proper place for those looking for healing and spiritual connection without alcohol.

An absolute sanctuary, Thailand

Absolute Sanctuary is the proper place for a much-needed detox. The resort focuses on fitness, wellness and proper nutrition of its guests. Additionally, the peaceful setting allows guests to deal with their health and sobriety.

Art of Living Retreat Center – North Carolina

The Art of Living Retreat Center within the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina focuses on helping you identify, rest, loosen up and renew. The resort offers guests meditation and yoga for a spiritual detox and reset. Although alcohol remains to be available, the property doesn’t serve it and guests are asked to not eat alcohol in public areas.

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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