Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Frozen embryos are children: Alabama Supreme Court ruling

 The Washington Post has the story, which emphasizes the implications this ruling could have on in-vitro fertilization (IVF).  That would also impact surrogacy, and possibly deceased donor transplantation (depending on how it impacts the definitions of who is alive and who isn't...) 

Frozen embryos are children, Ala. high court says in unprecedented ruling. By Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, February 19, 2024 

"The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday that frozen embryos are people and someone can be held liable for destroying them, a decision that reproductive rights advocates say could imperil in vitro fertilization (IVF) and affect the hundreds of thousands of patients who depend on treatments like it each year.

"The first-of-its-kind ruling comes as at least 11 states have broadly defined personhood as beginning at fertilization in their state laws, according to reproductive rights group Pregnancy Justice, and states nationwide mull additional abortion and reproductive restrictions, elevating the issue ahead of the 2024 elections. Federally, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this term whether to limit access to an abortion drug, the first time the high court will rule on the subject since it overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022.

"The Alabama case focused on whether a patient who mistakenly dropped and destroyed other couples’ frozen embryos could be held liable in a wrongful-death lawsuit. The court ruled the patient could, writing that it had long held that “unborn children are ‘children’” and that that was also true for frozen embryos, affording the fertilized eggs the same protection as babies under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.


"The push for defining personhood has even affected tax law: Georgia now recognizes an “unborn child” as a dependent after six weeks of pregnancy.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Kidney exchange in the U.S. from 2006-2021

 Here's an interesting look at the (ongoing) development of kidney exchange in the U.S

Temporal trends in kidney paired donation in the United States: 2006-2021 UNOS/OPTN database analysis, by Neetika Garg, Carrie Thiessen, Peter P. Reese, Matthew Cooper, Ruthanne Leishman, John Friedewald, Asif A. Sharfuddin, Angie G. Nishio Lucar, Darshana M. Dadhania, Vineeta Kumar, Amy D. Waterman, and Didier A. Mandelbrot, American Journal of Transplantation,  24, 1, P46-56, JANUARY 2024.

Abstract: Kidney paired donation (KPD) is a major innovation that is changing the landscape of kidney transplantation in the United States. We used the 2006-2021 United Network for Organ Sharing data to examine trends over time. KPD is increasing, with 1 in 5 living donor kidney transplants (LDKTs) in 2021 facilitated by KPD. The proportion of LDKT performed via KPD was comparable for non-Whites and Whites. An increasing proportion of KPD transplants are going to non-Whites. End-chain recipients are not identified in the database. To what extent these trends reflect how end-chain kidneys are allocated, as opposed to increase in living donation among minorities, remains unclear. Half the LDKT in 2021 in sensitized (panel reactive antibody ≥ 80%) and highly sensitized (panel reactive antibody ≥ 98%) groups occurred via KPD. Yet, the proportion of KPD transplants performed in sensitized recipients has declined since 2013, likely due to changes in the deceased donor allocation policies and newer KPD strategies such as compatible KPD. In 2021, 40% of the programs reported not performing any KPD transplants. Our study highlights the need for understanding barriers to pursuing and expanding KPD at the center level and the need for more detailed and accurate data collection at the national level.

"Kidney paired donation (KPD) is rapidly evolving and reshaping the landscape of living donor kidney transplantation (LDKT). Since the initial KPD transplants performed in the United States in 1999,1 the scope of KPD has expanded substantially. With the inclusion of nondirected donor,2 it has progressed from simple 2-way or multiple-way exchanges to nonsimultaneous kidney donor chains3 and, more recently, to advanced and voucher donations.4 Downstream from nondirected donors, chains often conclude with end-chain kidneys allocated to candidates on the deceased kidney donor waitlist without a living donor (LD).5 Historically used to overcome the barrier of ABO/human leukocyte antigens (HLA) incompatibility, KPD is being increasingly used by compatible donor-recipient pairs to obtain more suitable kidneys for the respective recipients.6 KPD programs can be single center or internal, regional, or national.7,8 The largest multicenter or national KPD programs in the United States are the National Kidney Registry,9 the Alliance for Paired Donation,10 the MatchGrid/Medsleuth program,11 and the program operated by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).12 While multicenter KPD often expands the pool of candidates to improve match possibilities, there are examples of very successful single-center programs."

Sunday, February 18, 2024

When "demand can't keep up with supply"

Headlines catch my eye more often than subheadlines, but the story below was the exception that proves the rule (a confusing saying in itself, until you realize that "proves" can mean "tests" as in proof reading...) 

The WSJ reports that pork producers are having a problem that is usually associated with some kinds of production in planned economies: demand can't keep up with supply of pork. It makes you wonder if prices are also an issue...

We’re Not Eating Enough Bacon, and That’s a Problem for the Economy. The American pork industry has become so efficient that demand can’t keep up with supply.  By Patrick Thomas

"The American pork industry has a problem: It makes more tenderloin, ham, sausage and bacon than anybody wants to eat. 

"From giant processors to the farmers who supply them, they are in a predicament largely of their own making. They made production so efficient that demand can’t keep up with supply. "