A doctor in China has been sentenced to death for trafficking babies stolen from her hospital. Zhang Shuxia, a doctor in Fuping, Shaanxi province, was found guilty of abducting and selling at least seven babies, according to the BBC.
China is infamous for its one-child policy, an effort to curb overpopulation that has led to unintended consequences such as families giving females or disabled children up for adoption as well as “Little Emperor Syndrome,” the phenomenon in which one child receives an overwhelming amount of attention from his or her relatives. Although the country has slowly begun reforming that policy in recent years, it still has had a tremendous effect on the culture as well as individuals and families living within the state. The state now allows a couple to have two children if either parent is an only child.
It is unconfirmed whether or not Zhang’s actions were a consequence of China’s one-child policy or part of a larger human trafficking scheme. One of the babies involved in the scheme, however, was a boy that was sold to a farmer with three daughters.
Regardless of her intentions, the court deemed Zhang guilty of her actions and she was sentenced to death with a two year reprieve, although she is likely to carry out a life sentence.
“Zhang used her position as medical personnel to fabricate reports about the infants, saying they suffered from birth defects or diseases that were hard to cure. She abducted and sold several new-born infants, violating professional and social ethics,” the court’s ruling read.
Zhang allegedly informed parents at the hospital that their children had been born disabled or had died. She then took them from the hospital and sold them to other individuals around the country. Police were investigating 50 related cases of baby trafficking throughout China, with 26 of those cases linked to Zhang, Yahoo News reports.
A 61-year-old man is on the run in the Dominican Republic after the 13-year-old girl he had a sexual relationship with recently gave birth to triplet boys.
In the Dominican Republic, the legal age of consent is currently 18, but the country actually has an extremely high rate of teen pregnancies, with around 15 percent of teenager girls becoming mothers.
The 61-year-old man is now being hunted by authorities who plan to charge him with sexually abusing a child. If found and charged, the man could face decades in prison for his crime.
The three triplet boys, named Samuel, Joshua, and Jovanny, were all born premature and each weighed around 3-4lbs at birth, but doctors expect them to survive. The young mother of the newborn babies is reportedly “happy” after giving birth, despite the seriousness of the situation with the much older man.
Doctors say the girl is expected to return home with her children soon. Police are still actively searching for the 61-year-old man who fathered the teenage girl’s children.
Crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe, Indiegogo and Give Forward are usually used to raise money to fund major purchases or projects, but couples in need of cash have started using these online forums to raise money for expensive adoption procedures and fertility treatments. “Collective conception campaigns” on GoFundMe have raised nearly $1.1 million since May 2010.
In a 2011 campaign on Indiegogo, Florida couple Jessica and Sean Haley raised $8,050 from more than 130 people to pay for fertility treatments. Their 1-year-old son Landon is often referred to as the first "crowdfunded baby."
"Twenty years ago this wouldn't have happened," Jessica said. "Because of the Internet, that's why we have Landon."
Individual fertility treatments are expensive and come with no guarantee of success, so many couples simply give up on their dream of having children, The Daily Mail reported.
Brian and Ashlee Gibson were told that IUI procedures would cost between $1,500 and $2,000 per month.
“We didn't know how we could afford it,” Ashlee said. “I just remember going home and crying.”
Their friend suggested that they start a campaign on GoFundme.com, so the couple created “Operation Baby.” They have raised $3,700 of their $10,000 goal.
In January 2012, Hank Fortener, a Los Angeles based pastor and adoption advocate, founded AdoptTogether, a nonprofit crowdfunding site devoted to adoption. The site has already raised $1 million for 300 adoptive families. Since the site’s parent organization, the Hoping Hearts Foundation, has 501(c)3 status, all donations to the site are tax deductible. AdoptTogether is run by volunteers and its expenses are paid for through separate fundraising efforts so that all the money people donate goes directly toward adoption expenses.
Several parents have uploaded videos of their babies and toddlers sneaking out of their cribs on YouTube.
In response to this trend, YouTube user "NewCaven" made a compilation video of the tiny tots and their great escapes set to the theme song of the 1960s TV show"Mission Impossible."
The video shows several toddlers using the corner of their cribs to help them lift a leg over the crib wall and scurry down, notes the Daily Mail.
However, there are some ingenious kids, such as a little girl who sneaks out her crib and then goes to lower her sibling's crib wall. After the sibling escapes, the little girl has the good sense to slide the crib wall back up so that no one will know how the escape was done.
Another child climbs underneath a door barrier to gain entrance to another part of the home. Not to be outdone, another baby climbs over the barrier.
The study was conducted by the University of Oregon, and included 20 babies between six and 12 months old. They were taken to the lab each night to sleep in an MRI scanner.
While they were sleeping, researchers had someone read neutral nonsense phrases in different tones of voice.
Alice Graham, a researchers, said, "Even during sleep, infants showed distinct patters of brain activity depending on the emotional tone of voice we presented."
Babies who came from homes where arguments happened often seemed to be the most sensitive to voice tones, as their brains reacted more readily to anger.
Another study conducted by British researchers at King's College London discovered similar things, including that sleeping babies can detect when their parents are upset or angry.
In the study the babies were also placed in an MRI scanner, but instead of saying phrases in different tones of voice, the team played a variety of human vocalizations like laughing and crying. The sounds of crying resulted in more activity in the same part of the brain that is active when adults hear sad sounds.
Lead doctor in the study, Declan Murphy, said, "You'd think that a sleeping baby wouldn't be able to hear you, but clearly their brains are processing sounds while they're asleep."
A clear links exists between expecting mothers who drink coffee and low birth weight, claims a new study. In addition to underweight births, coffee may also make pregnancy last longer, however, only by a couple of hours.
This new information comes from research studying the detailed records of close to 60,000 pregnancies over a ten year period in Norway. The study included information about how often the expectant mothers had food or beverages containing caffeine. This includes tea, coffee, chocolate sandwich spread and chocolate bars.
Comparing the results of this study with their newborn babies revealed a link between caffeine and birth weight, with 200mg to 300mg of daily caffeine intake increasing the odds for the baby being decidedly small for the length of the gestation by up to 62 percent.
A cup of instant coffee contains about 100mg of caffeine, while a mug of filtered coffee contains around 140mg of caffeine. However, some drinks that are sold in coffee shops locally contain as much as 300mg of caffeine per cup.
Pregnant women are generally advised to limit their caffeine intake to around 200mg each day.
Coffee, specifically, has been linked to increasing the duration of pregnancy. In fact, a daily cup of instant coffee has been found to lengthen the time that the baby stays in the womb up to eight hours. However, unlike some previously conducted studies, the research in this particular study did not make a direct link between caffeine and premature birth rate.
Researcher Dr Verena Sengpiel, of the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden, says caffeine may negatively affect the growth of unborn babies by slowing down the passage of vital nutrients from the mother to the baby via the placenta.
Writing in the journal BMC Medicine, she added that coffee might increase the length of pregnancy by interfering with the brain’s chemical signals around the onset of labor.
Follo Dr Euan Paul, of the British Coffee Association, said, “The UK Food Standards Agency carefully analyzed and thoroughly reviewed the effects of caffeine during pregnancy and currently recommends that pregnant women moderate consumption to an upper safe limit of 200mg / day - two to three cups of coffee. Switching to decaf during pregnancy is also an option for those who wish to continue drinking coffee.”
Annette Briley, a consultant midwife for the charity Tommy’s, said, “Being born small can lead to catch-up growth and this in turn can lead to obesity, diabetes and certain cancers in adult life. We welcome more research into this important area so that the associations found in this study can be further explored.”
In a study conducted by Glasgow University researchers in 2011, pregnant women were warned that they could unwittingly be putting the health of their unborn baby at risk by drinking coffee from high street cafes. The analysis of espresso from 20 coffee shops in the area found enormous variations between the amounts of caffeine each contained, the strongest having six times as much as the weakest espresso.