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A South African man is the First Penile implant patient to father a child



The world’s second successful penile implant patient is going to be a dad, according to BBC News.

A 21-year old South African man, who had his penis removed after a botched tribal circumcision ritual, and his girlfriend are expecting their first child.

The young man, whose identity has been withheld for ethical reasons, received his new penis only this past December 2014 after a 9-hour operation.

Dr. Andre van der Merwe, the surgeon who performed the procedure, told BBC News that he was “very pleased” upon learning of the pregnancy.

The patient’s girlfriend is 4 months along. 

Per BBC:

The news of this man’s impending fatherhood is especially promising, as South Africa has some of the greatest need for penis transplants in the world, according to BBC News. Young boys in the Xhosa tribe in South Africa, for example, undergo a ritual circumcision as young as age 12. 

During this journey to manhood, boys are often isolated in mountains and forced to recover in a way that is both painful and dangerous; the penis is wrapped in strips of goat skin and the boys are allowed no food or water. The risk of infection is high in these conditions and by the time many of them seek medical help, it’s too late to save the member.

Now, at least there’s hope for the most unfortunate of these young men — and for men facing similar circumstances around the world.

According to SkyNews, it is estimated that 250 penis amputations occur in Africa every year as a result of mutilated circumcisions, which up until were often left untreated. Dr. Van der Merwe says this new transplant project can now be seen as a source of hope for many young men who are lining up to be next.

The first successful transplant was performed in 2006 on a man in China who asked that it be removed after he and his wife reports having psychological problems with it. 

Apparently, according to reports, it didn’t function well because the surgeons put it in a warming lamp after the operation. 

4 New Mom Support Options


postpartum doula

Today, new moms often don’t have extended family living close enough to come and stay with them after giving birth, and even when family is close, busy schedules can get in the way of friends and family providing consistent help for more than just a few days. Thankfully there are many short-term care options for new moms and dads.

Here’s a list of 4 ways new parents can get the help and support they need:

1. Newborn Care Specialist For years, Baby Nurses were the caregiving professionals that helped affluent mothers care for their infants from the day they returned home from the hospital. Baby Nurses often stayed until the baby was one to three months old and a full charge nanny was hired. These caregivers were trained and registered nurses, often retired from jobs in hospital neonatal units. Over the last decade, Newborn Care Specialists have stepped up and filled many of these positions and made in-home newborn care more accessible and affordable to new moms.

Newborn Care Specialists have gone through an in-depth training program and have extensive experience working with newborns and infants. They often have experience with premature babies and multiples as well. Their job is to provide hands-on care to the baby, including things like feeding, diapering, bathing, dressing and cuddling the baby. They also help parents establish routines and handle any special needs the baby may have.

Many Newborn Care Specialists have their own businesses and book directly with family clients. They are often booked months in advance and rely on word of mouth to find moms to be who are in need. Other Newborn Care Specialists work through traditional nanny placement agencies. The agency is responsible for fully screening the caregiver, which includes confirming their education and experience and making sure they have exceptional references.

2. Postpartum Doula This caregiver provides support and care for the new mother and the family for the first three to six weeks after the birth. Unlike a Newborn Care Specialist, a postpartum doula isn’t focused on the hands-on care of the baby. She helps with baby care, but her focus is helping the mother. This includes things like offering tips and techniques for successful breast feeding, sterilizing and preparing bottles, doing light housekeeping, simple meal preparation, helping the siblings adjust to the new baby, setting up routines, and being a listening ear to the new mom. The Postpartum Doula is often described as a stand in beloved auntie.

3. Night Nanny Sometimes the biggest need of a new mom (and dad!) is a good night’s sleep. A night nanny is a caregiver with some training and extensive experience with infants. She works the overnight shift and provides hands-on care to the baby from evening to morning. Her duties might include the night time bath, infant massage, rocking the baby to sleep, and night time feedings and diaper changes. A night nanny often comes on board once the mom goes back to work and needs to get uninterrupted sleep. She can stay for just a week or two or until the baby gets on a regular sleep schedule and begins to sleep through the night.

Night nannies can be hired through a traditional nanny placement agency or an online nanny job site. If a parent hires on her own, it’s essential to make sure the nanny has relevant and current infant experience and training in infant safety, infant CPR and first aid.

4. Temporary Nanny Often a new mom has plenty of help when she first comes home with the baby and doesn’t need help caring for the baby during maternity leave. However, when she’s ready to go back to work there it’s not unusual to find that there isn’t an opening in the family or day care facility she’s interested in or it will be another few months until her baby is old enough to attend. In those cases, a traditional nanny doesn’t work. However, a short-term nanny is the perfect bridge between in home care and group care.

Most nanny agencies offer temporary and back-up care placements. Also, online job sites offer a wide variety of potential candidates. Since it’s a temporary position, nannies that wouldn’t be a great long term match might be the perfect short-term match. Although the nanny is only going to be caring for the baby for a short time, parents should screen the nanny the same way they’d screen for a long term position.

Consider these options. They could be a God-send and save you some sanity and a few winks of shut-eye.

Content compliments our partners at NewbornCare.com photo compliments:Little Apple Doulas

4 Things Modern Parents should Stop Doing Now

parents ignoring kid

A little while ago, I bumped into a LifeHack column discussing 15 things or so that children wish their parents would do more of.  I’ve searched online but can’t seem to find that post anywhere so I’ve put together my own version based on some of the few items on the list that I remember  and that stuck out in my head and resonated with me as a modern, tech-savvy and addicted parent.

Here, remixed, are Four things that modern parents need to stop doing now in order to show their children complete love and attention:

Stay glued to your smartphone – We adults (this one included) cannot stay off of our smartphones and tablets. We stay glued to them even while picking up the kids from school, greeting them at the bus stop, making them dinner  and pretty much engaging in any aspect of life.  A recent University of Washington  study published this year found that 44% of parents struggle to turn off their phone at the playground.  Make a pledge to yourself now if you are one of those iPhone or Droid phone addicts.  Put away the phone at least for the first 30 minutes to hour when the children get home from school. Even if someone calls (even the office) let it go to voicemail. Better yet turn off the ringer also so you don’t even get tempted. Heck, the notifications alone can get us all excited so just go ahead and turn it all the way off. Cut off all temptations.

Use your Smartphone or Watch TV during mealtimes. 

During mealtimes is when parents should be engaging their children and asking about their day, but many struggle. I know I do as well. A Boston University study observing 55 different groups of parents and young children eating at fast food restaurants uncovered that 45 of the parents used a mobile device during the meal, and many were more absorbed in the device than in the kids. Most of the caregivers pulled out a mobile device right away, the chief researcher noted, adding “they looked at it, scrolled on it and typed for most of the meal, only putting it down intermittently.” Dinner and other mealtimes should be used to share each other’s company (and this goes for spouses, friends or whomever else you’re having a meal with).  A smartphone free meal allows the parent can make sure her kid isn’t eating too quickly and over stuffing himself.  Also, for older kids, mealtimes are when parents can find out about what they’re doing in school or looking forward to in the week or weekend. It’s hard enough getting a teen to open up so while forced to eat dinner together, take the opportunity to get all up in their business. It’s your job. Try this trick to make it work: have everyone put the phones in the middle of the table face down during dinner as a reminder that they are off limits.

Not Listen to their kids’ stories. I am quite guilty of just nodding along and saying ‘mmmhmmm’ in response to an ongoing tale one of my kids is telling me. I get so engrossed in my phone or whatever I am working on at the time that I can barely take even a slight breather to listen to a story. That’s no bueno. They will remember these moments as they grow up and even in adulthood. We have to show attentiveness and this goes for when our child wants to show us some artwork they did at school or at camp, read something interesting she found in a nature book or just share something that happened at school. Try to be mindful and conscious of the next time you find yourself ignoring your kid while she is talking to you. Then stop. Pause and try to listen.

Don’t spend quality downtime with their child. It’s easy to shoo a child who proclaims he is bored away and direct them to read a book, go outside or go play with a sibling.  A different approach that would nurture your parent child bond would be to actually play with them. My family has a stack of board games and medium sized puzzles. It could take up to an hour or more of time, but honestly, we spend more time than that watching a Game of Thrones marathon or the last few Housewives show we’ve missed. The kid we brought into the world should be able to compete with strangers on the TV. Right? Overscheduled children also complain about having downtime to just chill and hang with their parents.  Your together time shouldn’t be limited to you chauffeuring your children from activity to activity and sport-to-sport. Get in the water with them while at the pool in the Summer. Play some hoops at the court. Laugh, Live, Connect.

There we have our challenge. Let’s try to make some small changes so we don’t contribute to our children’s future therapy session bills. (smile)


Court: French Surrogate Children Finally Granted Birth Certificates and Civil Status


France’s highest court has granted legal recognition to surrogate children, in a major turnaround that will make their daily lives easier and could lead to greater acceptance of new forms of families.

The Cour de cassation ruled Friday that, while surrogacy will remain banned in France, children born abroad through this practice will now be legally tied to their parents and will be granted birth certificates and immediate means to prove their French citizenship.

“This means no less than the recognition of our child, of these children’s French citizenship and of the rights that go with it,” said Dominique Boren, 51, father of a 4-year-old boy born in Russia from a surrogate mother, with his husband beside him.

Surrogacy can involve a woman carrying an embryo created by in vitro fertilization using another woman’s egg. In some cases the surrogate mother is also the genetic mother of the child. The procedures are used by heterosexual couples unable to conceive, gay couples, as well as single parents.

Until now, surrogate children were deprived of any legal connection to their parents, or any civil status in France. They were considered as children born from unknown legal parents, since their foreign birth certificates weren’t recognized. One lawyer has described them as “ghosts of the republic.”

Unlike other children born abroad to a French parent, these children couldn’t get automatic ID cards or passports, or register for state health care or other services.

This exposed them to frequent problems, because many basic tasks are impossible in France without an ID or authorization from a legal parent.

In addition to potential psychological troubles due to their incomplete identities, the children were also deprived of eventual inheritance, and faced major imbroglios in case of a divorce or the death of one parent.

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7 Ways to Build Self-Esteem in Your Child

bellyitch rewind


Your child’s self-esteem is an important part of his self-image. It helps him feel he’s worthwhile just as he is and helps him feel good about his choices and decisions. A healthy self esteem doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s something that is nurtured and grown throughout a lifetime, and something that the important people in his life have a chance to help cultivate. Here are some tips for boosting your child’s self-esteem.

1. Give your child choices throughout the day. A big part of healthy self-esteem is feeling capable. Offering your child choices about what outfit to wear, what to have for a snack or for lunch, or if he should pick up the play room before or after going to the park will give your child practice making good choices. When offering young children choices, the key is being comfortable with whatever the child chooses. The goal is to help him think about both sides and make a decision that he feels will best satisfy his needs.

2. Avoid generic praise. Parents want kids to feel good about the things they do and to encourage them to repeat the types of behavior they value. So parents often say things like “Great job!” after everything from finishing vegetables at dinner to putting socks on in the morning to going down the slide at the park. While generic congratulations feel good to a child for a short time, after too many times it becomes meaningless. In fact, congratulating a child for things that don’t require real effort can make a child lose trust in the parent’s honesty.

3. Use specific praise generously. It’s helpful to a child’s self-esteem to hear from parents and other adults about their accomplishments, both big and small. Instead of using generic praise, let your child know how much you admire and appreciate his specific behavior. Phrases like “I appreciate your help in picking up the play room this afternoon. It means we have more time at the park!” or “Eating your vegetables will help your body grow strong and healthy. I love your willingness to try new things.” or “I’m so proud of how you climbed to the top of the tower. That took strong arms and great balance!” will help your child feel good about his abilities and choices.

4. Avoid negative labels. Most of the way we communicate with others is based in lifelong habits. Unfortunately some unhealthy habits may find their way into your parenting or caregiving vocabulary. Labeling a child as being mean, lazy, uncoordinated or hyperactive, or calling him a whiner, liar or babyish can negatively affect his self-esteem. Children are sensitive to what the people they love think about them and words can have a huge effect. Choose your words carefully and talk about challenging behaviors or traits in positive terms.

5. Become a great listener. Giving your child your full attention and truly listening to what he is saying and how he feels is an immediate self-esteem booster. When you turn off your phone, the TV and the computer and fully engage with your child it shows him that you really care about him and that you’re interested in what he has to say. That kind of undivided attention is rarer than it should be these days and will make your child feel valued and loved.

6. Model healthy self-esteem. Your child looks to you for clues about how to think, act and feel. Make sure you’re sending the right message. Invest in developing your own healthy self-esteem and you’ll be on your way to helping your child develop it too. Have a positive body image, be confident about your abilities, and don’t let petty criticisms from the outside world make you feel bad about yourself and your choices. If you struggle with esteem issues, talk about them with your child in an age appropriate way and show him the steps you’re taking to develop a healthy self-esteem. Showing your child that you’re not perfect, but that you’re working towards being better, gives him the freedom to accept his flaws too.

7. Teach problem solving skills. Teaching your child how to objectively assess a situation, brainstorm solutions, and put a plan into action is a proactive way of building self-esteem. Children who feel able to handle challenging situations, who recognize that when they get knocked down they can get right back up and try again, and who are confident that every problem has a solution have a strong sense of self-esteem.

Happy Independence Day, America!

happy 4th of july

We wish all of our friends, followers, readers and supporters in the United States a very Happy 4th of July. Whether you are on the beach, cooking out, at the park, heading to the fireworks, have fun, but be alert and safe!




In Which States Are Women Paid the Most and the Least?


Women’s salaries continue to rise though they remain below the median pay that men  receive.  Two recent studies analyzed the best and worst states in the United States for Working women.

The District of Columbia, Maryland and Massachusetts were the top three states in a study study analyzed by The Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The researches looked specifically at pay, women’s leadership roles, labor force participation, and the gender pay gap.

Minnesota, Massachusetts and Vermont took the top three spots for being family-friendly to working moms, having a high percentage of voter participation and access to healthcare, according to WalletHub‘s analysis. Its study ranked the top best 15 states and 15 worst states based on professional opportunities available and quality of life for women.

Despite the high salaries women still only make 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man. And even though women make up more than half of the labor force, they make up 62 percent of all minimum and sub-minimum wage workers.

Here are the top 5 in The Institute for Women’s Policy Research listing:

Here are the top five, along with the median pay for women with full-time jobs:

  1. District of Columbia $60,000
  2. Maryland 49,800
  3. Massachusetts 48,500
  4. New Jersey 48,000
  5. Connecticut 46,000

And here are the bottom five:

  1. Arkansas $30,000
  2. Mississippi 30,000
  3. Louisiana 32,000
  4. Idaho 30,000
  5. West Virginia 30,300


The Ethical Problem with DNA-Manipulated Designer Babies

Guest Post

Baby playing with a DNA strand

Ethical warning bells went off in April when Chinese researchers reported they had experimented with 85 defective human embryos to try to alter genes in every cell without otherwise damaging the DNA.

They failed. In most cases the genes were not altered at all, and in the few cases where the scientists managed to alter the genes, there were problems.

Even though the researchers had no plans to produce a live baby, their work once again raised the issue of how soon science will be able to engineer designer babies and, just as importantly, whether doing so is ethical.

“Science is moving at such a rapid pace that society can’t put off much longer deciding what it thinks about the concept,” says Peter Schattner, a scientist and author of the book Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us About Being Human (www.peterschattner.com).

“Abortion has long been a challenging and controversial issue, but with our increased ability to use fetal DNA to glimpse into the potential child’s future, the moral issues have multiplied.”

As science progresses, parents may be able to choose a child based not just on the sex, but on such criteria as a child’s likelihood of excelling in sports or mathematics.

That’s when the “should they” questions will become ever more pressing, Schattner says, and several scenarios could be raised that society must face. Among them:

  •  DNA testing is less expensive than it once was. As a result, more genetic conditions are being screened in newborn babies. In 1995, five conditions generally were included in those screens. A decade later, many states were testing for 24 or more. Before long, a whole-genome DNA screening will be less expensive than individual genetic tests. But what should be done with that data? Should parents know every potential health condition a child could face throughout his or her entire life? “You also need to think about the wishes of the children,” Schattner says. “As they grow into adulthood, are they going to want to know everything about their genetic makeup?”
  •  Prenatal DNA data already lets prospective parents know whether a child will be born with Down syndrome or Tay-Sachs disease. Some parents choose abortions in those cases. But as science’s understanding of DNA improves, those parents may soon be able to learn more than just whether a future child will face a devastating disease or condition. Medical professionals will be able to tell them whether their yet-to-be-born child will be affected by less severe disabilities, such as a hearing impairment or moderate intellectual disability. How will parents and society use that information?
  • An ultrasound examination usually can reveal the sex of a child by week 12 or 13 of the pregnancy. DNA-based sex determination soon will be able to reveal that information as early as week seven. But that’s not the end of the story for any parents who might want to select their child’s sex. By combining prenatal genetic testing with in vitro fertilization, it soon will be possible to select fetuses without requiring an abortion. “The temptation to play God and choose a child on the basis of a variety of nonmedical considerations may become too strong for some parents,” Schattner says. “The potential consequences are disturbing.”

Society as a whole needs to understand the implications, he says, because science won’t be able to provide all the answers.

designer babies

“Science can only address questions of what is,” Schattner says. “In contrast, questions about what should or shouldn’t be are moral or ethical questions, and science can never answer them.

“But by understanding more fully the scientific questions about how the world is, we are in a better position to make societal and personal decisions that are in line with the moral and ethical beliefs we hold.”

About the Author

Peter Schattner (www.peterschattner.com) is a scientist, educator and writer with 30 years of research experience in molecular biology, genetics, biomedical instrumentation and physics. He is a recipient of the Technical Innovation Award from the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. Schattner received his doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg and has held research and teaching positions at the University of California, California State University and Stanford Research Institute. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and reviews, as well as the textbook “Genomes, Browsers and Databases.” His latest book, “Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us About Being Human” is his first book for non-scientists

10 More Summertime Hacks to Know





cup  summer

We got such great feedback and response from the initial Summertime Hacks we shared earlier, here are 10 more from our Supernanny Pals to help you navigate the summer heat, bugs and other minor nuances. These tips also provide some great shortcuts to know. Enjoy!


1. Keep a dryer sheet in your pocket to keep bugs away. You can spend tons of money buying bug spray, and you’ll most likely end up feeling sticky, smelling like bug spray, and getting bitten by bugs anyway. An easy solution is to carry a dryer sheet with you, which is something most people have at home already anyway. By carrying it in your pocket you can ward off bugs; something about the smell keeps the bugs away from you.

baking soda2

2. Sprinkle baking soda in sweaty shoes. Running around in your shoes without socks is a regular occurrence during the summer time because everyone just wants to slip shoes on and go. Unfortunately, this also causes extra unwanted odor in your shoes. To fix this problem sprinkle the inside of the shoes with baking soda to absorb the odors. If you’d rather not have the powdery look in your shoes, you can create a sachet by using a rubber band wrapped around a few tablespoons of baking soda in a handkerchief. Just put a sachet in each shoe and the odors will disappear.


3. Trap fruit flies with apple cider vinegar. Did you bring home fruit flies from the farmers market? Fill a glass jar half full of cider vinegar and screw the lid back on. Punch several holes in the lid and leave the jar where you have seen the fruit flies. They will be gone in no time.


4.Cool a sunburn with white vinegar. Unfortunately, with the warm summer months comes the occasional sunburn. To take the sting out of a sunburn soak clean soft cloths in white vinegar, wring them out and lay them on the sunburned skin.


5. Coat feet with petroleum jelly and cover with socks at bedtime. This trick will keep your feet soft and sandal ready all summer. A little petroleum jelly on your elbows and knees will make sure they stay soft and smooth for all of those revealing summer outfits.


6. Mix a can of cola with ketchup for a quick and easy barbecue sauce. Figure out about how much sauce you want and add the cola to the ketchup to thin it out and add flavor and sweetness. Brush on chicken or ribs during the last stages of cooking on the grill to avoid burning.


7. Use conditioner to shave your legs in a pinch. Did you forget to pack your shaving cream for your vacation? That’s okay; you can use the sample bottle of conditioner that most hotels give you. This will leave your legs smooth and silky soft.


8. Apply coconut oil to bee stings and bug bites. Coconut oilhas anti-inflammatory properties and will help heal the sting or bite as well as soothe the pain.

9. Straws make great strawberry hullers. Take a normal straw and push it up through the base of the strawberry and come up under the hull. Keep pushing and the hull will usually come right out. Practice makes perfect with this, but it really works well when you get the hang of it and you won’t have all those strawberry seeds under your finger nails.

cup  summer

10. Use cute cupcake papers to cover your drinks this summer. When the weather turns nice eating and drinking outside becomes standard, and almost mandatory. The problem with eating and drinking outside is keeping the bugs away from your food and drinks. Get yourself some cupcake papers and use them to cover your drinks. If you’re having a party the cupcake papers can even match the theme. To make a drink cover you just need to punch a hole in the cupcake paper and stick a straw through. Just make sure there are no bugs inside the straw before you drink.

These are the Top 10 Companies to Work for to get Generous Paternity Leave


Unlike progressive nations like Sweden, the United States doesn’t have federally mandated paternity leave for employers. Only 12 percent of US companies offer it.

Given that Bellyitch is an online digital blog and eMagazine and a proud member of Team Internet, we were quite elated to see that 5 of the top 10 companies with generous paternal leave as identified by TakePart are tech companies:

Change.org tops the list at #1 with its 18 weeks paternity leave offering.

Coming in behind the online petitioning site at #2 is Reddit which offers 17 weeks for birth and adoptive dads.

Facebook is number 3 on the list and it extends its leave policy to contractors as well as employers. Sweet!

Number 5 on the list is Twitter which also has a support group for new and future dads. Imagine!

Finally, rounding up tech companies on the top 5 is Google, which at #7 on the list, offers 12 weeks if Dad is the primary caregiver and then throws in an additional 5 weeks for adoptive and surrogate parents.


dad with baby

The other ten companies on the list are: Bank of America (#3), eco-friendly retailer Patagonia (#4),  international US-based law firm Arnold and Porter (#8), Swiss health firm Roche International‘s US offices (#9); and business management consultants Ernst & Young. (#10)

Read more details here: http://ow.ly/OHhiT