Daily Dose: 10/22/12

Fertility Clinics Raffling Off Babies: Okay, not really, but kind of. The number of women who are having trouble getting pregnant and seeking in vitro fertilization is increasing, and clinics that offer the service have come up with an interesting new way to help them pay for the expensive procedure, which can cost upwards of $10,000 per treatment. Some clinics are offering raffle drawings or essay contests, with the winner receiving free I.V.F. treatments. This is a type of marketing used by smaller clinics, which often have a hard time competing against some of the larger ones. Although this provides women who may not be able to afford it with the opportunity to have a child, many people have had ethical concerns about these contests. Read more about this crazy new phenomenon here.

Girls and Boys Hitting Puberty At a Younger Age: Over a decade ago, researchers discovered that girls were hitting puberty earlier than ever before. But until recently, there wasn’t much evidence that the same was occurring in boys. It’s more difficult to identify the onset of puberty in boys, as it’s less physically obvious and can be more embarrassing to talk about. After studying more than 4,000 boys between the ages of 6 and 16, doctors have concluded that boys are reaching puberty anywhere from six months to two years earlier than what is considered standard. This is a concern for the health community, since it is most likely environmental factors that are driving this change, such as too much unhealthy diets high in chemicals.