Pregnancy and Lactation Weekly Digest

For the Week Ending August 8, 2021. 

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Her mom’s Neanderthal, her dad’s Denisovan

Forget parents of different races or nationalities– this girl’s parents were different species. She lived around ninety thousand years ago. Her mother was a Neanderthal, and her father was a Denisovan–a human species identified in 2010 and so named because their remains were first identified in the Denisova cave, in Siberia. Although scientists knew that these species interbred with each other (and with our species, Homo sapiens), this is the first time they have seen the direct child of such a pairing. Read more here.

This is important for you because even way back in the day, people mated with those outside of their tribe.

She makes babies for a living

Tyra Reeder supplements her income as an egg donor and surrogate. She has also donated breastmilk. “She fulfills her sense of altruism and her desire to procreate, but in a directly transactional way, selling access to her body and body parts for her own financial gain and freedom.” Read more here.

This is important for you because although “this societal shift toward collaborative reproduction is expanding the possibilities for families, there is at the same time a potential dark side to Tyra’s job. Collaborative reproduction is creating a new economic class division between those who can afford certain services and those who cannot.”

Seeing the world with newborn eyes

Artist and poet Maira Kalman just released a new book, Darling Baby, to guide newborns in seeing the world for the first time. It helps adults see things for the first time, too. Read more and see pictures here.

This is important for you because books, and art, are important for everyone.

Pure Flame: A Legacy

Essayist Michelle Orange’s book, on the other hand, is purely for mothers, not babies. It is about her relationship with her mother, how that impacts her relationship with her daughter, and expands out to ruminate on what it means to be a mother, and a woman, at all. Read more here.

This is important for you because these relationships are important. And complicated.

The most popular article on The Pulse this week was A Virtual Placenta May Help Catch Pregnancy Complications. Read it here.

Diana Gitig
Dr. Diana Gitig has a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University, and has been writing about issues in biology – from molecular biology to cancer to immunology to neuroscience to nutrition to agriculture - for the past fifteen years. She has three teenaged children.

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