Every Sperm is Sacred; Treat Nearly All Men as Pre-Pregnant

New federal guidelines ask all men capable of having sex that could result in a fetus to treat themselves — and to be treated by the health care system — as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to have a child anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all men between their first erection and when impotence drugs no longer work should take vitamin supplements, refrain from smoking or taking drugs, maintain a healthy weight, avoid risky behavior that could damage the penis or scrotum and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control. Men should also make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and avoid contact with lead-based paints.

Experts say it’s important that men follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus if sperm isn’t healthy and strong, resulting in deformed babies and risk to the mother.

The recommendations aim to “increase public awareness of the importance of preconception health” and emphasize the “importance of managing risk factors prior to pregnancy,” said a co-author of the guidelines.

Pre-conception care should be delivered by any doctor a patient sees — from his primary care physician to his sports medicine doctor. It involves developing a “reproductive health plan” that details if and when children are planned, said a second co-author.

“We know that men — unless you’re actively planning (a pregnancy) … he doesn’t want to talk about it,” she said. So clinicians must find a “way to do this and not scare men,” by promoting preconception care as part of standard men’s health care, she said.

“It’s a simple way of getting primary care providers to think about preconception care,” said a maternal fetal medicine specialist who sat on the advisory committee that helped produce the report. “It’s simple and [it] costs nothing.”

____________________

Sound ridiculous? If you substitute men for women, you’ve just read part of the text from an article titled Forever Pregnant – Guidelines: Treat Nearly All Women as Pre-Pregnant by January W. Payne of The Washington Post. Last time I checked, health care was supposed to be a personal matter and the U.S. government, unlike China, isn’t in the business of participating in pregnancies.

What’s alarming to me is that a complicated problem, like infant mortality, is being treated in such a simplistic manner and that women are the only targets of this solution.

The infant mortality rate in the U.S. is appalling. It’s “higher than those of most other industrialized nations — it’s three times that of Japan and 2.5 times those of Norway, Finland and Iceland, according to a report released last week by Save the Children, an advocacy group.” But that doesn’t mean all people with a womb need to be treated as “pre-pregnant.”

This focus by the federal government does address an important health care issue; however, it does so at the expense of trivializing other critical factors — inconsistent delivery of health care, the negative effects of poor health care for the uninsured, the high cost of drugs and vitamins — and making women 100 percent responsible for the outcome of a pregnancy created by two people.

Here’s an idea: instead of seeing all women as potential incubators, why not have our federal government promote the health for all citizens by providing information on things such as birth control, family planning and good prenatal care in addition to protecting the most vulnerable by providing insurance or services to all in need so that we can all make our own decisions about how to be healthy?

— Margo Pierce

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2 Comments on “Every Sperm is Sacred; Treat Nearly All Men as Pre-Pregnant”


  1. For a recent lively discussion of this topic, click on my name.

  2. Cash Says:

    as-94783-sa

    Nice blog.. I ll come back :]


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